The Altar of Venus Mantel Clock, Louis XVI period

Martin Baffert

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A Gilt Bronze Mantle Clock
Paris, Louis XVI period, circa 1785
Height 40 cm, width 30 cm, depth 11 cm.

A rare Louis XVI gilt bronze clock by Martin Baffert, the white enamel dial signed Baffert à Paris. The dial with outer Arabic numerals for the minutes and inner Roman numerals for the hours, with pierced gilt brass hands. The eight-day movement with anchor escapement and silk thread suspension, striking the hours and half hours on a single bell, with outside count wheel. The case depicts the altar of Venus, surmounted by foliage above a flame; standing on the left, Venus holds a seashell in her left hand; to the right, the winged Cupid is lying on a draped rock with a gadrooned urn at his feet; he is giving the goddess a dove. The shaped plinth is centred by a frieze depicting a pair of doves among foliage, flanked on either side by fluted pillars. The ormolu-mounted ebony-veneered base is raised on turned feet.

A clock similar to the present one, signed Buzot, is in the University of Michigan Museum of Art.

Martin Baffert, a master clockmaker active in Paris during the second part of the 18th century, is recorded as working in the Enclos des Quinze-Vingt in 1773.

Object Name: The Altar of Venus Mantel Clock, Louis XVI period
Artist name: Martin Baffert
Reference: P025
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