Neo-classical Urn Mantel Clock, Louis XVI period

Charles-Cécile Filon

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Charles-Cécile Filon and Robert Osmond
Important Chased Gilt Bronze Neoclassical Mantel Clock
Paris, early Louis XVI period, circa 1775
Height 75 cm; length 43 cm; depth 26.8 cm

Formerly in the collection of the Duchess de La Rochefoucauld (1895-1991)

The enamel dial, signed Filon à Paris, features Roman numeral hours and Arabic minutes; the finely chased gilt bronze neoclassical case bears the signature of bronzier Robert Osmond. The dial is contained within an urn with chased handles and pomegranate finial, ornamented with rosettes and laurel toruses and garlands. The diagonally fluted stem is decorated with a ribbon-tied laurel torus. The urn rests on a monumental trellis-pierced base embellished with laurel garlands, ribbons, and an interlocking rosette frieze. It is flanked by two putti, one of whom is holding a tablet and a stylus. The white marble plinth rests on four toupie feet decorated with ribbon-tied toruses.

This remarkable clock bears witness to the talent of Robert Osmond (1711-1789), one of the most important Parisian bronze casters of his time. Having created this case in the late 1760’s or early 1770’s, he continued to use it for two decades. Only a few similar examples are known; these present certain variations, particularly as concerns the treatment of the two putti. One was offered in the 1882 sale of the Dukes of Hamilton collection; a second, with a dial signed Berthoud, is in the Paris Musée des Arts Décoratifs (illustrated in H. Ottomeyer and P. Pröschel, Vergoldete Bronzen, Band I, Munich, 1986, p. 177); a third is in the Louvre (illustrated in D. Alcouffe, A. Dion-Tenenbaum and G. Mabille, Les bronzes d’ameublement du Louvre, Dijon, 2004, catalogue n° 60). Two examples identical to the present clock are known; the first was formerly in the collection of Etienne Lévy (see P. Siguret, Lo Stile Luigi XVI, Milan, 1965, p. 122); the second, from the famous Eugène Kraemer collection, was sold at auction (Paris, Galerie Georges Petit, April 28-29, 1913, lot 95).

Charles-Cécile Filon became a master in 1751; his workshop was located in the rue de la Grande Truanderie from 1751 to 1774. Due to his excellent reputation and widespread fame, he was chosen to construct the movement of a regulator invented by Passemant, which stood in the Duke de Choiseul’s study in the Château de Chanteloup (see J-D. Augarde, Les ouvriers du Temps, Genève, 1996, p. 383, fig. 280). During the 18th century, certain of his pieces were mentioned in the probate inventories of lawyer and art collector Nicolas-Philippe de Rebergues, and that of banker Joseph Duruey.

Object Name: Neo-classical Urn Mantel Clock, Louis XVI period
Artist name: Charles-Cécile Filon
Reference: P034
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