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Époques: Other

  • Rare and Important Pair of Finely Chased Gilt Bronze Athenienne Incense Burners

    APF_Brules Parfum003_09

    Russia, Imperial period, probably Saint Petersburg, circa 1810

    Height56 cm Diamètre22 cm

    Made entirely of finely chased gilt bronze with matte and burnished finishing, the incense burners are in the form of Neoclassical atheniennes. The round bowls, whose lids are pierced with palmettes and leaf friezes, have flame finials and rest upon three monopode feet in the form of winged sphinxes; the sphinxes are coiffed with Egyptian headdresses and their torsos terminate in lions’ feet. Their scrolling serpentine tails are covered in finely chased snake scales and are adorned with butterfly wings. The tails are joined to classical amphoras whose bellies are decorated with mascarons, while their lower portions are decorated with water leaves and palmettes; they are supported on long stylized leaves that are set on circular pedestals; the lower portion, in the form of a tripod, terminates in lions’ paws that emerge from wide palm leaves centered by stylized palmettes. The shaped triangular bases have concave sides.

    The remarkable design of the present important pair of athenienne incense burners was inspired by a painting by Jean-Baptiste Vien, entitled “La vertueuse athénienne” in which a priestess is depicted burning incense in a tripod-from incense burner. The word “athenienne”, which first appeared in the title of that painting, was used in 1773 by the Parisian engraver Jean-Henri Eberts. The design was freely inspired by a classical model that was known as early as the 18th century, having been discovered during the archaeological excavation of the temple of Isis at Herculaneum. This type of tripod served as inspiration for the best Parisian and European bronze casters, during the 18th century and in the early decades of the following century. A pair of atheniennes, which is attributed to the Manfredini brothers and was strongly influenced by the classical model, is now in the Villa Masséna in Nice (see L. Mézin, La Villa Masséna du Premier Empire à la Belle Epoque, 2010, p. 85). A second pair, which was made in Paris during the Empire period, and is comparable to the present pair, is in the Paris Musée des Arts décoratifs (illustrated in the exhibition catalogue L’Aigle et Papillon, Symboles des pouvoirs sous Napoléon 1800-1815, O. Nouvel-Kammerer, “La Victoire au quotidien et les gardiens du régime”, Paris, Les Arts décoratifs, 2007, p. 195, catalogue n° 97).

    A pair of incense burners that are identical to the present pair, though they juxtapose patinated bronze and gilt bronze, are currently on the Swiss art market. Their remarkable design and the particular manner in which the bronze is fashioned, allows their attribution to a Russian bronze caster, who was probably active in Saint Petersburg during the early decades of the 19th century. A handwritten inventory allows us to ascertain their provenance. During the 19th century they were in the Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg, which was the residence of Maximilian, Duke of Leuchtenberg, who was the grandson of Empress Joséphine and the husband of Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna, daughter of Tsar Nicolas I. There is a watercolor by Eduard Petrovich Hau (1807-1887), today in the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, which is dated 1866 and depicts the palace’s Turquoise Salon. It places the incense burners in that room, in front of the large mirror in the back of the room (see E. Ducamp, Vues du palais d’Hiver à Saint Pétersbourg, 1994, p. 218).

    Sèvres Royal Manufactory

    Important Pair of Etruscan Style Vases with Neoclassical Gold and Platinum Motifs on a Blue Ground


    Royal Sèvres Porcelain Manufacture, Louis-Philippe period, dated 1841


    The oval vases have high necks, whose rim bears the mark of the Royal Sèvres Porcelain factory: a medallion centered by the royal monogram “LP” surmounted by a crown framed by the word “SEVRES” and the date “1841”. The vases are elaborately decorated with gold and silver classical motifs against a blue ground. The frieze décor features motifs such as flowers, scrolls, volutes, zigzags, palmettes, large rosettes within scrolls adorned with flowers, Greek key motifs punctuated by squares adorned with dots, waves, and branches of ivy. The vases are supported on round molded bases engraved “LP” on the underside – the mark of Louis-Marie Lapierre, known as Lapierre père (active in Sèvres 1813-1841), and the signature “B.F” – that of an unidentified gilder.

    These unusual vases, with their remarkable sober and perfectly balanced design – were created at the Royal Sèvres factory during the final years of the 18th century. The model continued to be produced for several decades, with varying motifs that reflected the changing taste of collectors and connoisseurs. Their extremely inventive classically influenced decorative motifs were inspired by the collection of antique Etruscan vases that Baron Vivant-Denon donated to the Sèvres Manufacture, which would, in turn, influence artists such as Antoine-Gabriel Willermet, the Manufacture’s head painter from 1825 to 1848, as can be seen in his preparatory sketches.

    Today, only a small number of pairs of Sèvres vases with similar shapes and motifs are known. Among them one pair, known as “étrusque Turpin”, was delivered in May 1843 to the Palais de Saint-Cloud and is today in the Musée national du Château de Fontainebleau (illustrated in B. Chevallier, Les Sèvres de Fontainebleau, Porcelaines, terres vernissées, émaux, vitraux (pièces entrées de 1804 à 1904), RMN, Paris, 1996, p. 117, catalogue n° 79). In 1852 a second pair, known as “étrusque carafe”, stood in the Grand Salon of the apartment of Emperor Napoleon III in Saint-Cloud (illustrated in B. Ducrot, Musée national du Château de Compiègne, Porcelaines et terres de Sèvres, RMN, Paris, 1993, p. 154, catalogue 100). A further similar vase is in the Chantilly Musée Condé (illustrated in M. Brunet and T. Préaud, Sèvres, Des origines à nos jours, Fribourg, 1978, p. 294, fig. 375).

    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.

    In the same category
    Ivan Hallberg (1778-1863)

    Exceptional Neoclassical Tazza in Rhodonite and Nephrite, with chased and gilt bronze mounts


    After a drawing by Ivan Hallberg

    Russia, mid 19th century, circa 1845-1855

    Height28 Diamètre12.7

    Provenance :

    – Ludwig Nobel (1831-1888)

    – Puis par descendance : Sotheby’s, Londres, le 12 juin 2008, lot 696.


    This Tazza, in the form of an antique athénienne tripod stand, is of an exceptionally complex and elegant design. Three Nephrite pilaster legs topped by capitals, with chased and gilt bronze moulding to their bases, are linked by a ring decorated with a Greek key frieze; adorned with rosettes, they stand on lion paw feet. They support an oval Rhodonite urn with egg and dart moulding that terminates in a gadrooned leaf finial. The round base is made of Rhodonite. The stonework is extremely well carved and polished.

    This exceptional objet d’art demonstrates the exceptional skill of the Russian artisans of the early 19th century, who produced extraordinary art objects using various motifs and materials. Its antique-inspired design is reminiscent of that of the bronze tripod stands discovered in the excavations of the ancient Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum near Naples as of the mid 18th century. Engravings illustrating these tripod stands were a great source of inspiration to European artists and artisans. The Russian lapidary who made this piece created its elegant design using blocks of two types of Russian hardstone, Rhodonite and Nephrite, carefully selected for their rarity and subtle colouring. The Russian stone quarries were fabulously rich; the Kolyvan quarry, in particular, yielded the stone used to produce hardstone objects destined to decorate the Russian Imperial palaces. Today many objects and decorative ensembles preserved in the former residences of the Tsars bear witness to this great opulence.

    This Tazza model was greatly appreciated by the important Russian collectors of the time, however before the mid 1850’s it was rarely produced with several types of marble or hardstone, nor did it tend to be offered in different sizes. One of the most unusual features of this Tazza is that the original preparatory drawing is recorded as having been registered by architect Ivan Hallberg on October 17, 1842. That drawing was to be used for a larger model in malachite, produced in the lapidary workshops of Ekaterinburg and fitted with its chased gilt bronze mounts by the Chopin foundry in Saint Petersburg. That particular malachite-veneered Tazza was delivered to the Winter Palace in 1845. It apparently pleased the Tsar, for another identical piece was ordered at once. That pair of Tazza later decorated the apartments of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna. Today, one of the pair is in the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg (illustrated in N. Mavrodina, The State Hermitage Museum, The Art of Russian Stone Carvers 18th-19th Centuries, The Catalogue of the Collection, Saint Petersburg, 2007, p. 251).

    Ivan Hallberg (1778 - 1863)

    Ivan Hallberg was an architect and ornamentist of the Tsar.

    In the same category

    Rare Pair of Two-Light Mahogany and Gilt Bronze Candelabra


    Probably Northern Europe, late 18th century

    Height47.5 Width32

    This pair of candelabra, made of molded mahogany and finely chased and engine-turned gilt bronze with matte and burnished finishing, features a tapering stem with a protruding ring that is adorned with beadwork and molding. It supports a vase with molded toruses that emerges from a bouquet of stylized leaves; to it are attached two hunting horns that are decorated with acorn finials, which in turn issue two sinuous light arms in the form of snakes, whose mouths support the leaf-decorated nozzles and drip pans adorned with leaf, cord, and cross-hatch friezes framed by plain bands. In the central portion between the light arms, supported by the central stem, is a gadrooned vase with applied serpent handles and a leaf bouquet at its base. The stems rest on round, molded bases with concave detailing, bead friezes, and leaf molding.

    The remarkable design of the present rare pair of candelabra and the exceptional quality of its gilding and chasing demonstrate the French influence on European decorative arts at the time. They display a perfect mastery of the techniques and material employed for their creation. During the second half of the 18th century, most of Europe’s important royal and princely courts considered Paris to be the uncontested capital of the arts. Artists and artisans from all over Europe came to the French capital to learn the techniques used and to immerse themselves in the new decorative movements that were launched by the great Parisian marchands-merciers and collectors. When they returned home, these artists and artisans, at the request of their clients – usually important collectors – produced work based on French models, while also preserving the decorative traditions of their own countries. These interactions resulted in some of the finest and most beautiful pieces in the European decorative arts. The present candelabra were made in that particular context. Their elaborate forms suggest they were made in Northern Europe, probably in Sweden. A pair of comparable large candlesticks in molded mahogany, with tapering, fluted stems and nozzles and drip pans made of gilt metal, are in the collection of the Hazelius house in Stockholm (illustrated in H. Groth, Châteaux en Suède, Intérieur et mobilier néo-classiques 1770-1850, London, 1990, p. 183).

    In the same category
    Victor Fleury (active circa 1860-1880)

    Very Rare and Exceptional Astronomical Regulator


    Paris, Napoleon III period, circa 1865-1867

    Height255 Width94.5 Depth43.5


    – Very likely exhibited at the 1867 Universal Exhibition in Paris (see Tardy, Dictionnaire des horlogers français, Paris, 1971, p. 230).


    This regulator, with nineteen dials featuring twenty-three indications, may be considered the masterpiece of Victor Fleury; it is one of the finest horological creations of the Second Empire. The main dial, in the center, is marked “Heure de Paris” (Paris time); it indicates the Roman numeral hours and the minute graduations along its outer border, by means of two blued steel Breguet hands. It features an annual calendar indication with the months appearing in an aperture, the date and the days of the week, and a subsidiary seconds dial in its lower portion. Below it is a shaped cartouche bearing the signature: “Régulateur composé par Victor Fleury”. Around this dial are arranged fifteen subsidiary dials; the uppermost dial shows the equation of time, with the phrase “différence du temps vrai au temps moyen”; ten other dials indicate the mean time in cities around the world: Constantinople, London, Geneva, New York, Saint Petersburg, Vienna, Los Angeles, Besançon, Rome and Jerusalem, with their longitudes, latitudes and time difference as compared to the Paris meridian. In the lower portion, two blue enamel dials with star motifs indicate the movement of the sun and the moon phases. They are flanked by two dials that indicate the time of sunrise and sunset in Roman numerals.

    The dials are set on a shaped gilt brass or gilt bronze plate that is elaborately decorated with C scrolls, garlands and flowers and leaf bouquets that follow the curved outline of the dial plate. The clock is surmounted by a rococo cartouche adorned with wave and acanthus leaf motifs, flanked by two allegorical figures depicting young children; one, who holds a flaming torch and appears to look straight at the beholder, symbolizes Day; the other, who is asleep and wrapped in a shawl, is an allegory of Night. The movement, with inverted Graham anchor escapement, has a compensation balance with three bimetallic rods, ending in a bob that contains a thermometer graduated with indications of the degrees of contraction and expansion of metals, indicating the “degrés du cercle” by means of a blued steel pointer. The neoclassical case is made of light-colored mahogany and mahogany veneer; it is glazed on three sides and it has a protruding molded cornice; its entablature is supported by brackets adorned with pastilles. The solid, sloping, molded base rests on a quadrangular plinth.

    This exceptional regulator, made during the Second Empire period, is an example of the degree of perfection attained by the period’s artisans. It hearkens back to the great creations of the finest Parisian artisans of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Its multiple-dial design is reminiscent of that of a long case regulator that belonged to War Minister Petiet, which was acquired by the Imperial Garde-meuble in 1806 and was installed in Napoleon’s apartments in Fontainebleau Castle (illustrated in 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. 84, catalogue n° 50). Its conception, featuring a main dial and radiating subsidiary dials, is quite similar to that of a long case clock with perpetual calendar, signed “Antide Janvier au Louvre 1800-1802”, which gave the time in various cities and far-off islands, and is today in the Musée national des Arts et Métiers in Paris (illustrated in M. Hayard, Antide Janvier 1751-1835, Horloger des étoiles, 1995, p. 146-147). The extraordinary quality and design of the finely chased and gilt bronze ornamentation adds to the clock’s magnificence. In particular, the two cherubs appear to have been inspired by an allegorical group with two putti that adorn a clock model created by the famous bronze caster Pierre-Philippe Thomire around 1840, two examples of which have been preserved in French public collections. The first of these is in the Paris Musée des Arts décoratifs (illustrated in Tardy, La pendule française, 2ème Partie: Du Louis XVI à nos jours, Paris, 1974, p. 455), while the second is on display at the Musée national du Château de Versailles et des Trianons (see P. Arizzoli-Clémentel and J-P. Samoyault, Le mobilier de Versailles, Chefs-d’œuvre du XIXe siècle, Editions Faton, Dijon, 2009, p. 416-417, catalogue n° 162).

    Victor Fleury (active circa 1860 - 1880)

    Victor Fleury is one of the most important Parisian clockmakers of the second half of the 19th century. He is recorded as working at 23, rue de la Paix in Paris. This clockmaker, cited as “Horloger de la Marine” on some of his creations, distinguished himself by his research and important contributions to the creation of a new type of escapement. The author of “Nouveaux principes sur le pendule appliqué à l’horlogerie…lettre aux horlogers, aux savants et aux amateurs de l’art”, published in Paris in 1865, Victor Fleury designed a particularly ingenious escapement that bears his name, making a half-seconds regulator whose escapement consisted in a small metal ball that moved freely within a small circular crystal basin only a few millimeters in diameter. Toward the end of his career he appears to have moved to the provinces: a gold box signed “Victor Fleury à Angers” that was sold at auction in Paris, bore the annotation “médailles aux grandes expositions jusqu’en 1867”.

    In the same category
    Constantin-Louis Detouche (1810-1889)

    Important Gilt Bronze Wall Regulator


    Paris, Second Empire period, dated 1851

    Height185 Width47 Depth29.5


    From a French private collection.


    A rare and important gilt bronze wall regulator by Louis-Constantin Detouche and Jacques-Francois Houdin, inscribed on the front plate under the dial: J F Houdin 1851 Exposition de Londres Jacques-Francois Houdin, also signed on a cartouche within the dial C Detouche Paris and numbered 9730. The regulator possesses the following horological complications: power reserve, date, day of the week, month and equation of time on a sector. The main gilt brass dial enclosed by a palmetted bezel, the chapter ring with twelve large circular white enamel cartouches with black Roman numerals for the hours, an outer white enamel minute ring to include twelve smaller circular cartouches with black Arabic numerals and an inner seconds ring (later, probably bakelite), showing at six o’clock a graduated sectorial dial for the power reserve inscribed HAUT/BAS, with winding hole at the centre, with blued steel Breguet hands for the hours and minutes and blued steel pointers for the seconds and power reserve.

    Below the main dial there is a secondary dial framed by a palmetted bezel with outer white enamel calendar ring showing the date of the month, the day of the week, and the month of the year with its duration (28, 30 or 31 days), centred by an annual rotating marker for the date on which is the mechanism for the equation of time, given on a white enamel sectorial dial with indications painted in black graduated from +15mn to -15mn and AVANCE/RETARD, with annual calendar and the equation kidney visible through the centre, all against a gold star-studded blue enamel ground, with Breguet hands and a blued steel counter-balanced hand for the mean time and gilt brass solar hand for the real time. The 15 day going steel and brass weight driven movement with recoil anchor escapement with micrometric regulator and remontoir d’égalité and a steel and gridiron compensating pendulum placed before an engraved false plate to protect it from interferences from the descent of the weight, the massive bob centred by a thermometer with a white enamel sectorial dial with blued steel hand measuring the condensation and dilatation of the metal rods, the pendulum suspended from the top of the case by a steel cable. The rectangular glazed gilt bronze case with stepped cornice and a pierced scrolled terminal.

    Exhibited at the 1851 Exhibition in London, this regulator was awarded a Prize Medal.

    In the Official catalogue of the Exhibition, it is described as follows:

    “A large regulator in a gilt brass case, with glass front and sides. It indicates the seconds and the equation of time, and has an index for the month and the day of the month. Its pendulum, which is at the same time a compensator by means of levers, was invented by one of the exhibitors. This regulator is exhibited for accuracy and workmanship”. (The Great Exhibition 1851, Report on Horological Instruments, 1851, p. 339).

    Constantin-Louis Detouche (1810 - 1889)

    Detouche, who was a recipient of the French Légion d’Honneur (1853) and the Danish Croix de l’ordre du Dannebrog, was official clockmaker to the city of Paris and the Emperor Napoleon III. His firm, probably the most important of its day in France, was immensely successful.

    At the Nimes exhibition of 1862, the firm was described as follows: “the House of Detouche de Paris, founded in 1803; its business has increased annually and now retails in France and abroad more than 3 million francs worth of goods. In this figure, horology, from precision items to those for domestic use represent more than 1,200,000 francs. M. Detouche has already received the most prestigious awards; I will just mention: the gold medal at the Exposition Universelle d’Horlogerie at Besançon in 1860, and the gold medal in London in 1862. He was awarded La Croix de la Légion d’Honneur for his contribution toward the progress in horology that resulted from his work, the Croix de Dannebrog was awarded to him by the King of Denmark for his electric clock. Such items deserve to be described in a few details. They present improvements worthy to be known and appreciated by every clockmaker who has benefited from M. Detouche’s work and true service… The jury noted secondly a rocaille style regulator in gilt bronze of a remarkable taste, measuring 1m, 90; … The turnstiles placed at the exhibition and considered indispensable in France and abroad are also the invention of M. Detouche. All of the items shown by this company are to be noted for their modest prices, their elegance, their rich ornamentation and precision, and their skilled workmanship. The jury awards to M. Detouche a diplôme d’honneur.” (“Revue Chronométrique, 8th year, vol. IV, June 1862 – June 1863, “Exposition de Nîmes”, Paris, 1862, pp. 605-609).

    In 1851, six years of Houdin’s joining the firm, Detouche exhibited at the Great Exhibition of London (the first universal exhibition), where they were categorised as “Chronometer makers, 158 and 160 rue St Martin, Paris” showing “Chronometers, large and small regulators, mathematical watchwork, watches etc”.

    In 1887, toward the end of his life, Detouche funded the publication of the third edition of the “Traité d’Horlogerie Modern Théorique et Pratique” by Claude Saunier (1816-1896), also known as the C. Detouche edition (944 pages, published in Paris, and the addendum (112 pages, also published Paris).

    Among Detouche and Houdin’s other prestigious creations, one should note two large astronomical regulators of differing designs, bearing numerous indications such as hours, minutes, seconds, days, months and their dates, sunrise and sunset time, the equation of time, moonrise and moonset, its phases along with its age, as well as the barometric and thermometric variations. On them the main dial is surrounded with fourteen subsidiary dials showing the time in fourteen cities across different latitudes. One of the two remained for a long time at the corner of rue Saint-Martin and rue de Rivoli and is now housed in the François-Paul Journe SA Manufacture, in Geneva.

    In the same category
    Ferdinand-Joseph Grandperrin

    Exceptional and Unique Regulator with Mica-Plaque Pendulum


    Paris, 1854-1855

    Height191 Width67 Depth59


    Shown at the 1855 Paris Universal Exhibition.


    The enamel dial, signed “Fn Grandperrin rue St Honoré 394 Paris”, has Roman numeral hours and a minutes graduation, with a blued steel central seconds hand. The finely chased and gilt bronze case is adorned with leaf friezes, scrolling foliage, and lateral scrolling with wide fluting; it is surmounted by a flower basket decorated with fluting and interlace motifs; the dial is framed by trailing flower garlands. The moulded ebony or blackened wood base is highlighted by gilt bronze beading and glazed panels revealing the pendulum, which features two enamel ring dials, the first of which bearing the thermometer indications and the second indicating the degree of expansion of the metals; it contains a mica plaque (mica is one of the components of granite). The regulator rests on four robust gilt bronze feet made up of scrolled acanthus leaves. The movement is of one-year duration.

    This spectacular regulator may be considered the masterpiece of clockmaker Grandperrin. In addition to the perfection of its mechanism, the sober and elegant design of its case and the exceptional quality of its chased and gilt bronze mounts, this regulator is interesting in that its pendulum is fitted with a mica plaque. This ingenious device was patented by Grandperrin on October 31, 1854, one year before the regulator was displayed at the Universal Exhibition (see the Catalogue des brevets d’invention pris du 1er janvier au 31 décembre 1854 dressé par ordre du Ministre de l’Agriculture, du Commerce et des Travaux Publics, Paris, 1855, p. 248: “The use of a substance in the fabrication of horological pendulums and suspensions”). At the Universal Exhibition, the innovation drew attention due to its lightness and because it increased the gridiron pendulum’s temperature compensation due to its resistance to expansion and contraction, thus allowing the pendulum to “bring the point of oscillation considerably closer to the centre of gravity” (see H. Boudin, Le Palais de l’Industrie universelle, ouvrage descriptif ou analytique des produits les plus remarquables de l’Exposition de 1855, Paris, p. 125). To the best of our knowledge the present regulator is the only piece featuring this technical innovation.

    Ferdinand-Joseph Grandperrin

    The son of Parisian horologist Nicolas-François Grandperrin and Anne-Antoinette-Victoire Lherminier, Ferdinand-Joseph Grandperrin took over his father’s business in the late 1830’s or early 1890’s, rapidly acquiring clients. Established at 394, rue Saint-Honoré, he became quite well known. In September 1842 he married Eléonore-Pauline Meugnot, probably the daughter of clockmaker Joseph-Julie-Alexandrine Meugnot, recorded in 1830 at the place de l’Oratoire. Grandperrin became famous for his innovative work, as well as for the perfection of his movements.

    In the same category
    Dubuisson  -  Locré
    Dubuisson (1731-1815)
    Locré Manufactory (1772-1824)

    Exceptional Celadon Green Porcelain and Matte and Burnished Gilt Bronze Lyre-Form Clock


    The dial signed and dated “Dubuisson 1818”

    Paris, first quarter of the 19th century, circa 1815-1820

    Height60 Width26.5 Depth15

    The round white enamel dial, adorned with a frieze of gold flowers and cabochons in the manner of Coteau, indicates the Roman numeral hours, the minute graduations and the date, by means of three hands, two of which are made of pierced and gilt bronze. It is dated “1818” and is signed “Dubuisson”, the mark of the workshop of Etienne Gobin, known as Dubuisson (1731-1815), whose widow continued to run the workshop after the enameler’s death. The movement is set in a magnificent finely chased matte and burnished gilt bronze lyre-form case with celadon green porcelain mounts made by the Locré factory. The bezel, decorated with a frieze of leaves and seeds, is framed by a ring of brilliant-cut rhinestones. The sides of the lyre are embellished with bands chased with ribbons and beads and adorned with laurel branches emerging from sun motifs. The upper portion, to which the bimetallic pendulum is attached, is decorated with spiral rosettes, flower and leaf garlands, and a sun mask symbolizing Apollo, the sun god. The oval base is adorned with spiral bands and an egg-and-dart frieze, and is embellished with suspended flower swags. The clock is raised upon four flattened ball feet.

    The “lyre” clock model was produced in porcelain by the Royal Sèvres porcelain factory as of the mid-1780s. It was generally made in one of four colors: turquoise, green, pink, and a blue known as bleu nouveau. These extraordinary clocks were made for the most important collectors of the time; in his Salon des jeux in Versailles King Louis XVI had a blue porcelain lyre clock whose dial was signed by the clockmaker Courieult (almost certainly the example illustrated in P. Verlet, Les bronzes dorés français du XVIIIe siècle, Paris, 1999, p. 41). However, it was the clockmaker Kinable, the largest purchaser of this type of clock cases from the factory, who developed the model toward the end of Louis XVI’s reign. He signed the dial of a rare turquoise porcelain clock that is illustrated in P. Kjellberg, Encyclopédie de la pendule française du Moyen Age au XXe siècle, Paris, 1997, p. 230, fig. A. To the best of our knowledge, only one other green porcelain lyre clock is known; produced by the Sèvres factory, it is today in the Musée François Duesberg in Mons (illustrated in Musée François Duesberg, Arts décoratifs 1775-1825, Brussels, 2004, p. 25).

    The present clock presents unique features. It was made during the first quarter of the 19th century, not by the Sèvres porcelain factory, but by the Locré factory, which at the time was called  “Pouyat et Russinger”, and was one of the most important Parisian manufactories of the early 19th century. Located in the rue Fontaine-au-Roi, the factory had been founded in the early 1770s by Jean-Baptiste Locré. Several years later, Locré went into partnership with Laurent Russinger, who ran the manufactory until the late 18th century. Around 1800, the Limoges merchant François Pouyat became Russinger’s partner and became responsible for running the company. Pouyat greatly increased the factory’s activities until 1810, then sold it to his three sons, who continued production, with great success, until the Restoration. The Pouyat et Russinger factory specialized in common but high quality articles, mainly tableware and decorative pieces. At the same time, it produced works on commission – these were very high quality luxury items including several vases with grisaille decoration, such as a pair of oval vases that were formerly in the collection of Michel Bloit and are today in the Musée Adrien Dubouché in Limoges (see R. de Plinval de Guillebon, Faïence et porcelaine de Paris XVIIIe-XIXe siècles, Editions Faton, Dijon, 1995, p. 403, fig. 395) and the present lyre clock, which appears to be the only example made by the Locré Manufacture, along the lines of the model produced by the Sèvres porcelain factory.

    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.

    Locré Manufactory (1772 - 1824)

    The Locré Manufactory (active 1772-1824) is one of the most important Parisian factories of the last third of the 18th century and the final decades of the following century. Located in the rue Fontaine-au-Roi in Paris, the factory was founded in the early 1770s by Jean-Baptiste Locré. Several years later Locré went into partnership with Laurent Russinger, a porcelain maker and a sculptor, who became the director of the factory until the late 18th century. The factory, which soon became known for the exceptional quality and originality of his work, was one of the main rivals of the Royal Sèvres Manufactory.

    In the same category