Lot No. 322 (89th Auction)
John Ellicot, London / George Michael Moser, London, Movement No. 3813, Case No. 3813, 49 mm, 137 g, circa 1753

A fine, rare pair-cased pocket watch "Hercules at the Crossroads"
Case: outer case - gold, Repoussé case signed by Moser, depiction of "Hercules at the Crossroads", engraved and chased volutes and scrollwork, à goutte, large lateral hinge. Inner case - gold, polished, case maker's punch mark "JB", signed and numbered movement protection cap. Dial: enamel, radial Roman hours, blued steel "Poker & Beetle" hands. Movm.: full plate movement, keywind, firegilt, applied engraved ornaments, chain/fusee, pierced movement pillars, cylinder escapement, three-arm steel balance, steel cylinder wheel, very finely florally engraved, pierced balance cock, large chatoned diamond endstone.

This watch is described and illustrated in "The Art Of The Gold Chaser" by Richard Edgecumbe, Oxford 2000, page 107, Fig 90.

John Ellicott (1706-1791)
One of the most eminent English watch- and clock-makers, established himself in business about 1728 and became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1738. Ellicot was the inventor of a compensation pendulum and paid great attention to the use of the cylinder escapement only a few years after its improvement by Graham. In some of his later pieces the cylinders were made of ruby.

George Michael Moser (1706-1783)
George Michael Moser was born in Schaffhausen on January 17, 1706. He studied chasing and gilding under his father Michael, a coppersmith. He moved to London in 1726 and worked for John Valentine Haidt, goldsmith and watch chaser. By 1737 he was working on his own account at Craven Buildings off Drury Lane. In addition to chasing he also produced fine enamel cases of which only about twenty are known to survive. He designed the great seal of George III and painted enamel portraits of the royal children for Queen Charlotte. In the 1740's Moser became a leading figure at the St Martins Lane Academy and later, in 1769 he became the first Keeper of the Royal Academy. His repoussé watch case work is among the finest to be found. Moser continued to work at least until the late 1770's, and was active for the Royal Academy until the end of his life. On January 30, 1783, the "Gentleman's Magazine" reported that Moser "was followed to his grave in grand funeral pomp by all the capital artists, Sir Joshua Reynolds at their head as chief mourner, Sir William Chambers, etc. Ten mourning coaches, besides two gentlemen's coaches, were in the procession".
In The Art of the Gold Chaser in Eighteenth-Century London, Richard Edgcumbe devotes over 40 pages of text to Moser's work in addition to the many illustrations included.

Hercules at the Crossroads
A vigorous and plastic Hercules is depicted with two women flanking him, who represent the opposite destinies which the life could reserve him: Virtue is calling him to the hardest path leading to glory through hardship, while the second, the Pleasure, the easier path, is enticing him to the vice.
Source:​les, as of 02/20/2014.
Estimate  10,000 - 20,000 €

Price Realised  7,500 €
A lot from a recent auction!

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