search icon

Époques: Louis XV

  • Fol  -  Saint-Germain
    Fol
    Jean-Joseph de Saint-Germain (1719-1791)

    Rare Gilt Bronze Mantle Clock

    “The Trumpeting Elephant”

    Pendule408-04_BD_MAIL

    Fol à Paris

    The back of the base marked : S. GERMAIN

    Paris, Louis XV period, circa 1750

    Height50 Width38 Depth16

    The round enamel dial indicates the Roman numeral hours and the Arabic numeral five-minute intervals by means of two pierced and chased gilt brass hands. It is housed in a bronze case that is finely chased and matte gilt. The movement, whose back plate is signed “Fol à Paris”, is fitted in a drum case that is adorned with flower and leaf garlands and is surmounted by a winged putto who is sitting on a cushion placed on a rock. He holds a tablet in his left hand and a divided dial in the other. The bezel is adorned with reeds and acanthus leaves; the movement’s back plate is made of brass with cutout branches and flowers. The whole is set on the back of a magnificent elephant, which stands on its four legs and raises its trunk while opening its mouth as if to trumpet. The pachyderm stands on a shaped base adorned with rocaille motifs such as C-scrolls, rocks, stylized leaves, scrolling and waves.

    The mid-18th century was a particularly fertile period for the French decorative arts. At the time every attempt was made to encourage the talent of contemporary artists and artisans and to draw artisans from all over Europe who wished to work for important Parisian collectors. This is the context within which the present clock was made. Its remarkable composition, featuring an exotic animal – an elephant – is indicative of the great attraction that “exotic” places like Asia, America, and Africa held for wealthy French collectors. The latter were fascinated by the accounts of travelers to far-off countries, as well as by the engraved illustrations in works concerning those countries.

    As concerns horology in particular, these “exotic” motifs soon became quite popular. Toward the mid-18th century, many luxury clocks were created whose movements were supported on the backs of elephants, rhinoceroses and lions; they might also be surmounted by wading birds, monkeys, Indians, or winged putti. One elephant clock surmounted by a monkey that originally held an umbrella is in the Royal Spanish collection (see J. Ramon Colon de Carvajal, Catalogo de Relojes del Patrimonio nacional, Madrid, 1987, p. 23, catalogue n° 4). A second clock of the same model is in the collection of the Hessian princes in the Fasanerie Castle in Fulda (illustrated in the exhibition catalogue Gehäuse der Zeit, Uhren aus fünf Jahrhunderten im Besitz der Hessischen Hausstiftung, 2002, p. 59). One “rhinoceros” clock surmounted by a young Indian is illustrated in P. Kjellberg, Encyclopédie de la pendule française du Moyen Age au XXe siècle, Les éditions de l’Amateur, Paris, 1997, p. 129.

    The composition of the present clock, which was created by the bronze caster Jean-Joseph de Saint-Germain, became extremely popular among important 18th century Parisian collectors. Among the small number of identical clocks known today, some of whose bases contain musical movements, one clock, whose dial is signed “Moisy à Paris” and whose base is marked “St Germain”, was formerly displayed in the Caroll Gallery in Munich (see R. Mühe and Horand M. Vogel, Horloges anciennes, Manuel des horloges de table, des horloges murales et des pendules de parquet européennes, Fribourg, 1978, p. 107, n° 131, and H. Ottomeyer and P. Pröschel, Vergoldete Bronzen, Die Bronzearbeiten des Spätbarock und Klassizismus, Band I, Munich, 1986, p. 123, fig. 2.8.3). Two other examples were sold at auction – one, from the collection of Florence J. Gould, was sold at Sotheby’s Monaco on June 25, 1984, lot 715. The other, which had formerly belonged to Count François de Salverte, was offered on the Dijon art market in November 1997. Two further such clocks are in public collections in France and Belgium. The first of these, whose dial is signed “Viger à Paris”, was donated to the Treasure Room of the Tournai Cathedral by the Princes of Ligne (illustrated in P. Verlet, Les bronzes dorés français du XVIIIe siècle, Editions Picard, Paris, 1999, p. 192, fig. 219). The second, which is lacking its original dial, was purchased by the Imperial Garde-meuble in 1865 for Fontainebleau Castle (illustrated in Tardy, La pendule française, Ire Partie: de l’Horloge gothique à la Pendule Louis XV, 1967, p. 173). One further clock that was almost certainly identical, was estimated at 108 livres in the probate inventory of the Duchess de Brancas in 1784: “A cartel clock in the name of Jean-Baptiste Baillon with an elephant surmounted by a small Cupid”.

    Fol

    The signature “Fol à Paris” appears to be that of Jean Fol, one of the most famous clockmakers of the reign of Louis XV. He was active in Paris during the second third of the 18th century. While little is known about his career, some of his clocks were mentioned as belonging to important Parisian collectors as of the second half of the 18th century. Among these collectors were Antoine-Pierre Maussion de Montbré, Claude-Louis, Count of Saint-Germain, and Antoine-Louis Rouillé, Count de Jouy. During the late 1760s or the early part of the following decade, he appears to have entrusted the family workshop to his son, Jean II, known as “Fol the younger”, who was named Valet de Chambre-Horloger Ordinaire du Roi. In 1767, when the probate inventory of the widow of the powerful Count de Peyre was drawn up, two watches, one of which was signed “Fol père”, and the other “Fol fils”, were valued  in a notarial deed.



    Jean-Joseph de Saint-Germain (1719 - 1791)

    He was probably the most renowned Parisian of the mid 18th century. Active as of 1742, he did become a master craftsman until July 1748. He became famous for his many clock and cartel cases, such as his Diana the Huntress (an example is in the Louvre Museum), the clock supported by two Chinamen (a similar example is in the Musée des Arts décoratifs in Lyon), as well as several clocks based on animal themes, including elephant and rhinoceros clocks (an example in the Louvre Museum). In the early 1760’s he played an important role in the renewal of the French decorative arts and the development of the Neo-classical style, an important example of which may be seen in his Genius of Denmark clock, made for Frederic V and based on a model by Augustin Pajou (1765, in the Amalienborg Palace, Copenhagen). Saint-Germain also made several clocks inspired by the theme of Learning, or Study, based on a model by Louis-Félix de La Rue (examples in the Louvre Museum, the Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon, and the Metropolitan Museum in New York). Along with his clock cases, Saint-Germain also made bronze furniture mounts, such as fire dogs, wall lights, and candelabra. His entire body of work bears witness to his remarkable skills as a chaser and bronzeworker, as well as to his extraordinary creativity. He retired in 1776.



    In the same category
    Le Riche  -  Sèvres
    Josse-François-Joseph Le Riche (1741-circa 1812)
    Sèvres Royal Manufactory

    Exceptional Sèvres Bisque Porcelain Group

    “The Judgment of Sancho Panza, Governor of the Island of Barataria”

    APF_BISCUIT01_07

    After a Model by Josse-François-Joseph Le Riche

    Paris, second third of the 18th century, circa 1770-1780

    Height35.5 Width24.8 Depth21.5

    Bisque porcelain figures from the Sèvres Manufacture Royale are among the pieces most sought-after by collectors of antique porcelain and of art objects in general. By 1756 the factory had begun to produce unglazed porcelain pieces that were given just one firing. This new type of “bisque porcelain” became an immediate success with collectors of the period. Encouraged by this response, the Manufacture called on the best artists of the time to create new and novel pieces. Among them were the famous sculptors Etienne-Maurice Falconet, Louis-Simon Boizot and Josse-François-Joseph Le Riche, who supervised the workshops where the pieces were created and developed; all were of unusual and interesting design, and extremely well finished. The Sèvres factory hoped in this manner to set themselves apart from their main rival, the Meissen factory in Saxony, which produced polychrome pieces. Within just a few years Sèvres had surpassed Meissen in many areas, due in large part to these pristine white bisque statuettes and groups, whose satiny surfaces, reminiscent of statuary marble, perfectly rendered the delicate detailing of the sculpted models.

    The present group depicts a square terrace with simulated cobblestones, featuring an animated scene with several figures, both male and female. They have come to ask Sancho Panza, who is seated on a curule seat and is wearing a plumed hat, to render a judgment on their imaginary problems.

    Drawn from the satirical novel Don Quixote de la Mancha by Cervantes (1547-1616), this spectacular group is one of the Royal Manufactory’s most ambitious creations. It is inspired by a design by painter Charles-Antoine Coypel that was intended for a tapestry. In 1771 Le Riche adapted it for the Sèvres Manufactory, for use in a porcelain surtout de table. Comprised of three groups, it was called “A Spanish Surtout relating the Story of Don Quixote”. The present group was one of the side pieces; the two other groups represented  “Don Quixote Fighting the Puppets” and “Don Quixote and the Enchanted Head”.

    Very few examples of this ensemble have survived to the present day; one bisque group representing “Don Quixote and the Enchanted Head” is preserved in the Sèvres Musée national de Céramique (Inv. MNC20546); a bisque porcelain group and the original terra cotta model of the present subject are also in the collection of the Sèvres Museum; these pieces are illustrated respectively in M. Brunet and T. Préaud, Sèvres des origines à nos jours, 1978, p. 230, fig. 316 and E. Bourgeois, Le biscuit de Sèvres, Paris, 1909, Tome II, plate 37.

    Josse-François-Joseph Le Riche (1741 - circa 1812)

    Josse-François-Joseph Le Riche is a French sculptor of the 18th and early 19th centuries, he was the director of the sculpture studio at the Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory from 1780 to 1801.



    Sèvres Royal Manufactory

    The Vincennes porcelain factory was created in 1740 under the patronage of Louis XV and the Marquise of Pompadour. It was created to rival with the Meissen porcelain factory, and became its principal European rival. In 1756 it was transferred to Sèvres, becoming the Royal Sèvres porcelain factory. Still active today, during the course of its existence it has had several periods of extraordinary creativity and has called on the finest French and European artisans. Kings and emperors considered it an exemplary showcase for French know-how. Most of the pieces created in the manufactory workshops were intended to be given as diplomatic gifts or to decorate the castles and royal palaces of the 18th and 19th centuries.



    Le Riche  -  Sèvres
    Josse-François-Joseph Le Riche (1741-circa 1812)
    Sèvres Royal Manufactory

    Exceptional Sèvres Bisque Porcelain Group

    “Don Quixote Fighting the Puppets”

    APF_BISCUIT02_06

    After a Model by Josse-François-Joseph Le Riche

    Paris, second third of the 18th century, circa 1770-1780

    Height36 Width36 Depth33

    Bisque porcelain figures from the Royal Sèvres Manufactory are among the pieces most sought-after by collectors of antique porcelain and of art objects in general. By 1756 the factory had begun to produce unglazed porcelain pieces that were given just one firing. This new type of “bisque porcelain” became immediately popular with collectors of the period. Encouraged by this success, the Manufacture called on the best artists of the time to create new and novel pieces. Among them were the famous sculptors Etienne-Maurice Falconet, Louis-Simon Boizot and Josse-François-Joseph Le Riche, who supervised the workshops where the pieces were created and developed; all were of unusual and interesting design, and extremely well finished. The Sèvres factory hoped in this manner to set themselves apart from their main rival, the Meissen factory in Saxony, which produced polychrome pieces. Within just a few years Sèvres had surpassed Meissen in many areas, due in large part to these pristine white bisque statuettes and groups, whose satiny surfaces, reminiscent of statuary marble, perfectly rendered the delicate detailing of the sculpted models.

    The present group depicts an oval terrace where a battle is taking place: Don Quixote’s fight against Master Peter’s puppets. Human figures and animals display varying expressions and shades of emotion, in contrast with Don Quixote’s ardour as he destroys the puppet theatre and smashes the puppets with a hammer.

    Drawn from the satirical novel Don Quixote de la Mancha by Cervantes (1547-1616), this spectacular group is one of the Royal Manufactory’s most ambitious creations. It is inspired by a design by painter Charles-Antoine Coypel that was intended for a tapestry; in 1771 Le Riche adapted it for the Manufacture de Sèvres, for use as a porcelain surtout de table. Comprised of three groups, it was called “A Spanish Surtout relating the Story of Don Quixote”. The present group was the central one; on either side were groups representing “Don Quixote and the Enchanted Head” and “The Judgment of Sancho Panza, Governor of the Island of Barataria”.

    Very few examples of this ensemble have survived to the present day;  one bisque  group representing “Don Quixote and the Enchanted Head” is preserved in the Sèvres Musée national de Céramique (Inv. MNC20546); a bisque porcelain group and the original terra cotta model of the present subject is also in the collection of the Sèvres Museum; these pieces are illustrated respectively in M. Brunet and T. Préaud, Sèvres des origines à nos jours, 1978, p. 230, fig. 316 and E. Bourgeois, Le biscuit de Sèvres, Paris, 1909, Tome II, plate 37.

    Josse-François-Joseph Le Riche (1741 - circa 1812)

    Josse-François-Joseph Le Riche is a French sculptor of the 18th and early 19th centuries, he was the director of the sculpture studio at the Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory from 1780 to 1801.



    Sèvres Royal Manufactory

    The Vincennes porcelain factory was created in 1740 under the patronage of Louis XV and the Marquise of Pompadour. It was created to rival with the Meissen porcelain factory, and became its principal European rival. In 1756 it was transferred to Sèvres, becoming the Royal Sèvres porcelain factory. Still active today, during the course of its existence it has had several periods of extraordinary creativity and has called on the finest French and European artisans. Kings and emperors considered it an exemplary showcase for French know-how. Most of the pieces created in the manufactory workshops were intended to be given as diplomatic gifts or to decorate the castles and royal palaces of the 18th and 19th centuries.



    Rare Pair of Gilt Bronze Rococo Candlesticks with Matte and Burnished Finishing

    Bougeoirs010-03_HD_WEB

    Paris, Louis XV period, mid-18th century, circa 1750

    Height27.5 Diamètre15.5

    The candlesticks are made of finely chased, engraved, and gilt bronze with matte and burnished finishing, and present a rococo design that is characteristic of the finest Parisian creations of the mid-18th century. The curved stems, adorned with a pattern of leaves and C-scrolls, are further embellished with palmettes and engraved leaves and fruits. They rest on molded knops and support nozzles and drip pans decorated with leaves and sinuous reserves. The bell-shaped bases feature wide reserves with matted frames; they are decorated with festoon and tassel motifs, as well as designs of ribbon-tied reeds and acanthus leaves terminating in volutes, framed by stylized shells.

    The rococo design of the present rare and remarkable pair of candlesticks was inspired by the designs of contemporary goldsmiths, as well as by the work of Parisian designers of the first half of the 18th century. The accentuation of the motifs’ sinuous nature, the general tendency toward asymmetry displayed by the bronzier and no doubt appreciated by the person who commissioned the candlesticks, the exceptional quality of the chasing, engraving, and gilding, are all ornamental, decorative, and technical characteristics favored by the important designers of the early years of the reign of Louis XV. One of the most influential of these, Juste-Aurèle Meissonnier (1693-1750), was the creator of a design for candlesticks that is considered archetypical; the quintessence of the rococo spirit favored by the Parisian artists, artisans and influential collectors of the late Regency period when the Duke d’Orléans ruled the kingdom (see H. Ottomeyer and P. Pröschel, Vergoldete Bronzen, Die Bronzearbeiten des Spätbarock und Klassizismus, Band I, Munich, 1986, p. 104, fig. 2.1.5).

    The present pair of candlesticks was thus created in that particular context. Their design, nevertheless, presents a sober manner, with precisely chased motifs and a more balanced general composition, suggesting they are posterior to Meissonnier’s design, perhaps by several decades. Today, only a small number of similar models are known. Among them are rococo candlesticks that may be dated to the 1730s, including one example that is in the Louvre Museum in Paris (illustrated in G. Mabille, Le style Louis XV, Editions Baschet et Cie, Paris, 1978, p. 173, fig. 7). A second example, formerly in the David-Weill collection, is illustrated in G. Henriot, Le luminaire de la Renaissance au XIXe siècle, Paris, 1933, plate 161, n° 5. Several models from the mid-18th century are comparable to the present candlestick: one example is illustrated in Collection Connaissance des Arts, Le Dix-Huitième Siècle français, Hachette, 1956, p. 129; a second one, bearing the crowned C-stamp (1745-1749) was in the Château de Versailles during the 19th century; it is now in the Louvre Museum in Paris (see D. Alcouffe, A. Dion-Tenenbaum and G. Mabille, Les bronzes d’ameublement du Louvre, Editions Faton, Dijon, 2004, p. 58, catalogue n° 22).

    Caffieri
    Philippe Caffieri (1714-1774)

    Important Pair of Finely Chased, Pierced, and Gilt Bronze Rococo Three-Branch Wall Lights

    Appliques014-01_BD_MAIL

    Attributed to Philippe Caffieri

    Paris, Louis XV period, circa 1755

    Height68 Width41 Depth21

    Made entirely of finely chased, pierced, and gilt bronze, each wall light features a rococo composition with a sinuous stem that is adorned with C-scrolls, volutes, flowers and foliage, which issues the three curved light branches that emerge from leafy bouquets and are decorated with scrolls, seeds, and egg-and-dart motifs. They support drip pans formed of spread petals that contain the nozzles made of leaves with reserves.

    This important pair of wall lights, designed in the purest rococo style of the mid-18th century in Paris, stands out due to its balanced and harmonious composition and the exceptional quality of its chasing and gilding, which demonstrate the remarkable technical mastery of the bronze caster who created the model. We attribute them to the early years of Philippe Caffieri’s career, to around the time he took over his father’s workshop in 1755.

    Today, only a few comparable examples are known, some of which have been attributed to Philippe Caffieri. Among them, two pairs of wall lights in the Quirinal Palace in Rome (illustrated in A. Gonzalez-Palacios, Il Patrimonio artistico del Quirinale, Gli Arredi Francesi, Milan, 1996, p. 245, catalogue n° 54). A second pair is in the Musée du Château de Fontainebleau (see J-P. Samoyault, Musée national du Château de Fontainebleau, Catalogue des collections de mobilier, 1. Pendules et bronzes d’ameublement entrés sous le Premier Empire, RMN, Paris, 1989, p. 123). A fourth example is in the National Museum of Stockholm (illustrated in H. Ottomeyer and P. Pröschel, Vergoldete Bronzen, Die Bronzearbeiten des Spätbarock und Klassizismus, Band I, Munich, 1986, p. 141, fig. 2.11.13). A fifth pair is in the Musée Jacquemart-André in Paris (illustrated in G. Mabille, Le style Louis XV, Paris, 1978, p. 172, fig. 4). One further pair of similar wall lights, formerly in the collection of Dr Fritz Mannheimer, is in the Rijkmuseum in Amsterdam (see R. Baarsen, Paris 1650-1900, Decorative Arts in the Rijksmuseum, 2013, p. 144-145, catalogue n° 31).

    Philippe Caffieri (1714 - 1774)

    Philippe Caffieri was no doubt the most important Parisian bronze caster of the late 18th century. The brother of sculptor Jean-Jacques Caffieri (1725-1792) and the son of Jacques Caffieri (1678-1755), “Sculpteur et ciseleur ordinaire du Roi”, in 1747 he went into partnership with his father. He became a master sculptor in January 1754 and a member of the Académie de Saint-Luc.

    Upon the death of his father the following year, he took over the family workshop in the rue Princesse, purchasing his brother’s share of the workshop’s rococo models. Several months later, as a master’s son, he became a master caster “en terre et sable”. Initially he continued in the rococo style his father had favored, but later developed new models in the neoclassical style. He worked on the first example of an antique-inspired piece of furniture that was commissioned by the wealthy financier Ange-Laurent Lalive de Jully. Throughout his career, Philippe Caffieri worked for the most important Parisian collectors of the time.



    In the same category
    Lepaute  -  Petit
    Jean-André Lepaute (1720-1789)
    Nicolas Petit (1732-1791)

    Important Regulator with Sectorial Equation of Time, with a Waisted Floral Marquetry Case

    APF_Régulateur014_03_retouche_BD_MAIL

    Lepaute

    Case Attributed to Nicolas Petit

    Paris, late Louis XV period, circa 1765

    Height215 Width63 Depth24

    The engraved annular gilt brass dial is signed “Lepaute”; it indicates the Roman numeral hours, the Arabic five-minute intervals, and the seconds by means of three polished and blued steel hands; the annual calendar appears in an aperture. A second guilloche brass dial indicates the equation of time; that is, the difference between solar time (true time) and terrestrial time (mean time). The movement is housed in a waisted case adorned with branches, bouquets of flowers and leaves in colored wood against an amaranth ground, within a satinwood frame. The case rests on a quadrangular base and plinth veneered in kingwood. The façade features a door that reveals the gridiron pendulum. The whole is richly decorated with finely chased gilt bronze mounts. The clock is surmounted by leaf-decorated C-scrolls surmounted by a finial. The case is adorned with a double acanthus leaf motif centered by a mask of Diana crowned by a crescent moon. A glazed circular aperture in the façade is framed by a double C-scroll with volutes and scrolling. It is surmounted by a trophy with the attributes of Geography: a square, a compass, a telescope and a terrestrial globe on a stand. Two wide acanthus leaf scrolls adorn the trapezoidal plinth with curved molding.

    The present regulator’s unusual design is an example of the collaboration between several of the finest Parisian artisans, the Lepautes, clockmakers, and the cabinetmaker Nicolas Petit, to whom we attribute the case of the present clock. Petit is one of the most extraordinary cabinetmakers of the second half of the 18th century. At the time, most Parisian furniture makers produced only “ordinary” pieces such as writing desks, bookcases, tables, pedestal tables, wardrobes and chests of drawers. The work of Nicolas Petit demonstrates his great talent in marquetry. Alongside his ordinary production, the cabinetmaker also created regulator cases for movements and dials made by the great clockmakers of the time. He became an expert in waisted, lyre form and neoclassical cases, attaining such a degree of perfection that within just a few years he became the principal collaborator of the most important Parisian clockmakers of the day, especially the Lepaute.

    The present example is characteristic of the early years of the decades-long collaboration between these artisans. Its elegant shape, the quality of the veneers – which were carefully chosen by the cabinetmaker – and the perfection of the horological mechanism, make it one of the finest examples of the early years of the collaboration between Lepaute and Petit. Today, we know of only a few similar regulators that are stamped with the cabinetmaker’s name or attributed to him; they feature differences in the marquetry and the treatment of the gilt bronze mounts. Among these, three models with latticework marquetry must be mentioned: the first, with a dial signed Ferdinand Berthoud, is in the Tieger collection in Milan (see the exhibition catalogue Ferdinand Berthoud 1727-1807, Horloger mécanicien du Roi et de la Marine, Musée international d’Horlogerie, La Chaux-de-Fonds, 1984, p. 248, fig. 121). The second, stamped Petit, is illustrated in P. Siguret, Le style Louis XV, Fribourg, 1965, p. 122. The third is in the Hungarian Museum of Decorative Arts in Budapest (illustrated in H. Szabolcsi, Meubles français en Hongrie, 1964, fig. 19). Two further models are in veneered wood: the first, in rosewood and amaranth wood, is shown in P. Kjellberg, Encyclopédie de la pendule française du Moyen Age à nos jours, Les éditions de l’Amateur, Paris, 1997, p. 303; the second, whose enamel dial is signed “Lepaute”, was studied in a monograph devoted to Petit (see A. Droguet, Nicolas Petit 1732-1791, Les éditions de l’Amateur, Paris, 2001, p. 69). One further piece, with elaborate floral marquetry against a rosewood ground, is illustrated in P. Heuer and K. Maurice, European Pendulum Clocks, Decorative Instruments of Measuring Time, Schiffer Publishing, 1988, p. 107, fig. 191.

    Jean-André Lepaute (1720 - 1789)

    This is the signature of the brothers Jean-André Lepaute (1720-1789) and Jean-Baptiste Lepaute (1727-1802), remarkable clockmakers born in Thonne-la-Long in Lorraine who were both horlogers du Roi.

    Jean-André came to Paris as a young man and was joined by his brother in 1747. The Lepaute enterprise, founded informally in 1750, was formally incorporated in 1758. Jean-André, who was received as a maître by the corporation des horlogers in 1759, was lodged first in the Palais du Luxembourg and then, in 1756, in the Galeries du Louvre. Jean-André Lepaute wrote a horological treatise (Traité d’Horlogerie), published in Paris in 1755. Another volume, entitled Description de plusieurs ouvrages d’horlogerie (A Description of several horological pieces) appeared in 1764. In 1748 he married the mathematician and astronomer Nicole-Reine Etable de la Brière, who among other things predicted the return of Halley’s Comet.

    Jean-Baptiste Lepaute, received maître in December 1776, was known for the equation of time clock he constructed for the Paris Hôtel de Ville (1780, destroyed in the fire of 1871) and the clock of the Hôtel des Invalides.

    The two brothers worked for the French Garde-Meuble de la Couronne; their clocks were appreciated by the most important connoisseurs of the time, both in France and abroad, such as the Prince Charles de Lorraine and the Queen Louise-Ulrika of Sweden.

    Jean-Baptiste took over the workshop when Jean-André retired in 1775.



    Nicolas Petit (1732 - 1791)

    Nicolas Petit is one of the most important Parisian furniture makers of the second half of the 18th century. After becoming a master in January 1761, he opened a workshop at the sign of  “The Name of Jesus” in the Faubourg Saint-Antoine quarter. He quickly gained renown. Over the course of approximately thirty years, he made many pieces of furniture, always attempting to follow changing tastes and fashions and to satisfy his clientele, which included members of the aristocracy and well-known collectors, such as President Tascher and the Duke d’Orléans, the Duke d’Harcourt and the Duke de Bouillon. Today, his furniture is in public collections around the world, including the Musée des Arts décoratifs in Lyon, the Musée Lorrain in Nancy, the Musée des Arts décoratifs, the Musée des Arts et Métiers and the Musée Carnavalet in Paris, the Musée Lambinet in Versailles, the Wallace Collection in London, the James de Rothschild collection in Waddesdon Manor and the Musée Calouste Gulbenkian in Lisbon.



    In the same category
    Le Roy  -  Cressent
    Julien II Le Roy (1686-1759)
    Charles Cressent (1685-1768)

    Exceptional Gilt Bronze and Amaranth Veneer Long-Case Regulator with Manual Equation of Time

    APF_Régulateur010_08

    Case by Charles Cressent

    Paris, Louis XV period, circa 1750

    Height221.5 Width57.5 Depth24

    The round gilt copper or brass dial bears a cartouche with the engraved signature “Julien Le Roy A.D de la Société des Arts” (meaning “Ancien Directeur”, or Former Director of the Société des Arts). It is set against a latticework background centred with flowers or four-leaf clovers. The Roman numeral hours and Arabic numeral minutes and seconds are indicated by means of three polished steel hands. The equation of time is indicated manually along an outer circle; the date can be adjusted by means of a peripheral pinion. The endless rope weight-driven movement, also signed “Julien Le Roy à Paris”, strikes the hours and half-hours. The striking, with spring and count wheel, is activated by a pinion.

    The waisted case features amaranth wood parquetry veneering, with inlaid brass strips that highlight the case’s curves. Two doors give access to the case’s interior. The quadrangular plinth is raised upon four ebony or blackened wood ball feet.

    The clock is elaborately decorated with finely chased rococo and allegorical gilt bronze mounts and is surmounted by a three-dimensional figure of Father Time. The winged and draped figure is leaning forward and holding a sickle in his right hand. He is placed above a curved capital adorned with a mask that is framed by stylised motifs and scrolling. The bezel is chased with an interlacing flower frieze with an intricately chased frame. The dial is flanked on either side by scrolling acanthus leaves and seeds. The upper portion of the clock rests upon a quadrangular entablature whose corners are highlighted by matted and polished gilt bronze spandrels. Below, an egg and dart frieze is centred by a wide scroll and leaf motif, beneath which there is a magnificent female Chinoiserie mask adorned with a bow of fluted ribbons and lateral foliate scrolling. The decoration of the central portion of the case, featuring a glazed pelta-shaped viewing aperture, includes shells, scrolls, and bunches of grapes. Two small leaf motifs adorn the base.

    While neither signed nor stamped, this important regulator may be confidently attributed to Charles Cressent. Its overall design, the woods used for its veneering, its remarkable chased and gilt bronze mounts, as well as the signature of the clockmaker Julien II Le Roy, all support the attribution. Le Roy’s signature appears on no fewer than six of the approximately fifteen known regulators with cases made by Cressent. Alexandre Pradère, who has made an in-depth study of Cressent’s career, notes that in along with traditional types of furniture such as commodes, bureaux plats, bookcases, encoignures, armoires, and medal cabinets, Cressent – like his fellow cabinetmaker André-Charles Boulle (1642-1732) – also made bronze furnishings and sculptures, generally on commission for important collectors. These pieces demonstrate his extraordinary creativity and the extraordinary quality of his bronze casting. The fact that Cressent, flouting the rules of the bronze casters’ guild, continued to produce his own bronze mounts in his workshop, led to conflicts with the guild. The guild, whose stringent rules dated from the era of the former Paris corporations, jealously protected its members’ rights. By producing his own mounts, Cressent was able to exercise total control over his work. This defining feature, no doubt facilitated by the support of his very powerful clients including the Regent, makes his aesthetic and ornamental style immediately identifiable – so much so that Cressent’s work virtually requires no signature.

    Cressent applied the same decorative principles to his clock cases, favouring parquetry veneering enhanced by remarkably chased gilt bronze or varnished bronze mounts. His skilful use – particularly in his clock, cartel, and regulator cases – of the new decorative style that had become popular during the late Louis XIV period greatly contributed to his popularity and  renown in the final decades of Louis XV’s reign. Cressent produced three different types of waisted regulator cases with wood veneers – generally amaranth and bois satiné (bloodwood) – that were adorned with magnificent bronze mounts. Today approximately fifteen similar clocks are known to exist, all of which are in important international collections, both public and private. The first type features two Boreas heads under the dial, and is surmounted by the sculpted figure of Father Time. Two such examples are in the Royal British Collection (illustrated in C. Jagger, Royal Clocks, The British Monarchy & its Timekeepers 1300-1900, London, 1983, p. 126, figs.169-170). A third clock is in the Louvre Museum in Paris (illustrated in D. Alcouffe, A. Dion-Tenenbaum and A. Lefébure, Le mobilier du Musée du Louvre, Tome 1, Editions Faton, Dijon, 1993, p. 124, catalogue n° 38). Another such clock was offered at auction in Paris in February 1761, in the sale of the collection of Marcellin-François de Selle, the influential Treasurer-General of the French Marine, who was also a great admirer of Cressent’s work: “A seconds clock by Ferdinand Berthoud, very highly regarded by connoisseurs; it indicates the equations automatically : seconds and minutes, within a small space ; the case, which is 6 and a half feet tall, is adorned with gilt bronze mounts made by Mr. Cressent. Above the case housing the movement there is a winged figure representing Time, who wields a sickle. This figure, which is sculpted in the round, is very finely executed and extremely beautiful; two applied masks depicting the winds are placed beneath the dial: this regulator would not appear out of place in even the most elegant rooms.”

    The second type of clock also features two Boreas masks, but they are surmounted by a sunray motif that appears to emerge from the chaos. One example of this model, a regulator whose dial is signed  “Jean-Baptiste Baillon”, was formerly in the collection of Marcel Bissey (Sold in Paris, Hôtel Drouot, Me Binoche, November 6, 1991, lot 14). A second example, with a dial signed “Julien Le Roy de la Société des Arts”, was formerly in the Lopez-Terragoya collection (illustrated in A. Pradère, op.cit., p. 304, catalogue n° 263). A variation of this second type of clock featured a smaller case decorated with the palmette motif that Cressent favoured and often used in his cartel clocks. One example of this type of clock, formerly in the Chateau d’Ermenonville, is today in the Musée des Arts décoratifs in Lyon (see the exhibition catalogue Ô Temps ! Suspends ton vol, Lyon, 2008, p. 55-56, catalogue n° 13).

    A third type of regulator (to which the present example belongs) features what is no doubt the finest and most harmonious design. Examples of this type include a clock that formerly belonged to Richard Wallace; this clock was photographed in 1912, in the Grande Galerie of his mansion in the rue Laffitte (see P. Hugues, The Wallace Collection, Catalogue of Furniture, III, London, 1996, p. 1555). A second clock, bearing the stamp of Pierre Migeon (probably a restorer), is today in a private collection (illustrated in Sophie Mouquin, Pierre IV Migeon 1696-1758, Au cœur d’une dynastie d’ébénistes parisiens, Les éditions de l’amateur, Paris, 2001, p. 118). The present regulator appears to be the only one that is equipped with the ingenious manual equation of time indication, which may represent the practical application of an invention presented by Pierre II Le Roy (the brother of Julien II Le Roy), to the Academy of Sciences in 1728.

    Julien II Le Roy (1686 - 1759)

    Born in Tours, he trained under his father Pierre Le Roy; by the age of thirteen had already made his own clock. In 1699 Julien Le Roy went to Paris where he served his apprenticeship under Le Bon. Received as a maître-horloger in 1713, he later became a juré of his guild; he was also juré of the Société des Arts from 1735 to 1737. In 1739 he was made Horloger Ordinaire du Roi to Louis XV. He was given lodgings in the Louvre but did not occupy them, instead giving them to his son Pierre (1717-85) while continuing to operate his own business from rue de Harlay. Le Roy made important innovations, including the improvement of monumental clocks indicating both mean and true time. Le Roy researched equation movements and advanced pull repeat mechanisms. He adopted George Graham’s cylinder, allowing the construction of thinner watches. He chose his clock cases from the finest makers, including the Caffieris, André-Charles Boulle, Jean-Joseph de Saint-Germain, Robert Osmond, Balthazar Lieutaud, Antoine Foullet and others; his dials were often made by Antoine-Nicolas Martinière, Nicolas Jullien and possibly Elie Barbezat. Le Roy significantly raised the standards of Parisian clockmaking. After he befriended British clockmakers Henry Sully and William Blakey, several excellent English and Dutch makers were introduced into Parisian workshops.

    Julien Le Roy’s work can be found among the world’s greatest collections including the Musées du Louvre, Cognacq-Jay, Jacquemart-André and the Petit Palais in Paris. Other examples are housed in the Château de Versailles, the Victoria and Albert Museum and Guildhall in London, Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire, the Musée d’Horlogerie in La Chaux-de-Fonds, the Museum der Zeitmessung Bayer, Zurich, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, the Musées Royaux d’Art et d’Histoire in Brussels, the Museum für Kunsthandwerck, Dresden, the National Museum in Stockholm, the Musea Nacional de Arte Antigua, Lisbon, the J. P. Getty Museum in California; the Walters Art Gallery in Baltimore and the Detroit Institute of Art.



    Charles Cressent (1685 - 1768)

    Charles Cressent is one of the most important Parisian cabinetmakers of the 18th century, and probably the most famous furniture maker working in the Regence style, which inspired his furniture and sculpture throughout his career. The son of a sculptor to the king, he studied sculpture in Amiens, where his grandfather resided – his grandfather was himself a sculptor and furniture maker. He initially trained as a sculptor and became a member of the Académie de Saint Luc in 1714, presenting a piece in that category. He then settled in Paris and began to work for several of his colleagues, and married the widow of cabinetmaker Joseph Poitou, formerly the cabinetmaker to Duke Philippe d’Orléans, then the Regent. By dint of this marriage, he became head of the workshop and continued its activities so successfully that he, in turn, became the official supplier to the Regent, and upon the Regent’s death in 1723, his son Louis d’Orléans continued to give commissions, thus insuring Cressent’s continued prosperity during those years. His fame quickly spread beyond the kingdom’s frontiers, as several European princes and kings commissioned pieces from Cressent, among them King John V of Portugal and Elector Charles Albert of Bavaria. In France, he had a private clientele that included members of the aristocracy such as the Duke de Richelieu and important collectors, such as the influential Treasurer General of the Navy Marcellin de Selle. Throughout his career, Cressent created his own bronze mounts that were cast in his workshop, which was against the rules of the bronze casters’ guild, as did André-Charles Boulle. This gave his work a great deal of homogeneity and highlighted his extraordinary talents as a sculptor.



    In the same category
    Baillon  -  Saint-Germain
    Jean-Baptiste III Albert Baillon (?-1772)
    Jean-Joseph de Saint-Germain (1719-1791)

    Exceptional Monumental Rococo Gilt Bronze Wall Cartel

    “The Chinese Astronomer”

    The “Prince de Soubise” Model

    Cartel042-04_BD_MAIL

    The Case Attributed to Jean-Joseph de Saint-Germain

    Paris, Louis XV period, circa 1745-1749

    Height108 Width60 Depth17.5

    Provenance:

    – May be the example described in February 1749 in the probate inventory of Hercule Mériadec de Rohan-Soubise, Duke de Rohan, Prince de Soubise: “In the en suite bedchamber of the salon where the said Prince de Rohan died, which also looks out onto the garden of the said hôtel de Soubize: An œil de boeuf clock by Jean-Baptiste Baillon in its case with a Chinese figure holding a sphere and two ormolu gilt bronze animals, 1000 livres”.

     

    The round gilt bronze dial, engraved with scrolls, flowers and lambrequins, has twenty-five white enamel cartouches that indicate the Roman numeral hours and the Arabic five-minute intervals, by means of two blued steel hands. In the centre is an enamel medallion signed “J. Baptiste Baillon”. The hour and half-hour striking movement is housed in a magnificent monumental rococo case that is made of finely chased gilt bronze. Surmounting the clock is the figure of a Chinaman dressed in Oriental style, and holding an armillary sphere. He is seated on a large rococo element featuring wave and shell motifs. To his right there is a dragon with an open mouth, undulating tail, and outstretched wings. The sides of the case are elaborately decorated with scrolls, flowering leafy branches, C-scrolls and pierced reserves with latticework centered with flowers and lined with burgundy-colored material. The lower portion is decorated with C-scrolls, interlace patterns centered by cabochons, sinuous reserves with matted grounds, palms, leafy branches, scrolls, sunflowers, and bat’s wings. In the center, a heron with outstretched wings looks upward; it holds a rock in the claws of its right foot.

    This exceptional cartel, made in the pure rococo spirit of the mid 1740s, is one of the most exceptional masterpieces of the luxury Parisian horology of the time. Its monumental size, the quality of its casting, the precision of its chasing, its perfectly mastered mercury gilding, and its rare and unusual Orientalist theme, which illustrates the extent of contemporary interest in the Extreme Orient, allow us to attribute the present clock to Jean-Joseph de Saint Germain, one of the finest Parisian bronze casters of the time. To the best of our knowledge, there is only one other extant identical cartel. Also signed by Jean-Baptiste III Baillon, it differs from the present clock only in its dial, which is entirely enameled and bears the crowned C stamp, allowing the model to be dated circa 1745-1749. It is in the collection of the Earl and Countess of Rosebery in Dalmeny House, West Lothian (illustrated in J-D. Augarde, Les ouvriers du Temps, La pendule à Paris de Louis XIV à Napoléon Ier, Antiquorum Editions, Genève, 1996, p. 31, fig. 13, and in J. Whitehead, The French Interior in the Eighteenth Century, London, 2009, p. 151).

    During the mid 18th century, either the present cartel or the identical example now in Dalmeny House, belonged to one of the most important collectors of the day, Hercule-Mériadec de Rohan-Soubise, Duke de Rohan, Prince de Soubise (1669-1749). After the prince’s death, an inventory of his collection was drawn up. It contained the following description: “In the en suite bedchamber of the salon where the said Prince de Rohan died, which also looks out onto the garden of the said hôtel de Soubize: An œil de boeuf clock by Jean-Baptiste Baillon in its case with a Chinese figure holding a sphere and two ormolu gilt bronze animals”. Estimated at the high price of 1000 livres, while the same inventory includes a pair of Boulle chests estimated at 900 livres, the cartel remained in the Hôtel de Soubise throughout the 18th century and was mentioned after the death of Charles de Rohan, Prince de Soubise (1715-1787), who had inherited the mansion and collections. The inventory of the prince’s bedchamber included: “A clock signed by Baptiste Baillon in its copper ormolu cartel 150 livres”. The significant difference between the 1749 and the 1787 estimates is no doubt due to a change in taste, as the neoclassical style became quite popular during the second half of the 18th century. Had the auctioneers described the dual with greater precision (rather than simply saying “the enamel dial” or “the copper dial with enamel hours”), it would be possible to determine which clock – the present example or the one in Dalmeny House – belonged to the Prince de Soubise.

    Jean-Baptiste III Albert Baillon (? - 1772)

    Was one of the most skilled and innovative clockmakers of his day. Baillon achieved almost unprecedented success to become, in the words of F.J. Britten, “the richest watchmaker in Europe”. One of the most important clockmakers of the 18th century, he was no doubt the most famous member of an important horological dynasty. His success was largely due to his ability to organise a vast and thriving private factory in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, which was unique in the history of 18th century horology.

    Managed from 1748-57 by Jean Jodin (1715-61) it remained in activity until 1765 when Baillon closed it. Renowned horologist Ferdinand Berthoud was impressed by its scale and the quality of the pieces produced; in 1753 he noted: (Baillon’s) “house is the finest and richest Clock Shop. Diamonds are used not only to decorate his Watches, but even Clocks. He has made some whose cases were small gold boxes, decorated with diamond flowers imitating nature. His house in Saint-Germain is a kind of factory. It is full of Workmen continually labouring for him…for he alone makes a large proportion of the Clocks and Watches [of Paris]”. He supplied the most illustrious clientele, not least the French and Spanish royal family, the Garde-Meuble de la Couronne as well as distinguished members of Court and the cream of Parisian society.

    Baillon’s father, Jean-Baptiste II (d. 1757) a Parisian maître and his grandfather, Jean-Baptiste I from Rouen were both clockmakers, as was his own son, Jean-Baptiste IV Baillon (1752 – c.1773). Baillon himself was received as a maître-horloger in 1727. In 1738 he secured his first important appointment as Valet de Chambre-Horloger Ordinaire de la Reine. Sometime before 1748 he was made Premier Valet de Chambre de la Reine and in 1770, Premier Valet de Chambre and Valet de Chambre-Horloger Ordinaire de la Dauphine Marie-Antoinette. By 1738 he was established, appropriately, in the Place Dauphine, and after 1751 in the rue Dauphine.

    Baillon used only the finest cases and dials. The latter were supplied by Antoine-Nicolas Martinière and Chaillou while his cases were supplied by Jean-Baptiste Osmond, Balthazar Lieutaud, the Caffiéris, Vandernasse, Edmé Roy and especially Jean-Joseph de Saint-Germain (1719-91).

    His success allowed Jean-Baptiste Baillon to amass a huge fortune, valued at the time of his death on April 8, 1772 at 384,000 livres. His collection of fine and decorative arts was auctioned on June 16, 1772, while his remaining stock, valued at 55,970 livres, was offered at sale on February 23, 1773. The sale included 126 finished watches, totalling 31,174 livres and 127 finished watch movements at 8,732 livres. His clocks, with a total value of 14,618 livres, included 86 clocks, 20 clock movements, seven marquetry clock cases, one porcelain clock case and eight bronze cases.

    Today one can admire Baillon’s work in some of the world’s most prestigious collections, including the Louvre, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, the Musée National des Techniques, the Petit Palais and the Jacquemart-André Museum in Paris; Versailles; the Musée Paul Dupuy in Toulouse; the Residenz Bamberg; the Neues Schloss in Bayreuth; the Museum für Kunsthandwerk, Frankfurt; the Residenz in Munich and the Schleissheim Castle. Further museums include the Royal Art and History Museum in Brussels; the Spanish Patrimonio Nacional; the Metropolitan Museum in New York; the Newark Museum; the Walters Art Gallery in Baltimore and Dalmeny House in South Queensferry.



    Jean-Joseph de Saint-Germain (1719 - 1791)

    He was probably the most renowned Parisian of the mid 18th century. Active as of 1742, he did become a master craftsman until July 1748. He became famous for his many clock and cartel cases, such as his Diana the Huntress (an example is in the Louvre Museum), the clock supported by two Chinamen (a similar example is in the Musée des Arts décoratifs in Lyon), as well as several clocks based on animal themes, including elephant and rhinoceros clocks (an example in the Louvre Museum). In the early 1760’s he played an important role in the renewal of the French decorative arts and the development of the Neo-classical style, an important example of which may be seen in his Genius of Denmark clock, made for Frederic V and based on a model by Augustin Pajou (1765, in the Amalienborg Palace, Copenhagen). Saint-Germain also made several clocks inspired by the theme of Learning, or Study, based on a model by Louis-Félix de La Rue (examples in the Louvre Museum, the Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon, and the Metropolitan Museum in New York). Along with his clock cases, Saint-Germain also made bronze furniture mounts, such as fire dogs, wall lights, and candelabra. His entire body of work bears witness to his remarkable skills as a chaser and bronzeworker, as well as to his extraordinary creativity. He retired in 1776.