An Important Green Marble and Gilt and Patinated Bronze Antique Mantel Antique Regulator with Matte and Burnished Finishing "The Quarrel", early Empire period

The dial signed by the enameller Fleureau Jeune
The case attributed to Jean-François Denière and François-Thomas Matelin (1797-1820)
Paris, early Empire period, circa 1805
Height 60cm; width 41cm; depth 19cm
he round white enamel dial, signed “Bailly à Paris”, indicates the Roman numeral hours, the Arabic numeral fifteen-minute intervals and the seconds, by means of three blued steel hands, two of which are Breguet hands. It is housed in a finely chased gilt and patinated bronze architectural case with burnished and matte finishing. It is fitted in a finely chased gilt and patinated bronze architectural case with matte and burnished finishing. The quadrangular green marble base, decorated with motifs in relief of two wreaths flanked by stylized palmettes and stems, supports a monument in the form of a fountain with pilasters that are adorned with torches decorated with palmettes, quivers, and winged figures. It has an arched pediment that is decorated with a flower and leaf frieze, flanked by two swans with outstretched wings; the lateral scrolling consoles are decorated with stylized leaves. The entablature is supported by two feet with lions’ heads and claws. Two finely sculpted figures are standing on the terrace in front of the fountain – a young man dressed in a short tunic and sandals who is entreating a young woman in a draped tunic, who is turning away from him. Four flattened ball feet with knurled bands support the composition.
his clock is one of the finest Parisian horological creations of the Empire period, due to the rarity of its iconography and the quality of its chasing. Entitled “The Quarrel” (La Brouille), it was created in the early years of the 19th century by the bronze casters Denière and Matelin. It was intended as a pair to another model, called “The Reconciliation” (La reconciliation or Le raccommodement), created by the same artisans during the same period, which showed the same figures kissing. Thus, the two clocks illustrate two aspects of a love affair. Matelin did not personally commercialize these two clock models. Instead, he seems to have chosen to sell them either through merchants, or through his fellow bronze casters, particularly Claude Galle. Today, there are very few known examples of these two models; for The Reconciliation, one clock, whose dial is signed Galle, is in the collection of the Princes of Hesse at the Château de la Fasanerie in Fulda (illustrated in the exhibition catalogue Gehäuse der Zeit, 2002, p. 97, catalogue n° 37). A second is in the Pitti Palace in Florence (see H. Ottomeyer and P. Pröschel, Vergoldete Bronzen, Band I, Munich, 1986, p. 369, fig. 5.13.11). As concerns The Quarrel, one should mention an example signed “Thonissen à Paris”, which is on display in the Musée Marmottan-Claude Monet in Paris (illustrated in J-D. Augarde, “Une nouvelle vision du bronze et des bronziers sous le Directoire et l’Empire”, in L’Estampille/L’Objet d’art, n°398, January 2005, p.71).
he partnership between Denière and Matelin was created in the final years of the 18th century by bronziers François-Thomas Matelin and Jean-François Denière. Very successful, within just a few years the partners counted among the most important European suppliers of bronzes for furnishings, including the royal Garde-meuble of Milan. Denière and Matelin furnished bronzes and clocks for many important private clients, often via their fellow bronziers. The partnership came to an end in April 1820, with the two men continuing their careers separately.
The signature Bailly à Paris is that of one of the most important Parisian horological families of the early 19th century. Probably from a dynasty of clockmakers who were active during the second half of the 18th century, the clockmaker was probably trained in the family workshop, opening his own workshop in the rue de la Loi (now the rue de Richelieu) in the early years of the 19th century (see Tardy, Dictionnaire des horlogers parisiens, Paris, 1971, p. 24). He quickly became known for the quality of his work and was named “Horloger de LL. MM. II. et RR.” (Clockmaker to their Imperial and Royal Majesties), working for Emperor Napoleon. He delivered many clocks to the Imperial Garde-Meuble and earned the privilege of maintaining the clocks in certain of the Emperor’s palaces and châteaux. He retired several years after the fall of Napoleon. During the early decades of the 19th century some of his clocks were mentioned in the homes of important collectors of the day, including examples described in the probate inventories of the widow of Pierre, duke of Courlande; the wife of Anne-César, Count of Beaurepaire; Eugène-Eustache, Count of Béthisy; and that of Horace-François-Bastien Sébastiani, Count de la Porta, who was a former minister, a Marshal of France and an ambassador.


Matelin Denière et

Denière et Matelin An Important Green Marble and Gilt and Patinated Bronze Antique Mantel Antique Regulator with Matte and Burnished Finishing "The Quarrel", early Empire period