Rare Mahogany-Veneered and Gilt Bronze Desk Regulator, Empire period

Jean-Simon Bourdier

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Jean-Simon Bourdier
Case Attributed to François-Honoré-Georges Jacob, known as Jacob-Desmalter
Rare Mahogany-Veneered and Gilt Bronze Desk Regulator Paris, Empire period, circa 1805-1810
Height 47 cm; width 28 cm; depth 21.5 cm

The round white enamel dial, signed “J.S. Bourdier”, indicates the Roman numeral hours and the outermost minute graduations by means of two blued steel Breguet hands; there is a central seconds hand. The movement, with compensation balance, is housed in a mahogany, mahogany veneer, and chased and gilt bronze architectural case with glazed sides that represents a neoclassical temple. The bezel is decorated with bead and leaf friezes. The entablature, with protruding cornice, features a plain apron with the applied rosette motif flanked by scrolling foliage and palmettes. The lateral pilaster columns are embellished with busts of Egyptian women wearing nemes headdresses and flowers, foliage rosettes, and nymphs in classical draperies. The quadrangular base with sloping molding is raised upon four flattened ball feet.

Only a few comparable clocks are known today. One similar example, whose entablature is surmounted by the figure of Time and which is veneered in lemonwood with ebony inlays, is illustrated in P. Kjelberg, Encyclopédie de la pendule française du Moyen Age au XXe siècle, Les éditions de l’Amateur, Paris, 1997, p. 375. A second example, also signed Bourdier, with enamels by Dubuisson and side pilasters adorned with female busts, is in the Royal Spanish Collections (illustrated in J. Ramon Colon de Carvajal, Catalogo de Relojes del Patrimonio nacional, Madrid, 1987, p. 138, catalogue n° 117). One further clock, signed Antide Janvier, whose case is stamped Jacob-Desmalter, is today in a private collection (illustrated in M. Hayard, Antide Janvier 1751-1835, Horloger des étoiles, sa vie à travers son œuvre, 2011, p. 314).

Jean-Simon Bourdier (d. 1839) is one of the most important Parisian horologists of the late 18th century and first quarter of the 19th century. He became a master on September 22, 1787 and immediately became known for the perfection of his movements. In the early 19th century, he worked with the clockmaker Godon, the designer Dugourc and the sculptor Pierre Julien, producing several remarkable pieces destined for the Spanish king Charles IV. In parallel, he worked with the most influential merchants of the time, and particularly Daguerre and Julliot, carefully choosing the artisans who collaborated with him in the production of fine clocks. Among them, one should mention the chaser Rémond, the cabinetmaker Schwerdfeger and the enamellers Dubuisson and Coteau.

Object Name: Rare Mahogany-Veneered and Gilt Bronze Desk Regulator, Empire period
Artist name: Jean-Simon Bourdier
Reference: R030
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