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Époques: Directoire

  • Ridel  -  Coteau
    Laurent Ridel
    Joseph Coteau (1740-1801)

    Exceptional Gilt Bronze, Enamel, and Carrara Marble Three-Dial Skeleton Clock with Complications and Matte and Burnished Finishing

    Pendule348-08_HD_WEB

    The Enamels by Joseph Coteau

    France, Directory period, circa 1795

    Height52 Width29 Depth15

    The main white enamel ring dial reveals a portion of the finely finished mechanism. It indicates the Arabic numeral hours, fifteen-minute intervals, and Republican date graduated from 1 to 30, by means of three hands, two of which are made of pierced and gilt bronze, and one of which is of blued steel. It also indicates the days of the week and their corresponding zodiac signs by means of a central hand. A second white enamel ring dial, set under the first, designates the months with their corresponding number of days; it is elaborately decorated with crossed torches, flowering branches, wheat sheaves and grape vines, symbolizing the four seasons. A third dial, placed in the upper portion of the clock, indicates the age and phases of the moon on two enamel discs, one of which is adorned with an oval medallion with a central altar. The eight-day going movement, with outer count wheel, two barrels, and knife-edge suspension, strikes the hours and half hours. The pendulum is adorned with a magnificent Apollo mask surrounded by sunrays.

    The three dials are fitted within a framework that is painted on enamel with a blue background, featuring gold, silver, and translucent highlights in the form of leaf scrolls and arabesques, and beadwork flowers. The façade features a central cartouche bearing the signature “Ridel à Paris”. The clock is elaborately embellished with chased and engine-turned gilt bronze mounts, including bead friezes and cord motifs. The four curved arches are set on tall, truncated columns with molded bases. The quadrangular white Carrara marble base is decorated with a delicate frieze of alternating round and elongated beads; its façade is adorned with a panel in the manner of Clodion, depicting putti. The clock is raised upon five toupie feet with engine turned decoration.

    The first skeleton clocks appeared during the final decade of the 18th century. These clocks featured an elegant, sober design, with a main ring dial that revealed the delicate and complex movement and its lovely and elaborate wheel trains. These movements were produced by the finest European clockmakers, including several Parisian horologists. The new esthetic trend was influenced on the one hand by clock collectors’ interest in the extraordinary technical progress that had taken place since the mid 18th century, and on the other hand by the increasing lack of demand for clocks adorned with Allegorical figures from classical mythology. The present clock was made within that particular context; its sophisticated design is on a par with that of the finest French clocks made during the final decade of the 18th century.

    Among the small number of comparable clocks, one example with four dials is in the Royal Spanish Collection (see J. Ramon Colon de Carvajal, Catalogo de Relojes del Patrimonio nacional, Madrid, 1987, p. 95, catalogue n° 78). A second clock, in a private collection, is illustrated in the exhibition catalogue La Révolution dans la mesure du Temps, Calendrier républicain heure décimale 1793-1805, Musée international d’Horlogerie, La Chaux-de-Fonds, 1989, p. 58, catalogue n° 19. A third clock, signed “Folin l’aîné à Paris”, is in the Getty Museum in Malibu (illustrated in G. Wilson and C. Hess, Summary Catalogue of European Decorative Arts in the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, 2001, p. 74, fig. 145). One further similar clock, whose dial is signed “Laguesse à Liège” with enamels by Joseph Coteau that are dated 1796, is in Pavlovsk Palace in Saint Petersburg (see E. Ducamp, Pavlovsk, Les Collections, 1993, p. 186, pl. 17). One final example, nearly identical to the present clock, which also bears the signature of Laurent Ridel, has enamels by Joseph Coteau that are dated 1796 and indicates the Republican date. It is in the François Duesberg Museum in Mons (see Musée François Duesberg, Arts décoratifs 1775-1825, Brussels, 2004, p. 103).

    Laurent Ridel

    Laurent Ridel, one of the most important Parisian clockmakers of the late 18th century and the early years of the 19th century, signed his works “Ridel à Paris”. Although the date at which he became a master is not known, we know he opened a workshop in the rue aux Ours and quickly became successful among Parisian collectors of luxury horology. Like all the finest clockmakers of the period, Ridel obtained his cases from the best artisans of the day, including the bronziers Feuchère, Denière and Deverberie, the enamelers Coteau and Merlet, and the spring maker Monginot l’aîné. He soon gained a wealthy and discerning clientele, among them Jean-Marie Chamboissier, the jeweler Louis-Nicolas Duchesne, and Mesdames de France – the daughters of Louis XV – for whom Ridel made a clock in 1789 that was intended for their palace in Bellevue.



    Joseph Coteau (1740 - 1801)

    The most renowned enameller of his time, he worked with most of the best contemporary Parisian clockmakers. He was born in Geneva, where he was named master painter-enameler of the Académie de Saint Luc in 1766. Several years later he settled in Paris, and from 1772 to the end of his life, he was recorded in the rue Poupée. Coteau is known for a technique of relief enamel painting, which he perfected along with Parpette and which was used for certain Sèvres porcelain pieces, as well as for the dials of very fine clocks. Among the pieces that feature this distinctive décor are a covered bowl and tray in the Sèvres Musée national de la Céramique (Inv. SCC2011-4-2); a pair of “cannelés à guirlandes” vases in the Louvre Museum in Paris (see the exhibition catalogue Un défi au goût, 50 ans de création à la manufacture royale de Sèvres (1740-1793), Musée du Louvre, Paris, 1997, p. 108, catalogue n° 61); and a ewer and the “Comtesse du Nord” tray and bowl in the Pavlovsk Palace in Saint Petersburg (see M. Brunet and T. Préaud, Sèvres, Des origines à nos jours, Office du Livre, Fribourg, 1978, p. 207, fig. 250). A blue Sèvres porcelain lyre clock by Courieult, whose dial is signed “Coteau” and is dated “1785”, is in the Musée national du château in Versailles; it appears to be identical to the example mentioned in the 1787 inventory of Louis XVI’s apartments in Versailles (see Y. Gay and A. Lemaire, “Les pendules lyre”, in Bulletin de l’Association nationale des collectionneurs et amateurs d’Horlogerie ancienne, autumn 1993, n° 68, p. 32C).



    Revel
    Joseph-Marie Revel (?-1811)

    Rare Gilt Bronze Cage Clock

    Regulateur020-05_BD_MAIL

    “Revel”

    Paris, Directoire period, circa 1795

    Height42.5 Width26.5 Depth17.5

    The enamel dial, signed Revel, indicates the hours in Roman numerals, the minutes and date in Arabic numerals. The superb glazed architectural case is in finely chased gilt bronze. The arched pediment is ornamented with gadrooning and beading, with four pinecone finials; a pierced and fringed drapery hangs under the dial; the sides are composed of finely fluted pilasters with moulded bases and capitals. The stepped rectangular base is adorned with a pierced palmette and leaf frieze.

    The elegant composition of this clock bears witness to the aesthetic explorations of Parisian bronziers and clockmakers of the last quarter of the 18th century. As of the mid-century a new artistic current, encouraged by artists and influential collectors, drew inspiration from recent events such as the discoveries of the ancient Roman cities of Pompey and Herculaneum. Enthusiastic collectors such as the Count of Caylus and Ange-Laurent Lalive de Jully gave a new impulse to the French decorative arts, still marked by the rococo style in vogue during the Louis XV period. Influenced by the forms and decorative vocabulary of Greek and Roman antiquity, the new Neo-classical style favoured pure lines and classical motifs such as the antique borne or cippus that gives its form to the present clock. The new style showcased the skill of the period’s remarkable artisans, as well as the mastery of many different materials.

    Among the comparable examples known, two slightly later models feature chasing of lesser quality. The first, signed Carcel jeune, is illustrated in P. Kjellberg, Encyclopédie de la pendule française du Moyen Age à nos jours, Paris, 1997, p. 184; a second clock was delivered in September 1807 to the Fontainebleau Palace by Lepaute, uncle and nephew; it is still in the Fontainebleau collection. (see J-P. Samoyault, Musée national du château de Fontainebleau, Catalogue des collections de mobilier, 1. Pendules et bronze d’ameublement entrés sous le Premier Empire, RMN, Paris, 1989, p. 65, catalogue n° 26). An identical clock, also signed Revel, was formerly in the collection of Peter Zervudachi; another signed Lepaute is in a private collection (illustrated in P. Heuer and K. Maurice, European Pendulum Clocks, Decorative Instruments of measuring Time, Munich, 1988, p. 65, fig. 108).

    Joseph-Marie Revel (? - 1811)

    Very little is known about this clockmaker, who was nevertheless very famous during his lifetime. Briefly mentioned in the Tardy’s Dictionnaire des horlogers under the name of Joseph Revel, he was actually named Joseph-Marie; he died in Paris in 1811. After becoming a master on August 12, 1775, he opened a workshop in the Vieille rue du Temple, and was mentioned in the Palais Royal from 1787 to 1790, in the Palais Egalité around 1800, and in the Palais Tribunat from 1804 to 1806. Several probate inventories dating from the early decades of the 19th century mention a number of his clocks; a clock by Revel was estimated in 1817 after the death of Adélaïde de Lespinasse-Langeac, the wife of the chevalier de Costalin; in 1821 another was in the collection of the Countess de Medem, Anne-Charlotte-Dorothée, the widow of the powerful Duke de Courlande.



    In the same category

    Important Patinated and Gilt Bronze Mantel Clock with Matte and Burnished Finishing

    “The Amerindian Hunter”

    “Alexandre”

    Paris, Directoire-Consulate period, circa 1800

    Height54 Width41 Depth12.5

    The round enamel dial, signed “Alexandre à Paris”, indicates the Roman numeral hours and the Arabic fifteen-minute intervals by means of two bronze hands. It is housed in a finely chased patinated and gilt bronze case with matte and burnished finishing. The clock is surmounted by the figure of a black hunter wearing a feather headdress and a feather loincloth who is holding a bow in his left hand and an arrow in his right hand, with a quiver of arrows slung across his chest. He is sitting on a sloping rectangular form decorated with a lion’s head, which is placed in a ship with a wolf’s head figurehead. It stands on a terrace adorned with naturalistic waves. The quadrangular base with concave sides is decorated with applied motifs including palmettes, scrolls, and torches; its façade is embellished with an elaborate high-relief scene depicting rocks, a hut, and palm trees, among which three little boys dressed in loincloths are hunting, fishing, and resting with their dog. The oblong plinth rests on four flattened feet that are adorned with bead friezes and double zigzags framed by engine turning centered by cabochons.

    Exoticism became fashionable during the late 18th century, inspired by the philosophical writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who called for a return to Nature and exalted the virtues of the “noble savage”; it was conveyed by contemporary literature as well. Among the great literary successes of the time were “Paul et Virginie” written by Bernardin de Saint-Pierre in 1788; it echoed the well-known “Robinson Crusoe” by Daniel Defoe; the novel “Les Incas” by Marmontel, which was published during the American War of Independence; and “Atala” by Chateaubriand, which was published in 1801. These works profoundly changed Europeans’ attitudes toward other civilizations, plunging the Old World into a deep romantic nostalgia that was linked to the quest for a pagan Garden of Eden, regenerated and redeemed by Christianity.

    As was often the case in the French decorative arts, this current influenced artistic trends, and particularly horological creations. The model of the present clock was created within that particular context. Very likely an allegorical representation of the discovery of the New World, two versions of it were offered. The first one featured a figure who was sitting on a chariot; only a few such examples are known, including a clock that is today in the Musée du Nouveau Monde in La Rochelle. A second example is pictured in G. and A. Wannenes, Les plus belles pendules françaises, De Louis XIV à l’Empire, Florence, 2013, p. 315. Only a few examples are known of the second type, which is also that of the present clock. Two of them are in the Musée François Duesberg in Mons (illustrated in Musée François Duesberg, Arts décoratifs 1775-1825, Brussels, 2004, p. 59).

    Deverberie
    Jean-Simon Deverberie (1764-1824)

    Rare Chased, Patinated and Gilt Bronze Mantel Clock

     

    Pendule318-03_HD_WEB

    Attributed to Jean-Simon Deverberie

    Paris, Directoire period, circa 1795-1800

    Height34 Width45 Depth12

    The enamel ring dial indicates the Roman numeral hours and the minute graduations by means of two blued steel hands. Revealing the skeleton movement, it forms the wheel of a small chariot driven by a young woman modelled in chased and gilt bronze. Dressed in an Empire-waist dress, her hair tied up in a bun, she holds a whip in one hand and in the other the reins of the spirited, patinated bronze horse that is harnessed to the chariot. Behind the young woman stands a young black boy with enamel eyes, wearing a feather headdress and loincloth. He adds an exotic touch to the composition. The moulded a rectangular base is adorned with foliate motifs, scrolls and palmettes; the four feet are decorated with foliate motifs.

    In the late 18th century, the philosophical writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau extolled the virtues of a return to Nature via the myth of the “noble savage”. Due to their influence exoticism became fashionable in contemporary literature. Bernardin de Saint Pierre’s great success “Paul et Virginie”, published in 1788, Daniel Defoe’s famous “Robinson Crusoe”, Marmontel’s novel “Les Incas”, published during the American Revolutionary War, and Chateaubriand’s “Atala”, published in 1801, all profoundly changed Europeans’ view of other civilisations. This literary movement created a romantic vision of a sort of pagan Garden of Eden, renewed and regenerated by Christianity. As often happened in the French decorative arts, this was to have an effect on many artistic creations, particularly clocks and lighting instruments. This is the context within which the present clock was created by bronze caster Jean-Simon Deverberie in the late 18th century. It is particularly interesting because it is related to two types of clock, both extremely sought-after by knowledgeable horological collectors at the time; the “pendule au nègre” and the “pendule au char”.

    Very few similar clocks are known; most date from a later period. One such example is illustrated in Tardy, La pendule française, du Louis XVI à nos jours, Paris, 1975, p. 377; a second clock is in the François Duesberg Museum in Mons (see Musée François Duesberg, Arts décoratifs 1775-1825, Bruxelles, 2004, p. 54); a third example is in the collection of the Princes of Hessen in the Fasanerie Palace in Fulda (illustrated in the exhibition catalogue Gehäuse der Zeit, 2002, p. 93).

    Jean-Simon Deverberie (1764 - 1824)

    Jean-Simon Deverberie was one of the most important Parisian bronziers of the late 18th century and the early decades of the following century.  Deverberie, who was married to Marie-Louise Veron, appears to have specialized at first in making clocks and candelabra that were adorned with exotic figures, and particularly African figures. Around 1800 he registered several preparatory designs for “au nègre” clocks, including the “Africa”, “America”, and “Indian Man and Woman” models (the drawings for which are today preserved in the Cabinet des Estampes in the Bibliothèque nationale in Paris). He opened a workshop in the rue Barbette around 1800, in the rue du Temple around 1804, and in the rue des Fossés du Temple between 1812 and 1820.



    Gaulin

    Important Gilt and Patinated Bronze Mantel Clock

    The American Indian Hunter

    Pendule302-05_HD_WEB

    Gaulin à Paris

    Paris, Directory-Consulate period, circa 1800

    Height50.5 Width37 Depth12.5

    The round enamel dial, signed “Gaulin à Paris”, indicates the Roman numeral hours and the Arabic numeral fifteen-minute intervals by means of two gilt bronze hands. It is housed in a  finely chased gilt and patinated bronze case. The clock is surmounted by the figure of a black hunter wearing a feather headdress and loincloth, who holds a bow in his left hand and an arrow in his right, with a quiver of arrows slung across his chest. He is sitting on a pedestal that is decorated with a lion’s head and is supported on a chariot with four wheels that are decorated with pierced flower petals and is drawn by a chimera with a lion’s head and dragons’ wings, whose double tail ends in arrows; it holds the reins in its mouth. On the other side lies a dead eagle. The sloping quadrangular base is decorated with garlands hanging from pastilles, whose façade is adorned with an elaborate applied motif depicting a rocky landscape, a cabin, and palm trees, in which three young boys dressed in loincloths are hunting, fishing, and sitting with a dog. The oblong plinth is raised upon four flattened feet decorated with beading and double zigzags that are framed by guilloche work and centered by cabochons.

    During the late 18th century, encouraged by the philosophical writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who extolled the virtues of a return to Nature through the idea of the “noble savage”, the fashion for exoticism was encouraged by contemporary writers. The enormous literary success of works such as Bernardin de Saint-Pierre’s “Paul et Virginie” (published in 1788, it was a descendant of Daniel Defoe’s famous “Robinson Crusoe”), Marmontel’s novel “Les Incas”, which was published during the American War of Independence, and Chateaubriand’s “Atala”, published in 1801, profoundly changed Europeans’ attitudes toward other civilizations. They plunged the Old World into a deep romantic nostalgia related to the quest for a pagan Garden of Eden that would be regenerated by Christianity.

    As was often the case in the French decorative arts, this upheaval was to have important repercussions that were reflected in certain artistic creations, and particularly in horology. This was the context in which the present clock was created. No doubt an allegorical representation of the discovery of the New World, it was offered in two versions. In the first, the figure is seated on a boat that is decorated with a wolf mask (one such model is illustrated in the exhibition catalogue “De Noir et d’Or”, Musées Royaux d’Art et d’Histoire, Brussels, 1993). The second type is that of the present clock; a few similar examples are known to exist. One such clock is in the Musée du Nouveau Monde in La Rochelle; a second example is illustrated in G. and A. Wannenes, Les plus belles pendules françaises, De Louis XIV à l’Empire, Florence, 2013, p. 315. One further such clock is in the Musée François Duesberg in Mons (see Musée François Duesberg, Arts décoratifs 1775-1825, Bruxelles, 2004, p. 59).

    Deverberie
    Jean-Simon Deverberie (1764-1824)

    Rare Gilt Bronze Mantel Clock

    “The American Indian”

    Pendule246-04_HD_WEB

    Attributed to Jean-Simon Deverberie

    Paris, Directoire period, circa 1799

    Height46 Width37 Depth15

    A very fine Empire gilt and patinated bronze “Pendule à L’Amérique”, The round enamel dial, signed “ Luzurier à Paris ”, indicates the Roman numeral hours and the Arabic numeral fifteen-minute intervals by means of two gilt bronze hands. The eight-day going movement, with anchor escapement and silk thread suspension, strikes the hour and half hour on a single bell, with outside count wheel.

    The case, attributed to Jean-Simon Deverberie, is surmounted by the seated figure of a half-draped huntress with a bow in her right hand and a quiver of arrows slung across her back, an alligator lying at her feet. The waisted base is mounted with serpent-tied floral garlands and a beaded border; the whole is raised on gilt bronze toupie feet.

    Deverberie’s original case design, today preserved in the French Bibliothèque Nationale, is pictured in Tardy, Les Plus Belles Pendules Françaises, 1994, pp. 246-7. An identical clock with case by Deverberie and dial signed Gaulin à Paris is illustrated in Hans Ottomeyer and Peter Pröschel, Vergoldete Bronzen, 1986, p. 381, pl. 5.15.25. An identical case with dial signed Ridel à Paris is illustrated in Elke Niehüser, Die Französische Bronzeuhr, 1997, p. 148, pl. 239. An identical clock with dial signed Thiéry à Paris is shown in Pierre Kjellberg, Encyclopédie de la Pendule Française du Moyen Age au XXe Siècle, 1997, p. 351.

    The theme of the noble savage inspired a number of clock cases. The first such model made by Deverberie, with movement by Furet and Godon, was “La Négresse”; it was presented to Marie-Antoinette in 1784. The present clock, made as a pendant to “l’Afrique”, dates from about 1799 and continued in popularity up until about 1815.

    The case design reflects the vogue for exoticism that prevailed during the eighteenth century and continued into the next century. It was inspired by the notion of the noble savage as treated by such writers as Rousseau, as well as by current events. Among them was the 1767 arrival in Tahiti of French explorer Bougainville, followed by that of Captain Cook in 1769. Accounts of the harmonious life of the South Sea islanders led people to question the shortcomings of European society. The notion of the noble savage inspired some of the greatest literary works of the period, including Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe (1719), Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels (1724), Bernardin de Saint-Pierre’s Paul et Virginie (1787), and Atala (1801) by the Vicomte de Chateaubriand.

    Jean-Simon Deverberie (1764 - 1824)

    Jean-Simon Deverberie was one of the most important Parisian bronziers of the late 18th century and the early decades of the following century.  Deverberie, who was married to Marie-Louise Veron, appears to have specialized at first in making clocks and candelabra that were adorned with exotic figures, and particularly African figures. Around 1800 he registered several preparatory designs for “au nègre” clocks, including the “Africa”, “America”, and “Indian Man and Woman” models (the drawings for which are today preserved in the Cabinet des Estampes in the Bibliothèque nationale in Paris). He opened a workshop in the rue Barbette around 1800, in the rue du Temple around 1804, and in the rue des Fossés du Temple between 1812 and 1820.



    Isabel & Délas  -  Coteau
    Isabel et Délas
    Joseph Coteau (1740-1801)

    Rare Enamel, Gilt Bronze and White Carrara Marble Skeleton Clock

    Pendule190_04

    « Isabel & Délas »

    The Enamels Attributed to Joseph Coteau

    France, Directory period, circa 1795

    Height61 Width31.3 Depth14.8

    The main enamel ring dial, with a star-strewn blue enameled border, reveals a portion of the movement’s finely cut gears. It indicates the Roman numeral hours and the Arabic numeral minute graduations and revolutionary date, graduated from 1 to 30, by means of three hands, two made of pierced gilt bronze and the third of blued steel. A second white enamel dial, with a central blue enameled disc is set under the main dial; it indicates the days of the week, by means of a blued steel hand. A third dial, surmounting the other two, indicates the age and phases of the moon on two enamel discs. The two-barrel eight-day going movement, with outer count wheel and knife-edge suspension, strikes the hours and half hours on a bell. The pendulum is in the form of a magnificent Apollo mask with radiating sunrays.

    The three dials are set within a framework adorned with blue enamel decorated with gold ad silver motifs, including rosettes centered by green cabochons. A shaped cartouche bears the signature “Isabel & Délas à Rouen”. The clock is elaborately adorned with finely chased gilt bronze mounts and is surmounted by a flaming urn with handles that is adorned with an applied fleur de lys. The framework is decorated with knurled molding, seeded laurel branches, and two ribbon-tied olive branches. It rests on two arches that are set on square columns, whose capitals and bases have cutout corners, and are decorated with masks of Mercury. The clock rests on a quadrangular white marble base that is adorned with a beaded frieze and whose façade has a reserve with a frieze of alternating palmettes and stylized stems. The clock is raised upon four knurled and gadrooned toupie feet.

    Skeleton clocks first appeared during the last decade of the 18th century. This type of clock features a simple uncluttered design, with a main annular dial that reveals the beauty of the movement and its gear trains, and the complexity of the mechanisms. These were made by the finest clockmakers in Europe, most of whom worked in Paris. The new esthetic style grew partially out of clock lovers’ admiration for the extraordinary technical progress made during the 18th century, as well as from an increasing lack of interest in allegorical clocks depicting Greek and Roman mythological figures. The present clock, made within this context, features an elegant and luxurious design that typifies the best of the French decorative arts during the final decade of the 18th century.

    Among the small number of similar clocks known, one example with four dials is in the Royal Spanish Collections (see J. Ramon Colon de Carvajal, Catalogo de Relojes del Patrimonio nacional, Madrid, 1987, p. 95, catalogue n° 78). A second clock, with enamels by Joseph Coteau, is in the Musée François Duesberg in Mons (illustrated in Musée François Duesberg, Arts décoratifs 1775-1825, Brussels, 2004, p.103). A third clock, on display in the Musée Carnavalet in Paris, is illustrated in the exhibition catalogue La Révolution dans la mesure du Temps, Calendrier républicain heure décimale 1793-1805, Musée international d’Horlogerie, La Chaux-de-Fonds, 1989, p. 95. A fourth example, signed “Folin l’aîné à Paris”, is in the Getty Museum in Malibu (illustrated in G. Wilson and C. Hess, Summary Catalogue of European Decorative Arts in the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, 2001, p. 74, fig. 145). One further similar clock, whose dial is signed “Laguesse à Liège” and whose enamels by Joseph Coteau are dated 1796, is on display in the Pavlovsk Palace in Saint Petersburg (see E. Ducamp, Pavlovsk, Les Collections, 1993, p. 186, pl. 17).

    Isabel et Délas

    This signature probably refers to the partnership between Monsieur Isabel, a clockmaker who was active in Rouen during the late 18th century – who may be the same M. Isabelle who in 1802 exhibited a system for compensating for the effect of temperature variations on the rate of clocks – and of Jacques Délas, a clockmaker born in Rouen in 1752, whose marriage took place in that city forty years later (see Tardy, Dictionnaire des horlogers français, Paris, 1971, pp. 170 and 318).



    Joseph Coteau (1740 - 1801)

    The most renowned enameller of his time, he worked with most of the best contemporary Parisian clockmakers. He was born in Geneva, where he was named master painter-enameler of the Académie de Saint Luc in 1766. Several years later he settled in Paris, and from 1772 to the end of his life, he was recorded in the rue Poupée. Coteau is known for a technique of relief enamel painting, which he perfected along with Parpette and which was used for certain Sèvres porcelain pieces, as well as for the dials of very fine clocks. Among the pieces that feature this distinctive décor are a covered bowl and tray in the Sèvres Musée national de la Céramique (Inv. SCC2011-4-2); a pair of “cannelés à guirlandes” vases in the Louvre Museum in Paris (see the exhibition catalogue Un défi au goût, 50 ans de création à la manufacture royale de Sèvres (1740-1793), Musée du Louvre, Paris, 1997, p. 108, catalogue n° 61); and a ewer and the “Comtesse du Nord” tray and bowl in the Pavlovsk Palace in Saint Petersburg (see M. Brunet and T. Préaud, Sèvres, Des origines à nos jours, Office du Livre, Fribourg, 1978, p. 207, fig. 250). A blue Sèvres porcelain lyre clock by Courieult, whose dial is signed “Coteau” and is dated “1785”, is in the Musée national du château in Versailles; it appears to be identical to the example mentioned in the 1787 inventory of Louis XVI’s apartments in Versailles (see Y. Gay and A. Lemaire, “Les pendules lyre”, in Bulletin de l’Association nationale des collectionneurs et amateurs d’Horlogerie ancienne, autumn 1993, n° 68, p. 32C).



    Ridel  -  Coteau
    Laurent Ridel
    Joseph Coteau (1740-1801)

    Rare Gilt Bronze, Enamel, and White Carrara Marble Skeleton Clock

    APF_Pendule148_07

    The Enamels Attributed to Joseph Coteau (1740-1801)

    Paris, Directory period, circa 1795

    Height53 Width28 Depth12

    The main white enamel chapter ring, revealing the intricately cut wheels of the mechanism, is graduated with the Arabic numeral hours, fifteen-minute intervals, and date, which are indicated by means of four hands, two made of pierced gilt brass and two of blued steel. A blued steel Breguet hand points to the days of the week and their corresponding Zodiac signs, along the outer edge. A third dial in the clock’s upper portion indicates the phases and age of the moon on an enameled disk, featuring a grisaille-painted moon against a starry blue sky. The main ring dial reveals the eight-day movement through its centre, with outer count wheel, two barrels, a pin pallet escapement, and knife-edge suspension. The hours and half hours are struck on a bell. The pendulum features a magnificent Apollo mask with radiating sunrays.

    The frame is painted on enamel with a dark blue ground, with swags of flowers and foliage, and features four oval medallions, two depicting doves and rose wreaths, and the other two decorated with scenes related to the theme of Cupid and Venus. A central cartouche bears the clockmaker’s name: Ridel à Paris”. The clock is elaborately adorned with finely chased gilt bronze mounts. Surmounting it, an eagle with spread wings, holding a thunderbolt in its claws, represents the god Jupiter. The frame is further decorated with cornucopias, fluting, beading, flower and leaf wreaths, and stylized rosettes and palmettes. The quadrangular white marble base is adorned with friezes; the one on the façade, after the sculptor Clodion, depicts putti among clouds. The clock is raised on four knurled gilt bronze toupie feet.

    Among the small number of known comparable clocks, one skeleton clock with enamels by Joseph Coteau is today in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris (illustrated in Tardy, Les Plus Belles Pendules Françaises, 1994, p. 206, pl. XLII). A second clock, also signed “Ridel à Paris”, with enamels by Joseph Coteau that are dated 1796 and a similar Clodion-inspired frieze, is in the Musée François Duesberg in Mons (see Pierre Kjellberg, Encyclopédie de la Pendule Française du Moyen Age au XXe Siècle, 1997, p. 319, pl. B). A third clock is illustrated in Johann Willsberger, Clocks and Watches, 600 Years of the World’s Most Beautiful Timepieces, 1975. One further similar clock, whose dial is signed Laguesse à Liège and whose enamels, dated 1796, are by Joseph Coteau, is displayed in the Pavlovsk Palace in Saint Petersburg (E. Ducamp, Pavlovsk, Les Collections, 1993, p. 186, pl. 17).

    Laurent Ridel

    Laurent Ridel, one of the most important Parisian clockmakers of the late 18th century and the early years of the 19th century, signed his works “Ridel à Paris”. Although the date at which he became a master is not known, we know he opened a workshop in the rue aux Ours and quickly became successful among Parisian collectors of luxury horology. Like all the finest clockmakers of the period, Ridel obtained his cases from the best artisans of the day, including the bronziers Feuchère, Denière and Deverberie, the enamelers Coteau and Merlet, and the spring maker Monginot l’aîné. He soon gained a wealthy and discerning clientele, among them Jean-Marie Chamboissier, the jeweler Louis-Nicolas Duchesne, and Mesdames de France – the daughters of Louis XV – for whom Ridel made a clock in 1789 that was intended for their palace in Bellevue.



    Joseph Coteau (1740 - 1801)

    The most renowned enameller of his time, he worked with most of the best contemporary Parisian clockmakers. He was born in Geneva, where he was named master painter-enameler of the Académie de Saint Luc in 1766. Several years later he settled in Paris, and from 1772 to the end of his life, he was recorded in the rue Poupée. Coteau is known for a technique of relief enamel painting, which he perfected along with Parpette and which was used for certain Sèvres porcelain pieces, as well as for the dials of very fine clocks. Among the pieces that feature this distinctive décor are a covered bowl and tray in the Sèvres Musée national de la Céramique (Inv. SCC2011-4-2); a pair of “cannelés à guirlandes” vases in the Louvre Museum in Paris (see the exhibition catalogue Un défi au goût, 50 ans de création à la manufacture royale de Sèvres (1740-1793), Musée du Louvre, Paris, 1997, p. 108, catalogue n° 61); and a ewer and the “Comtesse du Nord” tray and bowl in the Pavlovsk Palace in Saint Petersburg (see M. Brunet and T. Préaud, Sèvres, Des origines à nos jours, Office du Livre, Fribourg, 1978, p. 207, fig. 250). A blue Sèvres porcelain lyre clock by Courieult, whose dial is signed “Coteau” and is dated “1785”, is in the Musée national du château in Versailles; it appears to be identical to the example mentioned in the 1787 inventory of Louis XVI’s apartments in Versailles (see Y. Gay and A. Lemaire, “Les pendules lyre”, in Bulletin de l’Association nationale des collectionneurs et amateurs d’Horlogerie ancienne, autumn 1993, n° 68, p. 32C).