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Époques: Transition

  • Gille l’Ainé  -  Saint-Germain
    Pierre II Gille
    Jean-Joseph de Saint-Germain (1719-1791)

    Rare Gilt Bronze Neoclassical Mantel Clock with Matte and Burnished Finishing

    Urania” or “Allegory of Astronomy”

    Pendule434-02_HD_PRESSE

    Pierre II Gille, known as “Gille l’Aîné” (1723-1784)

    The model attributed to the bronze caster Jean-Joseph de Saint-Germain and probably made for cabinetmaker Antoine Foullet (d. in 1775)

    Paris, Transition period between Louis XV-Louis XVI, circa 1765

    Height33.5 cm Width38 cm Depth17.5 cm

    The round white enamel dial, signed “Gille l’aîné à Paris”, indicates the Roman numeral hours and Arabic numeral five-minute intervals by means of two pierced gilt bronze hands. The hour and half hour-striking movement is housed in a drum case that rests on a quadrangular gilt bronze base that is decorated with a wave frieze. An allegorical female figure is seated to the side. She is lightly clad in a toga, her hair is coiffed in a bun, and in her left hand she holds a loop of the bow that surmounts the clock while in the other hand she is holding a telescope. At her feet lie a starry globe, a set square, a compass and a rolled parchment, all accessories required for the study of Astronomy. The quadrangular base with shaped border is decorated with a curved band with C-scrolls and reserves on a matted ground that is adorned with rosettes.

    Although it bears no signature, this magnificent mantel clock was made in the early 1760s by the bronze caster Jean-Joseph de Saint-Germain. Saint-Germain created the model for the cabinetmaker Antoine Foullet, who could not be directly involved in the making of bronze pieces due to the strict rules that governed the guilds of Parisian artisans at the time. However, though he could not produce bronze pieces, he could sell them. The present model, of which only a small number of examples were produced, was extremely successful among influential Parisian connoisseurs of fine and luxury horology at the time.

     

    Today only a few similar clocks are known; their designs feature certain variations. Among them, one example, whose dial is by Delaruelle and whose bronze mounts are signed Saint-Germain, is illustrated in J-D. Augarde, Les ouvriers du Temps, Genève, 1996, p. 305. A second clock, whose dial is signed “Janvier à Paris”, is in the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon (illustrated in H. Ottomeyer and P. Pröschel, Vergoldete Bronzen, Die Bronzearbeiten des Spätbarock und Klassizismus, Band I, Munich, 1986, p. 162, fig. 3.3.7). A third example, whose dial is signed “Jean-Charles Olin”, is in the collection of the Princes of Hesse in the Fasanerie Palace in Fulda (illustrated in Gehäuse der Zeit, Uhren aus fünf Jahrhunderten im Besitz der Hessischen Hausstiftung, Eichenzell, 2002, p. 60-61, catalogue n° 19). One further clock of this type is on display in the Yellow Salon in the Musée Carnavalet in Paris (see A. Forray-Carlier, Le mobilier du musée Carnavalet, Editions Faton, Dijon, 2000, p. 3).

     

    Pierre II Gille

    As of 1765, the signature “Gille l’Aîné à Paris” was that of the clockmaker Pierre II Gille.  After becoming a master on 18 November 1746 as the son of a master, he opened a workshop in the rue Saint-Martin, then the rue Saint-Denis and the rue aux Ours. At the beginning of his career he worked with his father, then he opened his own workshop and immediately encountered great success among influential collectors. Among his clients were the Marquis de Brunoy, the Prince Charles of Lorraine, the powerful Farmer General Perrinet de Jars, and the Duke de Gramont.



    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
    Lenhendrick
    Louis-Joseph Lenhendrick (?-1783)

    Important Pair of Large Silver Neoclassical Candlesticks

    Bougeoirs014-02_HD_WEB

    “Fermiers généraux” punchmark: crowned “A” and “E” (1768/1774), large and medium guaranty (1768-1774)/Master goldsmith “L.L.” column on the stem bases, nozzles, and drip pans

    Paris, Transition period between Louis XV-Louis XVI, circa 1768-1774

    Height28 Diamètre15

    Made entirely of finely chased silver, each candlestick has a baluster stem with three concave sides. Their lower portions are adorned with acanthus leaves; the upper portions are decorated with delicate laurel swags suspended from stylized motifs on their upper shoulders. The stems terminate in nozzles in the form of vases that are adorned with fluted bands on a matted ground, a base in the form of a waterleaf bouquet, with the shaped and molded drip pans decorated with leaves, resting on plain molded knops.  The shaped circular feet are embellished with concave molding adorned with leaves and stylized motifs surmounting the stem base adorned with fluting, against a matted ground.

    The present rare pair of large candlesticks is remarkable for their fine, symmetrical chasing, characteristic of the finest work of Parisian artisans during the final years of the reign of Louis XVI. During this period, which today we call “Transition between the Louis XV-Louis XVI periods”, neoclassicism was favored. Another pair of candlesticks dated 1771-1772, with a bouquet of light arms, which was formerly in the David-Weill collection (illustrated in G. Henriot, Le luminaire de la Renaissance au XIXe siècle, plate 165, fig. 4), is similar in style; the same is true of the candlesticks made over the course of several decades by Louis-Joseph Lenhendrick, the maker of the present pair, an example of which is shown in J. Bourne and V. Brett, L’art du Luminaire, Editions Flammarion, Paris, 1992, p. 67, fig. 204. A rare set of twenty-two candlesticks, gathered together over the course of several years, was in the well-known Riahi collection (see Quelques chefs-d’œuvre de la collection Djahanguir Riahi, Ameublement français du XVIIIe siècle, Editions FMR, Milan, 1999, p. 252-254).

    Louis-Joseph Lenhendrick (? - 1783)

    Very little is known about the early life of this talented goldsmith. Probably originally from Germany, he came to Paris at a young age and began an apprenticeship in August 1738 in the workshop, in the Galeries du Louvre, of Thomas Germain (1673-1748), who was the most important Parisian goldsmith of the time. Less than a decade later, on May 17, 1747, he became a Master goldsmith in Paris, opening his own workshop and continuing to work with the Germain workshop, that is, with François-Thomas Germain, the son of his former master. Going into partnership with Germain, Lenhendrick participated in executing many prestigious commissions for the courts of Versailles, Lisbon, and Saint Petersburg. It was for the latter that he took part in the creation of the famous Orloff service, which Czarina Catherine II gave to her favorite. A magnificent silver gilt candelabra by Lenhendrick is on display in the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon (see El Gusto “a la griega”, Nacimiento del Neoclasicismo francés, Madrid, 2008, p. 186).



    In the same category

    Rare Pair of Matte and Burnished Gilt Bronze Two Light Greek-Inspired Wall Lights

    Appliques010-01_HD_WEB

    After a Drawing by Jean-Louis Prieur (1732-1795)

    Paris, transition period between Louis XV-Louis XVI, circa 1765-1770

    Height49.5 Width32 Depth13.8

    Provenance:

    – Probably the collection of Farmer-General Jean-François Leroy de Senneville (1715-1784).

     

    Made entirely of finely chased matte and gilt bronze, the wall lights feature a neoclassical stem with an acanthus leaf base and console sides, which issues the two deeply grooved light branches with leaf decoration. They support drip pans and nozzles that are adorned with leaf friezes. The stems feature a putto with a loincloth draped around his hips. The putti stand on an entablature and hold in each hand a laurel-leaf garland, which is threaded through the Greek key motifs that adorn the light branches. On the putti’s heads stand cubes that are embellished with rosettes; they protrude from an entablature supporting a vase decorated with acanthus leaves and flower garlands, whose lid has a seed finial.

    This rare and important pair of wall lights is a perfect illustration of what today is called the “Greek style”, in reference to the neoclassical style initiated by several Parisian collectors of the mid 18th century, including the Count de Caylus and Ange-Laurent Lalive de Jully, as a reaction to the rococo style that had dominated the French decorative arts for several decades, which was considered old fashioned. The model was based on a drawing by decorator Jean-Louis Prieur, one of the leaders of the neoclassical style, which is now in a private collection (illustrated in H. Ottomeyer and P. Pröschel, Vergoldete Bronzen, Die Bronzearbeiten des Spätbarock und Klassizismus, Tome I, Munich, 1986, p. 173, fig. 3.5.3). This wall light model quickly became a great success among the great Parisian collectors of the mid 1760s.

    Today only a very small number of similar wall lights are known, featuring several minor variations in their decoration. Two similar pairs, three light branches, are known to exist; one such pair was offered at the sale of the collection of Madame Lelong (sold Paris, Galerie Georges Petit, Maître Chevallier, April 27-30 and May 11-15, 1903, lot 334). A second pair was in the collection of Joseph Bardac (sold Paris, Me Lair-Dubreuil, Galerie Georges Petit, December 9, 1927, lot 80). Another comparable pair with two light branches, like the present pair, was formerly in the collection of Eric von Goldschmidt-Rothschild (sold Berlin, Ball & Graupe, March 23, 1931, lot 364). It was no doubt either the “Rothschild” wall lights or the present pair that was described during the 18th century as belonging to the Farmer General Jean-François Leroy de Senneville, whose posthumous sale was held on April 26, 1784. It was listed as lot 173: “A lovely pair of light branches, with stem and the figure of a child who is holding garlands in his hands, they have two branches, and are very well gilded”.

    Rare Pair of Three-Light Matte and Burnished Gilt Bronze Wall Lights in the Form of Flaming Torches

    Appliques009-01_BD_MAIL

    After a Preparatory Drawing by Jean-Louis Prieur (1732-1795)

    Paris, Transition period Louis XV-Louis XVI, circa 1770-1775

    Height66 Width37.5 Depth25.5

    Made entirely of matte and burnished gilt bronze, each wall light features a central tapering quiver stem that is adorned with fluting with bell-husk decoration and terminates in a bouquet finial with leaves and seeds. It is further embellished with two rings framing an acanthus leaf frieze. One of them issues the three curved light branches, which are adorned with acanthus leaves and support the drip pans and nozzles, which are decorated with egg and dart friezes and spiral fluting. In the upper portion, a robust flame emerges from a corolla of elongated leaves.

    By the mid 18th century, the French decorative arts were undergoing an extensive renewal. Ornamental schemes that had prevailed for decades were being challenged. This movement, led by scholars and collectors, was prompted by the exceptional archaeological discoveries made in the ancient Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, near Naples. Over the years, a handful of collectors, artists, and artisans would inspire a new style that was directly inspired by Greek and Roman antiquity. The present wall lights were made in this context of artistic effervescence. Their ornamental vocabulary, including the flaming quiver stem, the acanthus leaves, and fluted rings, is characteristic of the finest Parisian creations of the late 1760s and the beginning of the following decade. It was inspired by the work of several designers of the time, including Jean-Charles Delafosse and Jean-Louis Prieur, who executed a preparatory drawing for the present pair of wall lights that is today in the J. Paul Getty Museum in Malibu (illustrated in H. Ottomeyer and P. Pröschel, Vergoldete Bronzen, Die Bronzearbeiten des Spätbarock und Klassizismus, Band I, Munich, 1986, p. 172, fig. 3.5.3).

    At present, the model has not been attributed to any particular bronze caster, however its overall design and the quality of the casting and chasing are similar to those of certain models of wall lights that were created at the same period by important Parisian artisans, including Jean-Joseph de Saint-Germain, the great bronzier of the neoclassical revival (see J-D. Augarde, “Jean-Joseph de Saint-Germain bronzier (1719-1791), inédits sur sa vie et son œuvre” in L’Estampille/L’Objet d’art, n° 308, December 1996).

    Today only a few similar pairs of wall lights are known. Among them, one pair is in the Swedish Royal Collection (illustrated in J. Böttiger, Konstsamlingarna a de Swenska Kungliga Slotten, Tome II, Stockholm, 1900). A second pair is on display in the Pavlovsk Palace near Saint Petersburg; it almost certainly comes from the former Russian Imperial Collections. (see I. Sychev, The Russian Chandeliers 1760-1830, Editions PVBR, 2003, p. 87, fig. 403). One further comparable pair is in the Musée national du Château de Fontainebleau (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. 93).

    Cronier
    Antoine Cronier (1732-après 1806)

    Important Matte and Burnished Gilt Bronze Neoclassical Wall Cartel

    Cartel046-04_HD_WEB

    Paris, Transition period Louis XV-Louis XVI, circa 1770

    Height88 Width48 Depth14

    The round white enamel dial, signed “Cronier à Paris”, indicates the Roman numeral hours and Arabic numeral five-minute intervals by means of two pierced gilt bronze hands. The movement is housed in a finely chased matte and burnished gilt bronze neoclassical case. The clock is surmounted by a baluster vase whose lower portion is decorated with crosshatched reserves, with a lid that is adorned with acanthus leaves and is topped by a flame finial. Two laurel leaf swags pass through its handles; their extremities rest upon corner ornaments formed by volutes surmounting rams’ heads. Behind them, two flaming braziers with draperies are set on cubic bases. The sides of the clock are formed by fluted pillars that are adorned with laurel leaf swags and terminate in pinecone finials. A shaped plate under the dial is decorated with rosettes and a row of stylized truncated pyramids. In the lower part of the clock a glazed window affords a view of the pendulum; it is surrounded by oak leaf and acorn swags flanked by roundels, which frame an oblong matted reserve. The base, decorated with wide fluting, terminates in an acanthus leaf and seed bouquet.

    By the mid 18th century, the ornamental vocabulary that had prevailed for several decades was being called into question. This movement, led by scholars, artists and connoisseurs, had been instigated by the extraordinary archeological discoveries that had taken place in the ancient Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, near Naples. Over the years, a handful of collectors, artists, and artisans succeeded in imposing a new style, known as neoclassicism, which was directly inspired by Greek and Roman antiquity. The present cartel was created within this particular context. Its highly architectural design and unusual size are remarkable, as is its decorative vocabulary directly influenced by the classical idiom. While the identity of the bronze caster who created it is not known, the exceptional quality of the casting, chasing, and gilding prove that it was made by very fine artisans, under the supervision of a superb bronzier such as Saint-Germain, Osmond or Caffieri. Among the similar cartels known to exist, one example signed “Gide à Paris” is illustrated in R. Mühe and Horand M. Vogel, Horloges anciennes, Manuel des horloges de table, des horloges murales et des pendules de parquet européennes, Office du Livre, Fribourg, 1978, p. 190, fig. 350. A few other identical cartels have been identified. One of these was offered at auction at the Palais Galliera in Paris by Me Ader on March 30, 1965, lot 75 (see Tardy, La pendule française, 2èe Partie: Du Louis XVI à nos jours, Paris, 1975, p. 310, fig. 2). A second clock was formerly in the well-known collection of Alberto Bruni Tedeschi (1915-1996).

    Antoine Cronier (1732 - après 1806)

    Antoine Crosnier, or Cronier, was one of the most important Parisian clockmakers of the second half of the 18th century. The son of a Parisian master joiner, he became a master on March 1, 1763 and opened a workshop in the rue Saint-Honoré. He quickly became very successful among influential Parisian collectors of luxury horology, and worked with the finest artisans of the time, including the cabinetmaker Jean-Pierre Latz, the bronziers François Vion and the Osmonds, and the gilder Honoré Noël. During the 18th century, several of his clocks were mentioned as belonging to the Marshal de Choiseul-Stainville, the Marquis de Sainte-Amaranthe, the Duke des Deux-Ponts and the Prince Belosselsky-Belozersky.



    In the same category
    Arnoux  -  Osmond
    Robert Osmond (1711-1789)

    Important Matte and Burnished Gilt Bronze Wall Cartel

    Known as “cartel à ruban du grand modèle

    “Royal Model”

    Cartel037-03_HD_WEB

    Case attributed to Robert Osmond

    Paris, Transition Louis XV-Louis XVI period, circa 1770

    Height86 Width46 Depth14.5

    The round enamel dial, signed “Arnoux à Paris”, indicates the Arabic hours and five-minute intervals by means of two pierced gilt bronze hands. The neoclassical case is made of finely chased matte and burnished gilt bronze. The stepped bezel is adorned with grooved reserves and foliage. The clock is surmounted by a flaming classical urn with grooved decoration and rosettes. A long ribbon threaded through the handles of the urn cascades down on either side of the clock. Beneath the urn there is a female mask. The lower portion of the clock, whose central part is glazed to reveal the pendulum, is adorned with a laurel leaf garland. It is decorated with Greek key friezes and rosettes and terminates in a leaf finial.

    The unusual design of this spectacular cartel is reproduced in a Livre de desseins, which is in the Institut d’Histoire de l’Art à Paris (illustrated in H. Ottomeyer and P. Pröschel, Vergoldete Bronzen, Band I, Munich, 1986, p. 184, fig. 3.8.8). The elegant and perfectly balanced model was created around 1770 by the bronze caster Robert Osmond; during the second half of the 18th century it became a great success among Parisian connoisseurs, and particularly with the royal family. Indeed, the clockmaker Lépine delivered one example in 1767, which was destined for the apartments of Madame Victoire in Versailles; a second clock was ordered several years later for the apartments of the Dauphin (the future Louis XVI) in Versailles. This is no doubt the example that is today in the Mobilier national in Paris (see the exhibition catalogue Le château de Versailles raconte le Mobilier national, quatre siècles de création, Paris, 2010-2011, p. 106-107).

    A few other identical models are known. One is on display in the Nissim de Camondo museum in Paris (see “L’ANCAHA au Musée Nissim de Camondo”, in ANCAHA, winter 1999, n° 86, p. 38); a second clock is in the Stockholm National Museum (illustrated in Tardy, La pendule française, 2ème parti : Du Louis XVI à nos jours, Paris, 1975, p. 309).

    Robert Osmond (1711 - 1789)

    French bronze-caster Robert Osmond was born in Canisy, near Saint-Lô; he began his apprenticeship in the workshop of Louis Regnard, maître fondeur en terre et en sable, and became a master bronzier in Paris in 1746. He is recorded as working in the rue des Canettes in the St. Sulpice parish, moving to the rue de Mâcon in 1761. Robert Osmond became a juré, thus gaining a certain degree of protection of his creative rights. In 1753, he sent for his nephew in Normandy, and in 1761, the workshop, which by that time had grown considerably, moved to the rue de Macon. The nephew, Jean-Baptiste Osmond (1742-after 1790) became a master in 1764 and as of that date worked closely with his uncle, to such a degree that it is difficult to differentiate between the contributions of each. Robert appears to have retired around 1775. Jean-Baptiste, who remained in charge of the workshop after the retirement of his uncle, encountered difficulties and went bankrupt in 1784. Robert Osmond died in 1789.

    Prolific bronze casters and chasers, the Osmonds worked with equal success in both the Louis XV and the Neo-classical styles. Prized by connoisseurs of the period, their work was distributed by clockmakers and marchands-merciers. Although they made all types of furnishing objects, including fire dogs, wall lights and inkstands, the only extant works by them are clocks, including one depicting the Rape of Europe (Getty Museum, California) in the Louis XV style and two important Neo-classical forms, of which there are several examples, as well as a vase with lions’ heads (Musée Condé, Chantilly and the Cleveland Museum of Art) and a cartel-clock with chased ribbons (examples in the Stockholm Nationalmuseum; Paris, Nissim de Camondo Museum). A remarkable clock decorated with a globe, cupids and a Sèvres porcelain plaque (Paris, Louvre) is another of their notable works.

    Specialising at first in the rocaille style, in the early 1760’s they turned to the new Neo-classical style and soon numbered among its greatest practitioners. They furnished cases to the best clockmakers of the period, such as Montjoye, for whom they made cases for cartonnier and column clocks, the column being one of the favourite motifs of the Osmond workshop.



    Ageron
    François Ageron (?-after 1783)

    Important Matte and Burnished Gilt Bronze Cartel Wall Clock with Sun Mask and Pull Repeat

    Cartel033_04

    Paris, transitional Louis XV/Louis XVI, circa 1760-1765

    Height88 Width40

    Provenance:

    Sold Paris, Mes Ader-Picard-Tajan, Palais d’Orsay, December 6, 1977, lot 63.

     

    The round white enamel dial, signed “Ageron à Paris”, indicates the Roman numeral hours and the Arabic numeral five-minute intervals by means of two pierced gilt bronze hands. The movement, with pull hour, half hour, and quarter repeat, is housed in a magnificent chased gilt bronze case. The clock is surmounted by a lidded urn with a seed finial; the urn is adorned with fluting and flower and leaf swags suspended from pastilles. The upper portion, with an architectural entablature, features a mask with radiating sunrays with laurel leaf swags on either side. The curved sides of the clock are adorned with scrolls and acanthus leaf volutes. Beneath the dial, a second masque has braids that are tied around acorn-decorated oak branches. The clock terminates in a leaf and seed bouquet.

    This important wall cartel stands out due to its particularly unusual design. It is reminiscent of certain rocaille models of the Louis XV period, while also featuring several classical motifs that foreshadow the neoclassical style that flourished in Paris during the mid 1760’s. Its elaborate design was inspired by the work of Parisian ornamentalists, including Jean-François Forty (see Tardy, La pendule française, 2ème Partie : Du Louis XVI à nos jours, Paris, 1975, p. 306). To the best of our knowledge, there is only one other identical wall cartel clock, which appears to have been undergone extensive esthetic and technical modifications. It was offered at auction during the sale of the collection of Georges Bensimon (sold Paris, Hôtel Drouot, Mes Couturier-Nicolay, November 18-19, 1981).

    François Ageron (? - after 1783)

    François Ageron is one of the most important Parisian clockmakers of the 18th century. After becoming a master on July 17, 1741, he opened workshops successively in the Place du Pont Saint-Michel, the quai des Augustins, the rue Saint-Louis au Palais and the Place Dauphine. He quickly gained a reputation among the important Parisian horological collectors, becoming known for his movements, which often feature complications. Like most of the fine clockmakers of the time, he called on the best artisans for his clock cases, including the cabinetmaker Balthazar Lieutaud and the bronze casters Saint-Germain, Caffieri and Osmond. He stopped working in the early 1780’s and his business was sold on May 31, 1784. During the 18th century, his clocks were mentioned in important private collections, including those of François-Ferdinand, Comte de Lannoy, René-François-André, Comte de la Tour du Pin and Vicomte de La Charce, and Christian IV, Count Palatine of Zweibrücken. One of the clocks made by Ageron was described in 1787; it was in the bedroom of Queen Marie-Antoinette’s small apartments of in the Château de Versailles.



    In the same category
    Osmond
    Robert Osmond (1711-1789)

    Important Gilt Bronze Wall Cartel, “Ribbon Cartel, Large Version”

    “Royal Model”

    APF_Cartel015_05

    Case signed on the side: OSMOND

    Paris, Transition Louis XV-Louis XVI period, circa 1770

    Height86 Width46 Depth14.5

    The round enamel dial, signed “Martin à Paris”, indicates the hours in Roman numerals and the five-minute intervals in Arabic numerals by means of two pierced copper hands; the Neoclassical case is very finely chased and gilt. The bezel is punctuated with engine turned reserves and wide leaves; at the summit of the clock there is an antique flaming urn decorated with fluting and rosettes. A long ribbon passes through its handles and hangs down on either side; a female mask surmounts the dial. The lower portion features a draped laurel leaf and seed garland; below there is a leaf and seed finial.

    The design of the present cartel is illustrated in the book Livre de desseins, in the collection of the Institut d’Histoire de l’Art in Paris (illustrated in H. Ottomeyer and P. Pröschel, Vergoldete Bronzen, Band I, Munich, 1986, p. 184, fig. 3.8.8). This elegant and perfectly balanced model became immediately successful with Parisian collectors of the second half of the 18th century and was particularly appreciated by the members of the royal family. One example was delivered by the clockmaker Lépine in 1767 to the apartments of Mme Victoire de France at Versailles; a second clock was ordered several years later for the apartments of the Dauphin, future Louis XVI, at Versailles; this is almost certainly the example in the collections of the Mobilier national (see the exhibition catalogue Le château de Versailles raconte le Mobilier national, quatre siècles de création, 2010-2011, p. 106-107).

    Very few identical models are known: among them, one clock is displayed in the Nissim de Camondo Museum in Paris (featured in “L’ANCAHA au musée Nissim de Camondo”, in ANCAHA, winter 1999, n° 86, p. 38); a second example is in the National Museum in Stockholm (illustrated in Tardy, La pendule française, 2ème partie: Du Louis XVI à nos jours, Paris, 1975, p. 309).

    Robert Osmond (1711 - 1789)

    French bronze-caster Robert Osmond was born in Canisy, near Saint-Lô; he began his apprenticeship in the workshop of Louis Regnard, maître fondeur en terre et en sable, and became a master bronzier in Paris in 1746. He is recorded as working in the rue des Canettes in the St. Sulpice parish, moving to the rue de Mâcon in 1761. Robert Osmond became a juré, thus gaining a certain degree of protection of his creative rights. In 1753, he sent for his nephew in Normandy, and in 1761, the workshop, which by that time had grown considerably, moved to the rue de Macon. The nephew, Jean-Baptiste Osmond (1742-after 1790) became a master in 1764 and as of that date worked closely with his uncle, to such a degree that it is difficult to differentiate between the contributions of each. Robert appears to have retired around 1775. Jean-Baptiste, who remained in charge of the workshop after the retirement of his uncle, encountered difficulties and went bankrupt in 1784. Robert Osmond died in 1789.

    Prolific bronze casters and chasers, the Osmonds worked with equal success in both the Louis XV and the Neo-classical styles. Prized by connoisseurs of the period, their work was distributed by clockmakers and marchands-merciers. Although they made all types of furnishing objects, including fire dogs, wall lights and inkstands, the only extant works by them are clocks, including one depicting the Rape of Europe (Getty Museum, California) in the Louis XV style and two important Neo-classical forms, of which there are several examples, as well as a vase with lions’ heads (Musée Condé, Chantilly and the Cleveland Museum of Art) and a cartel-clock with chased ribbons (examples in the Stockholm Nationalmuseum; Paris, Nissim de Camondo Museum). A remarkable clock decorated with a globe, cupids and a Sèvres porcelain plaque (Paris, Louvre) is another of their notable works.

    Specialising at first in the rocaille style, in the early 1760’s they turned to the new Neo-classical style and soon numbered among its greatest practitioners. They furnished cases to the best clockmakers of the period, such as Montjoye, for whom they made cases for cartonnier and column clocks, the column being one of the favourite motifs of the Osmond workshop.