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La Pendulerie

Rare Sèvres Porcelain and Gilt Bronze Vase-Shaped Clock

Sèvres Manufacture

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Rare Sèvres Porcelain and Gilt Bronze Vase-Shaped Clock
Paris, late 18th or early 19th century
Height 29 cm

Bibliography: Bibliography:
Illustrated in the exhibition catalogue Three French Reigns (Louis XIV, XV & XVI), Loan Exhibition in Aid of the Royal Northern Hospital at 25 Park Lane, London, February 21 – April 5, 1933, p. 122, catalogue n° 83.

Provenance: Collection of Baroness Marie de Rothschild, née Perugia (1862-1937)

The movement is housed in an oval vase-shaped neoclassical case of gilt bronze and blue and white porcelain with gilt highlights and decorative motifs. The two revolving ring dials with enamel cartouches indicate the Roman numeral hours and the Arabic five-minute intervals. They are placed in the vase’s upper portion, above a scrolling foliage and flower frieze set against a matted ground, from which a high-relief winged Cupid emerges, holding a steel arrow that indicates the time. The clock is surmounted by a leaf and seed finial that emerges from a stylised leaf bouquet. The detached Greek key handles, surmounted by oval finials with moulded stems, terminate in scrolls. The lower portion, decorated with leaves and wheat sheaves, rests upon a pedestal that is adorned with a gadrooned ring and a ribbon-tied laurel torus. The clock rests upon a cylindrical plinth that is decorated with beading and twisted cords and an engine-turned torus, which rests on a quadrangular base adorned with reserves featuring laurel branches and seeds. The clock is raised upon four small feet that are chased with leaves.

The present clock, which features the unusual combination of bronze mounts and polychrome porcelain, is unusually large, making it a true luxury object and conversation piece. It was probably commissioned by an important collector. While its former provenance has not been established to date, it first came to public notice at an early 20th century exhibition in London; at the time it was in the collection of Baroness Marie de Rothschild.


Marie Perugia (1862-1937)
The daughter of the influential Italian merchant Achille Perugia, she was also the sister of Louise Perugia who became the wife of Arthur Sassoon. In 1881 Marie married Baron Leopold de Rothschild (1845-1917), the nephew of Baron Mayer de Rothschild and one of the most important members of the English branch of the Rothschild family. The couple had three sons, Lionel Nathan (1882-1942), Evelyn Achille (1886-1917) and Anthony Gustave (1887-1961), all three of whom worked in the family bank. In 1874, after the death of his uncle, Leopold de Rothschild took over the bank’s London branch, assisted by his three sons.

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