Important Gilt Bronze and White Carrara Marble Mantel Clock
“The Chariot of Diana the Huntress”
Probably David-Frédéric Dubois
The Enamel Dial attributed to Etienne Gobin, known as Dubuisson
The Case attributed to Antoine-André Ravrio
Paris, début de l’époque Empire, vers 1805
The blue enamel annular dial, signed “Dubois R.S.Hre N°207 à Paris”, indicates the Roman numeral hours in white cartouches and the outermost minutes graduation by means of two blued steel Breguet hands. It forms the wheel of a chariot that is drawn by two galloping greyhounds. In the chariot sits a beautiful female figure representing Diana as a huntress; dressed in classical draperies, she is about to shoot an arrow. The chariot is adorned with a roaring stag and a band of oak leaves and acorns. The terrace is decorated with oak branches and a hunting trophy. The quadrangular base with rounded corners is embellished with beadwork friezes and an openwork band of alternating palmettes and stylized leaves. The clock is raised upon six knurled toupie feet.
The chariot motif was not used in Parisian clocks until the Empire period. This was no doubt due to the difficulty encountered by 18th century horologists when they attempted to integrate a clock movement and dial into such compositions. This ceased to be an obstacle when the artisans of the early years of the following century began to fit their dials into chariot wheels. The remarkable composition of the present clock model may be attributed to Antoine-André Ravrio, one of the most important Parisian bronziers of the Empire period. Today a small number of comparable clocks are known, most of the chariots being drawn by deer. One example, commissioned for Het Loo Palace in Apeldoorn, is in the Royal Dutch Collection in The Hague (illustrated in Royal Clocks in Paleis Het Loo, A Catalogue, 2003, p. 38). A second example, whose movement is signed “Armingault à Paris”, features a chariot drawn by only one deer (see P. Kjellberg, Encyclopédie de la pendule française du Moyen Age au XXe siècle, Paris, 1997, p. 419, fig. G). One further clock, which is identical to the present clock with the exception of its green marble base, is part of the collection of the Ecole d’Horlogerie in Dreux, while a second example is in the collection of the Hesse Castle in Darmstadt (see M. Gay and A. Lemaire, “Les pendules au char”, in Bulletin de l’Association nationale des Collectionneurs et Amateurs d’Horlogerie ancienne, Spring 1993, n° 66, p. 37).
André-Antoine Ravrio (1759 - 1814)
Made master bronzier in 1777, he is one of the most important Parisian bronze workers of the late 18th century and the early Empire period. Supplier of bronzes to the Imperial Garde-meuble, Ravrio helped furnish Napoleon’s residences, along with Thomire and Galle; he also worked for some of the most influential figures of the time, including Marshals of the Empire. Today certain of his works are in the collections of the Mobilier national in Paris.
Dubuisson (1731 - 1815)
Étienne Gobin, known as Dubuisson, was one of the best enamellers working in Paris during the latter part of the 18th century and the early 19th century. During the mid 1750’s he was employed at Sèvres, then opened his own workshop, being recorded in the 1790’s in the rue de la Huchette and, circa 1812, in the rue de la Calandre. Specializing in enamelled watch cases and clock dials, he is known for his great skill and attention to detail.