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

Bailly
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 60 cm; width 41cm; depth19 cm
T
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.
 
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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).

The partnership between Denière and Matelin was founded during the final years of the 18th century by the bronze casters François-Thomas Matelin and Jean-François Denière; it became an immense success among the influential collectors and connoisseurs of the time. In just a few years, the partners became some of the most important suppliers of bronze furnishings in Europe, as, for example, official suppliers of the Royal Garde-meuble in Milan. Denière and Matelin also had a wealthy private clientele. They took part in the decoration of most of the imperial palaces and châteaux, delivering bronze furnishings and clocks, through the intermediary of some of their fellow bronze casters. The partners dissolved their business in April 1820; thereafter they continued their careers separately.
 

P249


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