Offered for sale from the Lutyens family estate, it sold in the middle of expectations at £90,000 (plus 25% buyer’s premium) – a record for Lutyens.
A clock to this design was made for Lady Willingdon to sit in the Viceroy’s House in New Delhi. Lutyens worked on the project from 1913, often applying humour and whimsy to the fittings of a grand architectural statement. The chandeliers in the day nursery were designed as hens with egg shells and light bulb ‘yolks’ hanging below.
The 17in (42cm) mantel clock c.1931-32 is similarly quirky.
Made in green-painted mahogany, its brass key finial is cast as a pansy – a pun on the French word penser and a reminder to wind it up. The oval face requires hands that expand and contract like tongs.
The whereabouts of the actual Viceroy’s House clock is unknown: most of the furniture and objects disappeared in 1948. However, this Phillips lot was one of two copies commissioned by Lutyens for himself and his family.
It can be seen sitting at Lutyens’ desk in a photograph of the late 1930s. The second copy remains with another descendant.
The previous record for Lutyens furniture was £50,000 for an oak refectory table at Sotheby’s in March 2014.