Allegories of Sculpture and Architecture Mantel Clock, Louis XVI period

Pierre Edelinne

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Robert Osmond and Pierre Edelinne
Rare Chased and Gilt Bronze Neo-classical Mantel Clock
Paris, early Louis XVI period, circa 1775
Height 67 cm; width 43 cm; depth 26 cm

The enamel dial, signed Edelinne à Paris, indicates the hours in Roman numerals and the minutes in Arabic numerals. The very finely chased gilt bronze architectural case is signed Osmond. The neo-classical decorative motifs are inspired by antiquity: pilasters topped by gadrooned capitals which in turn are surmounted by oil lamps, scrolling acanthus leaves, laurel leaf garlands, a gadrooned antique style vase adorned by a trailing garland, and a frieze of interlocking rosettes. The case is flanked by two putti holding the attributes of Sculpture and Architecture. The base is richly decorated with Greek key and wave friezes, rosettes and acanthus leaves.

This clock’s elegant and elaborately decorated case was created by Robert Osmond, the talented bronzier who created this model in the early 1770’s, and who is known for the exceptional clock cases he supplied to the finest Parisian clockmakers of his day. Remarkably, the preparatory drawing has survived and is in the collection of the Institut national d’Histoire de l’Art à Paris, formerly the Bibliothèque Jacques Doucet (illustrated in H. Ottomeyer and P. Pröschel, Vergoldete Bronzen, die Bronzearbeiten des Spätbarock und Klassizismus, Volume 1, Munich, 1986, p. 176, fig. 3.6.3); the drawing even includes the dial’s measurements. To the best of our knowledge, only one identical example is known; it was included in the sale of the collections of William, the 12th Duke of Hamilton in Hamilton Palace (Christie, Manson & Woods, June 17 to July 20, 1882, lot 292).
Pierre Edelinne (1727-1777), (also Edelyne), was one of the foremost Parisian clockmakers of the latter part of the 18th century. After serving his apprenticeship from 1747 to 1754, he received his lettres de maîtrise in December 1757 and opened his own workshop. He is recorded in the rue de Harlay from 1765 to 1767; after his death, his widow continued running the workshop for several years. His clocks are rarely mentioned in contemporary documents, however a clock bearing his signature was described in 1787 in the posthumous inventory of the belongings of Maximilien-Léopold-Philippe-Joseph Gardel (1741-1787), a composer of the Académie royale de musique.

Object Name: Allegories of Sculpture and Architecture Mantel Clock, Louis XVI period
Artist name: Pierre Edelinne
Reference: P040
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