Important Matte and Burnished Gilt Bronze Cartel Wall Clock with Sun Mask and Pull Repeat, transitional Louis XV/Louis XVI

François Ageron
Paris, transitional Louis XV/Louis XVI, circa 1760-1765
Height 88 cm; width 40 cm
Sold Paris, Mes Ader-Picard-Tajan, Palais d’Orsay, December 6, 1977, lot 63.
he round white enamel dial, signed “Ageron à Paris”, indicates the Roman numeral hours and the Arabic numeral five-minute intervals by means of two pierced gilt bronze hands. The movement, with pull hour, half hour, and quarter repeat, is housed in a magnificent chased gilt bronze case. The clock is surmounted by a lidded urn with a seed finial; the urn is adorned with fluting and flower and leaf swags suspended from pastilles. The upper portion, with an architectural entablature, features a mask with radiating sunrays with laurel leaf swags on either side. The curved sides of the clock are adorned with scrolls and acanthus leaf volutes. Beneath the dial, a second masque has braids that are tied around acorn-decorated oak branches. The clock terminates in a leaf and seed bouquet.
his important wall cartel stands out due to its particularly unusual design. It is reminiscent of certain rocaille models of the Louis XV period, while also featuring several classical motifs that foreshadow the neoclassical style that flourished in Paris during the mid 1760’s. Its elaborate design was inspired by the work of Parisian ornamentalists, including Jean-François Forty (see Tardy, La pendule française, 2ème Partie : Du Louis XVI à nos jours, Paris, 1975, p. 306). To the best of our knowledge, there is only one other identical wall cartel clock, which appears to have been undergone extensive esthetic and technical modifications. It was offered at auction during the sale of the collection of Georges Bensimon (sold Paris, Hôtel Drouot, Mes Couturier-Nicolay, November 18-19, 1981).
rançois Ageron (d. after 1783)
One of the most important Parisian clockmakers of the 18th century. After becoming a master on July 17, 1741, he opened workshops successively in the Place du Pont Saint-Michel, the quai des Augustins, the rue Saint-Louis au Palais and the Place Dauphine. He quickly gained a reputation among the important Parisian horological collectors, becoming known for his movements, which often feature complications. Like most of the fine clockmakers of the time, he called on the best artisans for his clock cases, including the cabinetmaker Balthazar Lieutaud and the bronze casters Saint-Germain, Caffieri and Osmond. He stopped working in the early 1780’s and his business was sold on May 31, 1784. During the 18th century, his clocks were mentioned in important private collections, including those of François-Ferdinand, Comte de Lannoy, René-François-André, Comte de la Tour du Pin and Vicomte de La Charce, and Christian IV, Count Palatine of Zweibrücken. One of the clocks made by Ageron was described in 1787; it was in the bedroom of Queen Marie-Antoinette’s small apartments of in the Château de Versailles.
ean-Joseph de Saint-Germain (Paris 1719-1791)
He was probably the most renowned Parisian of the mid 18th century. Active as of 1742, he did become a master craftsman until July 1748. He became famous for his many clock and cartel cases, such as his Diana the Huntress (an example is in the Louvre Museum), the clock supported by two Chinamen (a similar example is in the Musée des Arts décoratifs in Lyon), as well as several clocks based on animal themes, including elephant and rhinoceros clocks (an example in the Louvre Museum). In the early 1760’s he played an important role in the renewal of the French decorative arts and the development of the Neo-classical style, an important example of which may be seen in his Genius of Denmark clock, made for Frederic V and based on a model by Augustin Pajou (1765, in the Amalienborg Palace, Copenhagen). Saint-Germain also made several clocks inspired by the theme of Learning, or Study, based on a model by Louis-Félix de La Rue (examples in the Louvre Museum, the Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon, and the Metropolitan Museum in New York). Along with his clock cases, Saint-Germain also made bronze furniture mounts, such as fire dogs, wall lights, and candelabra. His entire body of work bears witness to his remarkable skills as a chaser and bronzeworker, as well as to his extraordinary creativity. He retired in 1776.


Ageron François

Ageron Important Matte and Burnished Gilt Bronze Cartel Wall Clock with Sun Mask and Pull Repeat, transitional Louis XV/Louis XVI