The 4th Marquess of Hertford had a passion for clocks, collecting them in both Paris and London. Most were kept in his apartment in the rue Laffitte, but several, acquired in England were part of the furnishings of Hertford House, notably the monumental astronomical clock. Despite the elaborate movement of the latter, Lord Hertford, like the French eighteenth-century noblemen whose tastes he so often shared, bought his clocks for the artistry of their cases, whether in Boulle marquetry, gilt and patinated bronze, gilt bronze and marble, Sèvres porcelain, lapis, lazuli, tulipwood or ebony. His tast in clocks was supremely that of a collector for whom time itself did not matter.
All the eighteenth-century clocks and barometers formerly owned by the Marquess and now in the Wallace Collection are featured in this book. For each clock a description of the case and movement is provided, along with details of the work of the clockmakers, cabinetmakers, bronze founders and gilders. There are full-page coloured illustrations of each clock, accompanied by details in black and white of the movements and photographs of comparable clocks. Essays on clock cases and on clock movements and barometers put the Marquess's collection in its historical context, while a glossary and diagrams provide technical details.
Of great interest to historians of the decorative arts and to horologists, the book will also appeal to anyone with a love of French art of the eighteenth-century.