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Thématiques: Allegory & Mythology

  • Angevin  -  Thomire
    Angevin
    Pierre-Philippe Thomire (1757-1843)

    An Important Monumental Mantel Clock in White Carrara Marble and Gilt Bronze with Matte and Burnished Finishing

    “Cupid Caressing Venus”

    Pendule439-03_HD_WEB

    Angevin

    The Bronzes Attributed to Pierre-Philippe Thomire

    Height74 cm Width75.5 cm Depth20 cm

    The white enamel ring dial, signed “Angevin à Paris”, indicates the hours, fifteen-minute intervals and the Revolutionary date by means of three hands, two of which are made of pierced gilt bronze. The hour and half-hour striking movement is housed in a magnificent monumental case with white Carrara marble allegorical figures and finely chased bronze mounts with matte and burnished finishing. Surmounting the clock is a remarkable sculptural group depicting a seated Cupid with his quiver of feathered arrows lying at his feet. He gazes fondly at a young woman whose hair is swept up in a bun and held in place by a headband, and who holds aloft a drapery and a flower bouquet, symbolizing the promise of things to come. At her feet lies an anchor. She represents the goddess Venus. The group stands on a naturalistic rocky terrace with vines, grass, and a waterfall, which is sculpted from a single block of marble. The whole stands on a rectangular base with rounded corners featuring reserves with relief friezes depicting volutes, C-scrolls, and palmettes on the sides, and on the façade, a classical style frieze depicting Cupid’s chariot drawn by nymphs and driven by Hope, who holds an anchor. The base, which is adorned with a frieze of stylized leaves, stands on six toupie feet that are decorated with knurling and bead friezes.

    The present monumental clock may be considered one of the finest Parisian creations of the final years of the 18th century and the early years of the following century. The theme was inspired by a verse from Ovid’s Metamorphoses which tells of the love between Venus and Adonis: “one day the winged child played on the goddess’s breast” (Ovid, 1806, X, 525). Here the goddess is depicted as Venus Anadyomen, or Venus rising from the sea, which is suggested by the anchor lying at her feet and the waterfall sculpted from marble. The attribution to Pierre-Philippe Thomire is based on the exceptional quality of the chased and gilt bronzes. It additionally relates to a clock that was probably made in the same workshop and was purchased for Tsar Paul I. That clock, which is today in Pavlovsk Palace, may be attributed to Thomire (illustrated in A. Kuchumov, Pavlovsk, Palace & Park, Aurora Art Publishers, Leningrad, 1973, p. 53).

     

    Among the small number of identical clocks known, one model was valued at 240 francs in a posthumous inventory toward the end of the Consulate: “A clock bearing the name Hoguet à Paris in a white marble case adorned with two figures – Cupid caressing his mother, with matte gilding” ; a second example is in the Parnassia collection (illustrated in J-D. Augarde, Une odyssée en pendules, Chefs-d’œuvre de la Collection Parnassia, Editions Faton, Dijon, 2022, p. 64-65, catalogue n° 7); the author includes an anonymous engraving dated 1803, from Collection des meubles et objets de goût de Pierre de la Mésangère, which depicts a comparable clock that is smaller and made entirely of bronze; this engraving is today in the Musée Carnavalet in Paris.

    Angevin

    Mentioned as being in rue Saint-Martin in 1806, rue de Bondy in 1812, rue Melay in 1820, then rue de Saintonge in 1820, the Parisian clockmaker Angevin became very famous during the Empire period and the beginning of the Restoration (see Tardy, Dictionnaire des horlogers français, Paris, 1971, p. 9). During the early decades of the 19th century, certain of his clocks were described in the posthumous inventories of important collectors of the time, including that of the wife of  Pierre-François Jean du Cluzel, Marquis de Montpipeau, Pierre-Antoine Forié (influential Administrator of the Postal Service); the wife of Auguste-Louis-Gabriel Sophie, Count of Montaigu; Emilie de Beauharnais, the wife of Antoine-Armand, Count of Lavalette; Louis-Marie-Auguste-Xavier, Count of Léautaud-Donine; and Louise-Félicité-Victoire d’Aumont, Duchess of Mazarin, the widow of the Prince of Monaco.



    Pierre-Philippe Thomire (1757 - 1843)

    Pierre-Philippe Thomire was the most important Parisian bronzier of the last quarter of the 18th century and the first decades of the following century. Early on in his career he worked for Pierre Gouthière, ciseleur-fondeur du roi, and toward the mid-1770’s began working with Louis Prieur. He later became one of the bronziers attached to the Manufacture Royale de Sèvres, creating the bronze mounts for most of the important creations of the day. After the Revolution, he purchased the stock of Martin-Eloi Lignereux, thus becoming the most important suppliers of furniture bronzes for châteaux and Imperial Palaces. In addition, he worked for a wealthy private clientele, both French and foreign, including several of Napoleon’s Marshals. Thomire retired in 1823.



    Gavelle
    Pierre Gavelle (1753-1802)

    Exceptional Monumental Clock in Gilt and Patinated Bronze

    Pendule442-03_HD_WEB

    Paris, Louis XVI period, circa 1775-1785

    Height90 cm Width46 cm Depth29 cm

    Provenance:

    -Sold Paris, collection of Mademoiselle X…, Maître Lair-Dubreuil, Hôtel Drouot, March 3-7, 1913, lot 367.

    -Collection of Mr. Antonio de Sommer Champalimaud (1918-2004), Lisbon.

     

    The round white enamel dial, signed “Gavelle l’aîné à Paris”, indicates the Arabic numeral hours and fifteen-minute intervals by means of two pierced and gilt hands; it also has a central seconds hand. The dial bears the signature of the enameller Edmé Portail Barbichon, one of the main rivals of enamellers Joseph Coteau and Dubuisson. The hour and half-hour striking movement is housed in a round case that is adorned with bead friezes and a tied drapery. It is supported by a very fine, lightly draped putto that is depicted in a contrapposto pose inspired by Renaissance Florence; at his feet lie two books. Opposite the putto there is a fluted column whose base is decorated with a ribbon-tied laurel torus and whose chapter is adorned with an egg and dart frieze. It supports a globe among clouds; at the base of the column there are a parchment, a square and a compass. The shaped and molded base is adorned with friezes of laurel leaves and seeds; the façade bears a central panel in the manner of Clodion, depicting children at play. The clocks stands on six flattened ball feet with a matted band.

    The present monumental clock was no doubt specially ordered by an influential Parisian collector during the early years of the reign of Louis XVI. It was clearly made by one of the finest bronze casters of the time, such as the Osmonds or Jean-Joseph de Saint-Germain. The magnificent  putto figure is reminiscent of the work of sculptor François Duquesnoy, known as François Flamand, who produced this type of model throughout his career. To the best of our knowledge the present clock is the only known example of this model, which supports the hypothesis that the clock was a one-of-a-kind piece that was made to order. During the 18th century, the process of commissioning a piece was complex and entailed the production of sketches, plans, and preparatory models in plaster or terra cotta, to ensure a bronze sculpture of the highest quality.

    Pierre Gavelle (1753 - 1802)

    The clockmaker Pierre Gavelle (who signed “Gavelle l’aîné”), was the son of Jean-Jacques Gavelle and the brother of Maurice-Jacques Gavelle, also clockmakers in Paris. All three were active in Paris during the second half of the 18th century. After becoming a master, on September 4, 1771, he worked in his father’s workshop until 1787, then opened a workshop in rue Saint-Denis, moving to the rue des Juifs in 1801 (see Tardy, Dictionnaire des horlogers français, Paris, 1971, p. 251). A deputy of the guild in 1785, he became rather well-known and several of his clocks were mentioned during the early decades of the 19th century, as belonging to Parisian collectors of the day, including the printer Jacques Delatynna and Alexandre-Pierre-Louis Deherain, Counsellor to the Paris Appellate Court.



    In the same category
    Osmond  -  Dutertre
    Robert Osmond (1711-1789)
    Jean-Baptiste Dutertre (?-1773)

    Important Matte Gilt Bronze Musical Mantel Clock

    Pendule_449-06_HD_WEB

    Case attributed to Robert Osmond

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

    Height73 cm Width41 cm Depth24 cm

    Bibliography:

    Tardy, La pendule française, 2ème Partie: Du Louis XVI à nos jours, Paris, 1971, p. 251, fig. 3 (illustration).

     

    The white enamel dial, signed “J.B. Dutertre à Paris”, indicate the Roman numeral hours and the Arabic numeral five-minute intervals by means of two pierced and gilt bronze hands. The hour and half hour striking movement is housed in a Neoclassical case in the form of a finely chased matte gilt bronze vase flanked by putti. The vase, a lidded urn with applied handles, is surmounted by a pinecone finial. It is decorated with rosettes, toruses, and laurel garlands. The pedestal is adorned with spiral fluting and a ribbon-tied laurel torus. The urn stands on an architectural trellis-pierced base, and is decorated with laurel garlands, ribbons and bows, entrelac friezes, and rosettes; it is flanked by two putti, one of which is holding the bust of a young woman and a sculptor’s mallet – it is an Allegory of Sculpture – and the other, which is holding a compass and is leaning on an Ionic capital  – an Allegory of Architecture. The base contains a musical movement that is activated on the hour by the horological mechanism; it plays ten melodies on a carillon of eleven bells, by means of nineteen hammers. The clock is raised upon four flattened ball feet.

    Though unsigned, the case of the present clock may confidently be attributed to Robert Osmond. The model was created by Osmond in the latter part of the 1760s or the early years of the following decade. He continued to produce it, with variations, during the two next decades. Today only a few examples, some featuring variations mostly concerning the treatment of the two figures, are known.  One example, whose dial is signed Berthoud, is in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris (illustrated in H. Ottomeyer and P. Pröschel, Vergoldete Bronzen, Die Bronzearbeiten des Spätbarock und Klassizismus, Band I, Munich, 1986, p. 177, fig. 3.6.5). A second example is in the Musée du Louvre in Paris (illustrated in D. Alcouffe, A. Dion-Tenenbaum and G. Mabille, Les bronzes d’ameublement du Louvre, Editions Faton, Dijon, 2004, catalogue n° 60). A third clock was formerly in the Etienne Lévy collection (see P. Siguret, Lo Stile Luigi XVI, Milan, 1965, p. 122).

    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.



    Jean-Baptiste Dutertre (? - 1773)

    Jean-Baptiste Dutertre is one of the most important Parisian horologists of the second third of the 18th century. The son of a clockmaker, he became a master in 1735. He took over the direction of his father’s workshop in the Quai des Orfèvres and immediately became quite successful. Like the best artisans of his day, Dutertre called on the best bronziers for his gilt bronze clock cases, collaborating with Jean-Baptiste Osmond, and Jean-Joseph de Saint-Germain, in particular. Influential aristocrats of the time were his clients; among them, the Marquis de Marigny et de Béringhen, the duc de Penthièvre and the Duchess de Mazarin, as well as several bankers and financiers, such as Messieurs Bochart de Saron, Lepelletier de Mortefontaine and Radix de Sainte-Foix, all of whom were collectors of fine horological pieces.



    In the same category
    Dubuisson
    Dubuisson (1731-1815)

    Rare Gilt Bronze Mantel Clock

    “The Kiss”

    signature 2

    Enamelled dial by Etienne Gobin, known as Dubuisson

    After a model by Jean-Antoine Houdon

    Paris, Louis XVI period, circa 1785

    Height46 cm Width26 cm Depth15 cm

    The round enamel dial, signed “Dubuisson”, indicates the Arabic numeral hours and fifteen-minute intervals by means of two pierced gilt bronze hands, as well as the date by means of a steel hand. The gilt bronze neoclassical case is very finely chased. The dial is framed by chased foliate spandrels.  The case, in the form of an antique milestone, is flanked by two magnificent mermaids who support the entablature, which is adorned with egg and dart friezes, beading, and stylised leaves. On it stands the sculpture “The Kiss”. It stands on a pedestal, around which are four doves and two flaming tripod incense burners, which are decorated with spiral fluting and the heads of lions holding chains in their mouths. The plinth is adorned with beading and a frieze of stylised flowers. It is set upon a rectangular base with rounded corners, which features interlace leaf friezes and is raised upon six finely chased toupie feet.

    This rare model is mentioned in several 18th century documents. One clock, probably identical to the present model, was offered at the sale of the collection of a certain Monsieur Tricot in 1793: “N°211. A clock that strikes the hours and half hours, with date, by Bourret; It is set on a high square base and is surmounted by an elaborate pediment decorated with egg and dart motifs, supported by two naiad caryatids with fish tails; the stepped base is adorned with water leaves and interlace motifs, the white marble base is raised upon ball feet. The upper portion of the clock represents Mark Anthony and Cleopatra kissing, after Houdon. The sculpture is set upon a column, with four doves, and on either side a cassolette. This magnificently executed clock is finely matte gilded; with a glass dome. Height 17 pouces, width 10 pouces”. Today only a few identical clocks are known.

    Among them, one example with a red griotte marble base, whose dial is signed “Robin à Paris”, was formerly in the Fabius Frères collection (illustrated in Tardy, La pendule française, 2ème partie: Du Louis XVI à nos jours, Paris, 1975, p. 255). A second example, whose dial is signed “Bourret à Paris”, is illustrated in Giacomo and Aurélie Wannenes, Les plus belles pendules françaises, de Louis XIV à l’Empire, Editions Polistampa, Florence, 2013, p. 245. A third clock, also signed Bourret, was in the Jean Gismondi Gallery in Paris (illustrated in J-D. Augarde, Les ouvriers du Temps, Genève, 1996, p. 286, fig. 219). One further such clock, with patinated mermaids, is in the Hermitage Museum in  Saint Petersburg.

    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.



    In the same category
    Denière
    Jean-François Denière (1774-1866)

    A Rare Cartel in the Form of a Picture in Gilt Bronze with Matte and Burnished Finishing, Molded, Sculpted, and Gilt Wood or Stucco and Green Marble

    Pendule450-03_BD_MAIL

    Dial signed by the bronze-caster Denière

    Paris, Empire period, circa 1810

    Height43.2 cm Width55.3 cm Depth14 cm

    The round white enamel dial, signed “Denière Fabt de Bronzes à Paris”, indicates the Roman numeral hours and the outermost minutes. The hour and half-hour striking movement is housed in a picture-form case; it is made entirely of finely chased gilt bronze with matte and burnished finishing on a green marble panel. The dial is framed by a frieze of ivy leaves and is flanked by two terms on tapering pedestals that are surmounted by male busts inspired by classical theatre masks, whose faces are adorned with thyrsi embellished with eagles with outstretched wings, around which are entwined leafy garlands. The two terms are linked by a flower garland that is decorated with zigzag bracelets. In the lower portion, they rest on an entablature decorated with five applied stars surmounted by an allegorical figure representing the seated figure of History or Fame, who is dressed in classical robes and is writing on tablet with a stylus. The whole is set on a rectangular green marble panel that is surrounded by a quadrangular wood or stucco frame that is molded, sculpted, and gilt, with a frieze of alternating palmettes and flowers, with concave molding highlighted by a waterleaf frieze.

    Wall cartels were particularly appreciated throughout the 18th century. They became relatively rare during the Empire period, since clocks featuring subjects inspired by classical Roman mythology were popular due to the policies of Emperor Napoleon, who wanted to recreate the frontiers of the Roman Empire. Thus, during the first two decades of the 19th century, while all cartels were not made on commission, most models were produced in small numbers or were one-of-a kind pieces, as is certainly the case for the present rare cartel. Today, among the comparable models from the same period, one gilt bronze example whose lyre-form design surmounted by a bust of Apollo is illustrated in P. Kjellberg, Encyclopédie de la pendule française du Moyen Age au XXe siècle, Les éditions de l’Amateur, Paris, 1997, p. 379. Lepaute delivered a second example in the form of a shield in 1810 to the Topographic Cabinet of the Grand Trianon (see D. Ledoux-Lebard, Le Grand Trianon, Meubles et objets d’art, Editions de Nobele, Paris, 1975, p. 137). One further oval-shaped cartel with a decoration of elaborate bronze motifs against a mahogany ground is illustrated in G. and A. Wannenes, Les plus belles pendules françaises de Louis XIV à l’Empire, Editions Polistampa, Florence, 2013, p. 370.

    Jean-François Denière (1774 - 1866)

    The signatures “Denière” or “Denière Fabt de Bronzes à Paris” are that of Jean-François Denière (1774-1866), one of the most important Parisian bronze casters of the late 18th century and the early decades of the following century. In just a few years he became one of the most important suppliers of bronze furnishings, working for the imperial Garde-Meuble; in addition, he developed a wealthy private clientele. Until 1820 he was in partnership with François-Thomas Matelin, which led him to take part in the decoration of most of the imperial palaces and châteaux, delivering bronze furnishings and clocks, through the intermediary of several of their fellow bronze casters.



    In the same category
    Lepaute  -  Osmond
    Jean-André and Jean-Baptiste Lepaute
    Robert Osmond (1711-1789)

    A Rare Gilt Bronze Neoclassical Vase-Shaped Clock with Matte and Gilt Finishing

    Vase_pendule003-04_BD_MAIL

    Movement signed by Jean-Baptiste Lepaute

    Case Attributed to Robert Osmond

    Paris, transition period between Louis XV and Louis XVI, circa 1770

    Height46.5 cm Width19 cm DepthBase 19.8 cm x 19.8 cm

    The clock indicates the Roman numeral hours and the Arabic numeral five-minute intervals on enamel cartouches in two superimposed revolving dials that are decorated with lozenges set with quatrefoils. The neoclassical case is in the form of a gilt bronze baluster vase with matte and gilt finishing. The clock is surmounted by a pinecone finial around which a snake is coiled; the snake’s tongue is the pointer that marks the time on the revolving dials. The applied classical handles are adorned with lions’ heads with mobile rings in their mouths. The molded belly of the vase features a frieze with interlacing motifs above and a wreath of leaves below. The sloping base is decorated with a knop and a ribbon-tied laurel torus. The square plinth, where the slow/fast adjustment is located, is decorated with wide laurel garlands that are held in place by bows and are supported on a truncated column with wide, rudented fluting, one of which conceals the winding hole. The molded base is adorned with ribbon-tied reeds and laurel toruses. A square plinth with matte decoration, which bears the signature “Lepaute”, supports the clock.

    Clocks in the form of classical vases came into fashion in Paris during the second half of the 18th century and immediately became popular among the important collectors of the time. The model was particularly suited to the elegant cercles tournants dials, which collectors often preferred to the traditional round dials, thought to be too “ordinary”. Today, several such clock models are known, but only very few of them are as well-balanced and elegant as the present clock. Among the comparable vase-shaped clocks known, one example in the form of a vase standing on a truncated column, made by the bronze-caster Robert Osmond and the clockmaker Lepaute in 1770, is illustrated in H. Ottomeyer and P. Pröschel, Vergoldete Bronzen, Band I, Editions Klinkhardt & Biermann, Munich, 1986, p. 194. A second clock is in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris (see P. Jullian, Le style Louis XVI, Editions Baschet et Cie, Paris, 1983, p. 121, fig .4). One further such clock is in the Musée du Petit Palais in Paris (see Tardy, La pendule française, Des origines à nos jours, 2ème partie: Du Louis XVI à nos jours, Paris, 1974, p. 289, fig. 3).

    Jean-André and Jean-Baptiste Lepaute

    Lepaute Horloger du Roi à Paris“: 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 (Clockmakers of the King).

    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.



    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.



    In the same category
    Moinet  -  Thomire
    Louis Moinet or Moynet (1768-1853)
    Pierre-Philippe Thomire (1757-1843)

    Exceptional Patinated and Gilt Bronze and Black Marble Mantel Garniture with Matte and Burnished Finishing

    Vase_pendule001-03_HD_WEB

    The movement signed “Moinet l’aîné”

    The bronzes Attributed to Pierre-Philippe Thomire

    Paris, Empire period, circa 1810

    Clock :
    Height71 cm Width29 cm DiamètreBase 25.3 x 25.3 cm
    Vases :
    Height54 cm Width23.5 cm DiamètreBase 18 x 18 cm

    Provenance:

    Sold Paris, Palais Galliera, Maîtres Laurin-Guilloux-Buffetaud, June 21, 1974, lot 59.

     

    Made entirely of finely chased patinated and gilt bronze with matte and burnished finishing and black marble, this garniture comprises a central vase housing the clock and two lateral oval-shaped vases. The clock has an aperture within a medallion framed by a flower wreath, which indicates the Roman numeral hours and Arabic five-minute intervals on two silvered metal cadrans tournants; the movement is signed “Moinet l’aîné”. The lip is adorned with a frieze of veined leaves; the neck is decorated with applied motifs of flowers and scrolling foliage, framed by birds that peck at seeds. The belly, with plain and reeded motifs, is further embellished with medallions framing rosettes that are flanked by flowers and scrolls and a magnificent classical-style frieze depicting dancing bacchantes. The lower portion is adorned with wide leaves alternating with stems of flowers; the spreading pedestal is decorated with a row of stylized water leaves. The applied handles, with reserves containing flower and leaf garlands, are attached to the belly by female masks emerging from palmettes and to the neck by medallions centered by neoclassical profiles. The quadrangular base features thyrsi motifs with intertwining vine branches and snakes on either side of wicker baskets filled with fruits. The spreading pedestal is adorned with water leaves. The clock stands on a square base. The two similarly decorated lateral vases are elaborately embellished with applied palmette, C-scroll, and flower motifs and arabesque style torches flanked by kneeling female figures that are tying ribbons. The applied slightly curved handles are adorned with foliage against matted reserves, and are attached to the necks by medallions centered by female masks inside of wreaths. The vases stand on pedestals decorated with wide ribbed water leaves, which themselves are set on square black marble bases with quadrangular plinths decorated with molding featuring friezes of alternating leaves and stems.

    The present garniture is comparable to certain pieces by the Parisian bronzier Claude Galle, including a  vase-form clock that Galle made circa 1810, an example of which is in the Grand Trianon (see H. Ottomeyer and P. Pröschel, Vergoldete Bronzen, Band I; Munich, 1986, p. 365, fig. 5.12.12). A second is on display in the Museo di Capodimonte in Naples (illustrated in A. Gonzales-Palacios, Il Gusto dei Principi, Arte di corte del XVIIe e del XVIIIe secolo, Milan, 1993, p. 74, fig. 127). It may be attributed to Pierre-Philippe Thomire, the most talented Parisian bronze caster of the final years of the 18th century and the first decades of the following century.

    The unusual design of the clock may be seen on an “aux commères” vase-form clock, which is identical except for a variation in the treatment of the handles. The “aux commères” clock was created by Thomire circa 1805-1810. A few rare examples of it are known to exist, among them one example made entirely of gilt bronze that is in the Royal Spanish Collection (illustrated in J. Ramon Colon de Carvajal, Catalogo de relojes del Patrimonio nacional, Madrid, 1987,  p. 164, catalogue 142). A second example, in patinated and gilt bronze, signed “Louis Moinet”, is on display in the David Roche Foundation in Melbourne; it was commissioned circa 1810 by Ernst-August, Prince of Hanover (illustrated in J. Russel and R. Cohn, French Empire Mantel Clock, Editions Bookvika, 2012, p. 8).

    One further example of a vase identical to those flanking the present clock, which nevertheless features slight variations in the base, is illustrated in a catalogue devoted to the work of Pierre-Philippe Thomire that is now in Russia (see A.N. Voronikhina, Dekorativnaia bronza Pera-Filippa Tomira (1751-1843), Leningrad, Hermitage Museum, 1984).

    Louis Moinet or Moynet (1768 - 1853)

    Was one of the most important Parisian clockmakers of the early decades of the 19th century. Born in Bourges, Moinet drew notice at a young age due to his passion for clockmaking, winning numerous first prizes and competitions. Also an enthusiastic painter and draughtsman, he stayed in Italy for several years, studying classical antiquity. When he returned to France, he settled in Paris and became a professor at the Académie des Beaux-Arts in the Louvre. A member of several artistic and scholarly societies, he became friendly, and collaborated with, many of the finest artists, artisans, and scientists of the time. His passion for clockmaking soon took precedence over painting and Moinet concentrated exclusively on the practical and theoretical aspects of clockmaking. He invented the first chronograph in 1816; ten years earlier he had designed an automaton clock for the Emperor, in which Napoleon and Josephine were crowned when the music box was activated. He also made pieces for Prince Murat and Marshall Ney. His fame spread beyond the borders of France, and Moinet designed clocks for American presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe, as well as for George IV, King of England. Today the clocks made in his workshop are all thought to have been made in collaboration with Pierre-Philippe Thomire, with whom the clockmaker must have had a close commercial and personal relationship.



    Pierre-Philippe Thomire (1757 - 1843)

    Pierre-Philippe Thomire was the most important Parisian bronzier of the last quarter of the 18th century and the first decades of the following century. Early on in his career he worked for Pierre Gouthière, ciseleur-fondeur du roi, and toward the mid-1770’s began working with Louis Prieur. He later became one of the bronziers attached to the Manufacture Royale de Sèvres, creating the bronze mounts for most of the important creations of the day. After the Revolution, he purchased the stock of Martin-Eloi Lignereux, thus becoming the most important suppliers of furniture bronzes for châteaux and Imperial Palaces. In addition, he worked for a wealthy private clientele, both French and foreign, including several of Napoleon’s Marshals. Thomire retired in 1823.



    Thomire
    Pierre-Philippe Thomire (1757-1843)

    Rare and Important Mantel Garniture in Gilt and Patinated Bronze with Matte and Burnished Finishing

    “Putti astride the Handles”

    Garniture001-06_BD_MAIL

    Attributed to Pierre-Philippe Thomire

    Paris, Directory-Consulate period, circa 1800

    Pendule :
    Height54,5 cm WidthBase 22,6 x 22,6 cm Diamètre27,5 cm
    Vases :
    Height45 cm WidthBase 19,4 x 19,4 cm Diamètre22 cm

    The present mantel garniture is made entirely of finely chased gilt and patinated bronze with matte and burnished finishing. It is composed of a central vase that contains the clock, and two lateral vases. The clock has a white enamel dial that indicates the Arabic numeral hours, fifteen-minute intervals and date, by means of three hands, two of which are made of pierced and gilt bronze. The hour and half hour striking movement is housed in a case in the form of a Medici vase. It is made of finely chased gilt and patinated bronze with matte and burnished finishing. The lip is decorated with a frieze of alternating stylized palmettes, oak leaves, and C scrolls; the upper part of the dial is adorned with ribbon-tied flower and leaf garlands; its lower portion is adorned with a mask flanked by outstretched wings; the scrolling handles support two putti who are seated astride the handles and hold leaf garlands that continue over the belly and are suspended from roundels. The lower portion is decorated with acanthus leaves and palmettes; the pedestal is adorned with a knop with stylized motifs and a ribbon-tied leaf and seed torus. It is set on a stepped entablature, which itself is set on a quadrangular base with a double lozenge motif that contains rosettes, palmettes, and facing griffons. The molded plinth features a frieze of lambrequins and water leaves alternating with foliage. The two similarly decorated lateral vases are notable principally for the wide Neoclassical bands that adorn their bellies and depict nymphs and bacchants holding hands and dancing.

    The remarkable design of this garniture, and particularly that of the putti sitting astride the handles, as well as the exceptional quality of the chasing and gilding, are characteristic of the finest Parisian creations of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. While they have several features that are reminiscent of Louis XVI vases, including the magnificent toruses adorning the pedestals, and the flower and leaf garlands, they also present characteristics of the greatest creations of the Empire period, concerning, for example, the treatment of the chasing and the motifs of the bases. The harmonious and balanced blend of these two styles is typical of the transition period, in which the artistic and decorative tendencies came together during the passage from the 18th to the 19th century, that is, from the Directory to the Consulate. During this period, one bronze caster in particular became famous for his talent and his creative genius: Pierre-Philippe Thomire, the remarkable artisan to whom we attribute the present garniture. Thomire’s signature appears on a rare Medici vase made of gilt and patinated bronze, whose lip is similarly treated and whose belly features a comparable classical-style frieze. This vase, which is in the Decorative Arts Museum of Budapest, is illustrated in H. Ottomeyer and P. Pröschel, Vergoldete Bronzen, Die Bronzearbeiten des Spätbarock und Klassizismus, Band I, Munich, 1986, p. 362, fig. 5.12.3.

    Pierre-Philippe Thomire (1757 - 1843)

    Pierre-Philippe Thomire was the most important Parisian bronzier of the last quarter of the 18th century and the first decades of the following century. Early on in his career he worked for Pierre Gouthière, ciseleur-fondeur du roi, and toward the mid-1770’s began working with Louis Prieur. He later became one of the bronziers attached to the Manufacture Royale de Sèvres, creating the bronze mounts for most of the important creations of the day. After the Revolution, he purchased the stock of Martin-Eloi Lignereux, thus becoming the most important suppliers of furniture bronzes for châteaux and Imperial Palaces. In addition, he worked for a wealthy private clientele, both French and foreign, including several of Napoleon’s Marshals. Thomire retired in 1823.