Rare Gilt Bronze Mantel Clock, Louis XV period
Call +33 1 45 61 44 55
Case Attributed to Jean-Joseph de Saint-Germain
Rare Gilt Bronze Mantel Clock
Paris, Louis XV period, circa 1755-1760
Height 52.5cm; width 34 cm; depth 19 cm
The round enamel dial, signed “Beauvarlet à Paris”, features Roman hours and Arabic five-minute intervals, with two pierced gilt bronze hands. The magnificent chased and gilt rocaille case is decorated with scrolling foliage and a cartouche framed by acanthus leaves; the sides and the lower portion are adorned with pierced motifs including stylised foliage and flowers. The case is surmounted by a draped female figure holding a mirror, probably the Sorceress Armida, Princess of Damascus, who seduced the Christian knight Rinaldo with her mirror.
This clock counts among the finest rocaille examples of the mid 18th century. It relates to the work of one of the most important Parisian bronze casters of the time, Jean-Joseph de Saint-Germain. Saint-Germain created many clock cases, including an example that is stylistically similar; it is illustrated in H. Ottomeyer and P. Pröschel, Vergoldete Bronzen, Munich, 1986, p. 131, fig. 2.8.23. Among the rare similar models known, one example, whose dial is signed “Ripert à Paris”, was sold at auction in Paris by Me Rheims, Palais Galliera, December 6-7, 1965, lot 179 (see also E. Niehüser, Die französische Bronzeuhr, Eine Typologie der figürlichen Darstellungen, Munich, 1997, p. 72, fig. 106). A second example, from the Château des Mesnuls, was sold in Paris, Me Lair-Dubreuil, Palais Galliera, May 15-16, 1924, lot 113; a third, with a carillon playing ten tunes in the base, is illustrated in R. Mühe and H. M. Vogel, Horloges anciennes, Manuel des horloges de table, des horloges murales et des pendules de parquet européennes, Fribourg, 1978, p. 106, fig. 129. A further clock, whose dial is signed Amant à Paris, was bequeathed in October 1927 to the Lyon Musée des Arts décoratifs by Amédée Gonin (illustrated in P. Arizzoli-Clémentel, C. Cardinal and A. Mazur, Ô Temps! Suspends ton vol, Catalogue des pendules et horloges du Musée des Arts décoratifs de Lyon, Lyon, 2008, p. 64, catalogue n° 20).
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