A Gilt Bronze and Ebony Veneer Mantle Clock
“ The Altar of Venus ”
Dial signed “ Baffert à Paris ” by the clockmaker Martin Baffert
Paris, beginning of the Louis XVI period, circa 1775
A rare Louis XVI gilt bronze clock by Martin Baffert, the white enamel dial signed “Baffert à Paris”. The dial with outer Arabic numerals for the minutes and inner Roman numerals for the hours, with pierced gilt brass hands. The eight-day movement with anchor escapement and silk thread suspension, striking the hours and half hours on a single bell, with outside count wheel. The case depicts the altar of Venus, surmounted by foliage above a flame; standing on the left, Venus holds a seashell in her left hand; to the right, the winged Cupid is lying on a draped rock with a gadrooned urn at his feet; he is giving the goddess a dove. The shaped plinth is centred by a frieze depicting a pair of doves among foliage, flanked on either side by fluted pillars. The ormolu-mounted ebony-veneered base is raised on turned feet.
A clock similar to the present one, signed “Buzot à Paris”, is in the University of Michigan Museum of Art.
Martin Baffert, a master clockmaker active in Paris during the second part of the 18th century, is recorded as working in the Enclos des Quinze-Vingt in 1773.