An Important Gilt Bronze Mantel Clock with Matte and Burnished Finishing “The God Apollo, Protector of the Sciences and the Arts”, Empire period
Call +33 1 45 61 44 55
Attributed to Pierre-Philippe Thomire
An Important Gilt Bronze Mantel Clock with Matte and Burnished Finishing
“The God Apollo, Protector of the Sciences and the Arts”
Paris, Empire period, circa 1805
Height 55 cm; width 41 cm; depth 12.5 cm
The round white enamel dial, marked “à Paris”, indicates the Roman numeral hours and the Arabic fifteen-minute intervals by means of two pierced gilt bronze hands. It is housed in a finely chased gilt bronze case with matte and burnished finishing. The movement is housed in a case with concave sides that is adorned with a motif depicting the serpent Python, vanquished by Apollo. The clock is surmounted by a magnificent mythological figure depicting the seated Apollo, wearing a laurel crown and classical drapery. He holds a lyre on his left knee; set on the plinth at his feet are a harp with a female figure that terminates in spiraling laurel garlands, an allegory of Daphne, manuscripts, a quiver with arrows, a mandolin and a blue celestial globe on a base adorned with ram’s heads decorated with laurel garlands and dove feet. The quadrangular base with protruding elements is decorated with palmettes, C-scrolls and flowers, tripods supporting flaming urns and a wide reserve on the façade depicting an interior scene with allegories of painting, sculpture, literature and astrology. The clock is supported on six toupie feet that emerge from acanthus leaf bouquets and are chased with laurel toruses and matte bands with lyres are set against laurel and olive branches.
The theme of Apollo as god and protector of the des Arts and Sciences was one of the favorite iconographic motifs of Parisian bronziers and clockmakers during the first two decades of the 19th century. A clock comparable to the present one was formerly in the collection of the Andrés de Ribera Foundation in Jerez de la Frontera (illustrated in L. Montanes, Catalogo illustrado del Museo de Relojes, Fundacion Andrés de Ribera, 1982, p. 42, fig. 25). A second example is on display in the Catherine Palace in Pushkin, near Saint Petersburg (illustrated in A. Chenevière, Russian Furniture, The Golden Age 1780-1840, London, 1988, p. 131, fig. 120). A third is in the Villa Masséna in Nice (see L. Mézin, La Villa Masséna du Premier Empire à la Belle Epoque, 2010, p. 52-53, catalogue n° 9). A clock that is identical to the present clock is in the Spanish Royal Collection in Madrid (illustrated in J. Ramon Colon de Carvajal, Catalogo de Relojes del Patrimonio nacional, Madrid, 1987, p. 261, catalogue n° 246); another example, which is now lacking the enameled celestial sphere, was delivered by the Lepautes in August 1806 for the apartments of Madame Mère, the mother of Napoléon, in Fontainebleau Castle; it is still part of the collection there (illustrated in J-P. Samoyault, Musée national du Château de Fontainebleau, Catalogue des collections de mobilier, 1-Pendules et bronzes d’ameublement entrés sous le Premier Empire, RMN, Paris, 1989, p. 52, catalogue n° 8).
Pierre-Philippe Thomire (1757-1853) was the most important Parisian bronzier of the last quarter of the 18th century and the first decades of the following century. Early on in his career he worked for Pierre Gouthière, ciseleur-fondeur du roi, and toward the mid-1770’s began working with Louis Prieur. He later became one of the bronziers attached to the Manufacture Royale de Sèvres, creating the bronze mounts for most of the important creations of the day. After the Revolution, he purchased the stock of Martin-Eloi Lignereux, thus becoming the most important suppliers of furniture bronzes for châteaux and Imperial Palaces. In addition, he worked for a wealthy private clientele, both French and foreign, including several of Napoleon’s Marshals. Thomire retired in 1823.
Charles-Cécile Filon Neo-classical Urn Mantel Clock, Louis XVI period
Claude-Charles-François Filon Exceptional Gilt Bronze Mantel Clock with Gregorian and Republican Calendars, Directoire period
Jean-Baptiste-Gabriel Dubuc Exceptional Neoclassical White Carrara Marble and Gilt Bronze Mantel Clock “Apollo Citharoedus and the Muses”, Louis XVI period
Jean-Louis Amant Rare Gilt and Polychrome Bronze “Au Déserteur” Mantel Clock, Louis XVI period
Claude Galle Important Patinated and Matte Gilt Bronze and Green Marble Mantel Clock "The Meeting of Robinson Crusoe and Friday", Directoire period
Gabriel Leroy Rare Gilt Bronze Mantel Clock, Empire period