The elaborate figural French revival stand, enclosing round clock dial and works, comprising a figure of scientist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt, standing in formal dress next to his books and globe, the base decorated with a rococo cartouche with the name “A. v. Humboldt” festooned with laurel leaves. The clock was likely issued as a commemoration to von Humboldt shortly after his death in 1859.
Alexander Von Humboldt (1769-1859) was a prominent German scientist and world explorer of the 19th century. He embarked on one of the early expeditions to the interior regions of South America and Central America, charting the land and recording the flora and fauna, as well as the customs of native peoples. As a prototypical collector, Humboldt surrounded himself in his own study with books, maps, globes, natural history specimens, and artifacts of ancient Greece and Rome.
Werner, Petra. Himmel und Erde: Alexander von Humboldt und sein Kosmos. Akademie Verlag, 2004. p. 2. Online at Google Books. http://books.google.com/books?id=zIFItLGw3WgC&dq (17 February 2010).