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Thématiques: Allegory & Mythology

  • Buzot
    Joseph Buzot

    Rare Gilt Bronze Clock, Homage to Louis XV, with Matte and Burnished Finishing

    “The Three Graces”

    Pendule431-04_HD_WEB

    Paris, early Louis XVI period, circa 1775

    Height50 cm

    The white enamel dial, signed “Buzot 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 finely chased matte gilt bronze case. The bezel is adorned with a frieze of interlacing motifs alternating with egg and cabochon motifs.  Surmounting the clock is a winged putto reclining on clouds with sunrays, which is holding a wreath above a medallion centered by the profile of King Louis XV against a matted ground. The mechanism is housed in an elongated vase with rudented fluting, which rests on a fluted column that is supported by three classically draped female figures holding rose garlands; they represent the Three Graces. The round base is adorned with a frieze of stylized leaves, grape vines and bunches of grapes, as well as a torus of laurel leaves and seeds; it is in turn supported on a quadrangular base.

    A variation on a successful model from the late 1760s, created by the bronze caster François Vion, the present clock depicts the popular theme of the Three Graces, which is associated with the glory of the reigning king, in this case Louis XV. Today, a small number of clocks presenting the same composition are known, though some feature variations in the treatment of the bases and mechanisms. One example, whose movement is signed “Cronier”, is illustrated in P. Kjellberg, Encyclopédie de la pendule française du Moyen Age à nos jours, Les éditions de l’Amateur, Paris, 1997, p. 257; fig. F. A second example was offered at auction when the collection of Léon Lowenstein was sold (sold Paris, Me Oudard, December 17, 1935, lot 119). A third, whose dial is signed “Merra à Paris”, is illustrated in P. Heuer and K. Maurice, European Pendulum Clocks, Decorative Instruments of Measuring Time, Munich, 1988, p. 46, fig. 68. One further clock of this type, which features the initials of Czarina Catherine the Great of Russia, is in Catherine Palace in Tsarskoye Selo, today known as Pushkin.

    Joseph Buzot

    Joseph Buzot, known as Buzot the elder, was one of the most important Parisian clockmakers of the second half of the 18th century. After becoming a master on August 21, 1770, he first opened a workshop in the Quai des Grands Augustins, then in the rue des Fossés Montmartre in 1772 and the rue des Petits Carreaux shortly before the Revolution. During the 18th century, some of his pieces were mentioned as being in the homes of important contemporary collectors. After the Revolution, a mantel garniture was returned to the heirs of the collector Nicolai; it was made of blue Chinese porcelain with finely chased gilt bronze mounts; its central piece was a clock.



    In the same category
    Jolly  -  Galle
    François-Pierre Jolly (?-after 1820)
    Claude Galle (1759-1815)

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

    “Diana the Huntress Resting”

    Pendule419-04_HD_WEB

    Gaston Jolly

    Case Attributed to Claude Galle

    Paris, Empire period, circa 1805-1810

    Height63 Width55 Depth15

    The white enamel annular dial, signed “Gaston Jolly à Paris”, indicates the Roman numeral hours, the Arabic numeral fifteen-minute intervals, and the date by means of three hands, two of which are made of pierced and gilt brass. In its center is a painted medallion indicating the moon phases and the age of the moon along its upper border, with a perspective landscape showing a lady walking along a path, and in the background a seascape with sailing ships. The hour and half hour striking movement is housed in a finely chased, patinated and gilt bronze  case with matte and burnished finishing, which features a figure depicting Diana resting after the hunt. The bezel is adorned with friezes of beads and interlacing patterns. Surmounting the clock is a fine sculptural figure representing Diana wearing classical robes and a diadem, and bearing a quiver slung across her chest. She holds a bow in her left hand and a swan, the result of her hunt, which is being examined by a dog standing on its hind legs. She is seated on a naturalistic rocky terrace which also contains a sculptural group depicting a reclining stag and a fawn. The shaped quadrangular base, with rounded corners, is elaborately adorned with applied motifs and decorated reserves. On the sides, there are dogs hunting or eating, and a panel with mythological scenes depicting two nymphs riding on sea creatures, including a seahorse. The clock stands on six knurled feet decorated with hatching and beads.

    The exceptional quality of the chasing and gilding of this important mantel clock, as well as its remarkable composition, make it one of the most successful models of the early 19th century. It may be attributed to Claude Galle, one of the finest Parisian bronze casters of the time. A comparable pyramid-shaped clock, which depicts a resting Omphale holding Hercules’s club, bears Galle’s signature. At the time, his shop was located in the rue Vivienne in Paris (illustrated in H. Ottomeyer and P. Pröschel, Vergoldete Bronzen, Die Bronzearbeiten des Spätbarock und Klassizismus, Band I, Munich, 1986, p. 371, fig. 5.13.19). The clock is also shown in E. Niehüser, Die Französische Bronzeuhr, Eine Typologie der figürlichen Darstellungen, Munich, 1997, p. 65, fig. 92.

    François-Pierre Jolly (? - after 1820)

    François-Pierre Jolly, known as Gaston-Jolly, is one of the most important Parisian horologists of the late 18th century and the early 19th century. After he became a master, on May 6, 1784, he established his workshop in the rue de Arcis and quickly earned a reputation among Parisian horological connoisseurs. During the Directoire and the Empire, he created several clocks, which were sought-after due to the quality of their movements and their original compositions. He is recorded first in the rue Pavée Saint-Sauveur from 1810 to 1820, then in the boulevard Poissonnière in 1820. Certain of his creations were recorded during the Empire as belonging to important collectors of the day, such as the wife of Charles-Philibert-Marie-Gaston de Lévis, comte de Mirepoix and Bernard-Charles-Louis-Victor, Marquis de Lostanges, Napoleon’s Chambellan.



    Claude Galle (1759 - 1815)

    One of the foremost bronziers and fondeur-ciseleurs of the late Louis XVI and Empire periods, Claude Galle was born at Villepreux near Versailles. He served his apprenticeship in Paris under the fondeur Pierre Foy, and in 1784 married Foy’s daughter. In 1786 he became a maitre-fondeur. After the death of  his father-in-law in 1788, Galle took over his workshop, soon turning it into one the finest, and employing approximately 400 craftsmen. Galle moved to Quai de la Monnaie (later Quai de l’Unité), and then in 1805 to 60 Rue Vivienne.

    The Garde-Meuble de la Couronne, under the direction of sculptor Jean Hauré from 1786-88, entrusted him with many commissions. Galle collaborated with many excellent artisans, including Pierre-Philippe Thomire, and furnished the majority of the furnishing bronzes for the Château de Fontainebleau during the Empire. He received many other Imperial commissions, among them light fittings, figural clock cases, and vases for the palaces of Saint-Cloud, the Trianons, the Tuileries, Compiègne, and Rambouillet. He supplied several Italian palaces, such as Monte Cavallo, Rome and Stupinigi near Turin.

    In spite of his success, and due in part to his generous and lavish lifestyle, as well as to the failure of certain of his clients (such as the Prince Joseph Bonaparte) to pay what they owed, Galle often found himself in financial difficulty. Galle’s business was continued by his son after his death by his son, Gérard-Jean Galle (1788-1846). Today his work may be found in the world’s most important museums and collections, those mentioned above, as well as the Musée National du Château de Malmaison, the Musée Marmottan in Paris, the Museo de Reloges at Jerez de la Frontera, the Residenz in Munich, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.



    Schmit
    Jean-Nicolas Schmit (?-circa 1820)

    Rare Bisque Porcelain and Gilt Bronze Mantel Clock

    “The Two Naiads”

    Pendule397-04_BD_MAIL

    “Schmit à Paris”

    The Manufactory of Dihl et Guérhard, known as the “Manufactory of the Duke of Angoulême”

    Paris, late Louis XVI period, circa 1790

    Height41 Width44 Depth11.5

    The round white enamel dial, signed “Schmit à Paris”, indicates the Arabic numeral hours and fifteen-minute intervals by means of two pierced gilt bronze hands. It is fitted in an imitation marble bisque porcelain case (Wedgwood bisque), in shades of gray on a yellow ground. The case is adorned with finely chased matte and burnished gilt bronze mounts including waterleaf friezes and friezes of alternating round and oval beads. The portion of the case in which the hour and half-hour striking movement is housed features a plaque with a blue ground in which a child is lying on a dolphin. Two beautiful allegorical figures of naiads in classical draperies are leaning on the case. They hold urns from which water is pouring out, symbolizing the passing of Time. The shaped quadrangular base, with rounded corners, is decorated with reserves painted in shades of gray on a yellow background, with elegant scrolls and baskets containing fruits, grape vines, snakes and other figures. The front panel is centered by a cartouche bearing the words “Manufre de MM Guerhard et Dihl a Paris”. The clock is raised upon eight knurled feet.

    This magnificent clock is an excellent example of the inventiveness shown by certain Parisian clockmakers of the second half of the 18th century, who created works of great originality and outstanding quality using the most precious and costly materials. The present clock was made by a well-known Manufactory that was known as the “Manufacture du duc d’Angoulême” ; in 1781 its patron, the Duke of Angoulême, entrusted the factory to two groups of partners: Christophe Erasimus Dihl and the husband and wife team of the Guérhards. Under their direction the company became the main rival of the Sèvres Manufactory during the final years of the 18th century and the early years of the nineteenth century, during the reign of Napoleon. After the fall of the monarchy the manufactory created many new models, including unglazed groups and figures, which were especially popular when mounted as “large clocks in beautiful bisque” (Dictionnaire universel de la géographie commerçante, Tome V, p. 325; cited in R. de Plinval de Guillebon, Les biscuits de porcelaine de Paris XVIIIe-XIXe siècles, Editions Faton, Dijon, 2012, p. 199).

    The unusual and beautifully balanced composition of the present model made it a great success among influential Parisian connoisseurs of the time. Among the small number of similar clocks, which often present variations in the decoration of the base, all are signed by the clockmaker Schmit. One example was offered at Christie’s London on May 14, 1970, lot 40. A second clock is illustrated in P. Heuer and K. Maurice, European Pendulum Clocks, Decorative Instruments of Measuring Time, Munich, 1988, p. 59, fig. 94. One further such clock, today in a private collection, is illustrated in R. de Plinval de Guillebon, op.cit., Editions Faton, Dijon, 2012, p. 196.

    Jean-Nicolas Schmit (? - circa 1820)

    Jean-Nicolas Schmit is one of the most important Parisian clockmakers of the late 18th century and early 19th centuries. After becoming a master in August 1781, he opened a workshop in the rue Betizy and won immediate renown among connoisseurs. Dihl and Guérhard, the directors of the Duc d’Angoulême’s porcelain factory, were impressed by his movements and purchased the majority of their clock movements from him. Contemporary documents mention the clockmaker’s work as being in the collections of the greatest art enthusiasts of the period. Clocks by him are included in the probate inventory of Jean-Etienne-Marie de Portalis, made a conseiller d’état by Napoléon, and in that of the wife of Louis-Marie-Bretagne-Dominique de Rohan-Chabot, Duc de Rohan and cousin of King Louis XV.



    In the same category
    Furet  -  Coteau
    Jean-Baptiste-André Furet (circa 1720-1807)
    Joseph Coteau (1740-1801)

    Rare Gilt Bronze and White Marble Mantel Clock

    “The Vestal Virgins”

    Pendule410-04_HD_WEB

    “Furet à Paris”

    The Enamel Dial by Joseph Coteau

    Paris, Louis XVI period, circa 1785

    Height44 Width40 Depth12

    The round white enamel dial, signed “Furet à Paris” and “Coteau”, indicates the Arabic numeral hours and fifteen-minute intervals by means of two pierced gilt bronze hands. The hour and half hour striking movement, whose pendulum is adorned with a sun mask, is housed in a magnificent case sculpted from a block of white Carrara marble, which is adorned with matte-finished gilt bronze mounts. The clock is surmounted by a Cupid with warrior’s attributes, including a helmet, lance, shield, and quiver of arrows. On either side stand two female figures that represent vestal virgins. One, who is wearing a crown of roses, seems to be touching Cupid’s wing, while the other holds a flowering branch in her right hand. The quadrangular base, with rounded corners, features reserves that are adorned with laurel branches. On the façade there is a low-relief panel depicting putti musicians among the clouds. The clock is raised upon six sloping, molded feet.

    The remarkable composition of the present rare clock, and the exceptional quality of its sculptural group, make it one of the most elaborate and finest white marble clocks of its time. Sculpted from a single block of flawless Carrara marble, which was carefully selected by the sculptor, the group and the terrace form a single piece. This was a technical feat at the time and proves the artist’s great skill. The clock was probably sculpted by two artists, for we attribute it to the brothers Joseph (circa 1740-1807) and Jean-Baptiste-Ignace Broche (1741-1794). These renowned Parisian sculptors worked for several years at the Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory under the direction of Etienne-Maurice Falconet (1716-1791), who was one of the main proponents of neoclassicism during the second third of the 18th century (see the exhibition catalogue Falconet à Sèvres ou l’Art de plaire 1757-1766, Musée national de Céramique, Sèvres, RMN, Paris, 2001).

    Jean-Baptiste-André Furet (circa 1720 - 1807)

    One of the most important Parisian clockmakers of the reign of Louis XVI, he signed his work “Furet à Paris”. The son and grandson of clockmakers, he became a master on November 18, 1746 as a master’s son. He opened a workshop in the rue Saint-Honoré. He initially went into partnership with his father, subsequently taking over his father’s workshop, and soon gained renown among influential Parisian collectors of luxury horology. This allowed him to receive the title of Horloger Ordinaire du Roi pour sa Bibliothèque. Like other important Parisian clockmakers of the period, Furet worked with the finest artisans of the day, including the bronze casters Thomire, Vion and Blavet, the enameller Coteau, and the Broche brothers for sculpture.



    Joseph Coteau (1740 - 1801)

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



    Ravrio  -  Dubuisson
    André-Antoine Ravrio (1759-1814)
    Dubuisson (1731-1815)

    Important Gilt Bronze and White Carrara Marble Mantel Clock

    “The Chariot of Diana the Huntress”

    Pendule405-03_HD_WEB

    Probably David-Frédéric Dubois

    The Enamel Dial attributed to Etienne Gobin, known as Dubuisson

    The Case attributed to Antoine-André Ravrio

    Paris, début de l’époque Empire, vers 1805

    Height46 Width53.5 Depth16.5

    The blue enamel annular dial, signed “Dubois R.S.Hre N°207 à Paris”, indicates the Roman numeral hours in white cartouches and the outermost minutes graduation by means of two blued steel Breguet hands. It forms the wheel of a chariot that is drawn by two galloping greyhounds. In the chariot sits a beautiful female figure representing Diana as a huntress; dressed in classical draperies, she is about to shoot an arrow. The chariot is adorned with a roaring stag and a band of oak leaves and acorns. The terrace is decorated with oak branches and a hunting trophy. The quadrangular base with rounded corners is embellished with beadwork friezes and an openwork band of alternating palmettes and stylized leaves. The clock is raised upon six knurled toupie feet.

    The chariot motif was not used in Parisian clocks until the Empire period. This was no doubt due to the difficulty encountered by 18th century horologists when they attempted to integrate a clock movement and dial into such compositions. This ceased to be an obstacle when the artisans of the early years of the following century began to fit their dials into chariot wheels. The remarkable composition of the present clock model may be attributed to Antoine-André Ravrio, one of the most important Parisian bronziers of the Empire period. Today a small number of comparable clocks are known, most of the chariots being drawn by deer. One example, commissioned for Het Loo Palace in Apeldoorn, is in the Royal Dutch Collection in The Hague (illustrated in Royal Clocks in Paleis Het Loo, A Catalogue, 2003, p. 38). A second example, whose movement is signed “Armingault à Paris”, features a chariot drawn by only one deer (see P. Kjellberg, Encyclopédie de la pendule française du Moyen Age au XXe siècle, Paris, 1997, p. 419, fig. G). One further clock, which is identical to the present clock with the exception of its green marble base, is part of the collection of the Ecole d’Horlogerie in Dreux, while a second example is in the collection of the Hesse Castle in Darmstadt (see M. Gay and A. Lemaire, “Les pendules au char”, in Bulletin de l’Association nationale des Collectionneurs et Amateurs d’Horlogerie ancienne, Spring 1993, n° 66, p. 37).

    André-Antoine Ravrio (1759 - 1814)

    Made master bronzier in 1777, he is one of the most important Parisian bronze workers of the late 18th century and the early Empire period. Supplier of bronzes to the Imperial Garde-meuble, Ravrio helped furnish Napoleon’s residences, along with Thomire and Galle; he also worked for some of the most influential figures of the time, including Marshals of the Empire. Today certain of his works are in the collections of the Mobilier national in Paris.



    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.



    Bertrand  -  Rémond  -  Coteau
    Joseph-Charles-Paul Bertrand (1746-1789)
    François Rémond (circa 1747-1812)
    Joseph Coteau (1740-1801)
    Edmé-Portail Barbichon
    Dominique Daguerre

    Exceptional Mantel Clock made of White Marble and Gilt Bronze with Matte and Burnished Finishing

    Pendule392-07_HD_WEB

    The Bronzes Attributed to François Rémond

    The Dials by Joseph Coteau and Edmé-Protail Barbichon

    Most Probably Made under the Supervision of Dominique Daguerre

    Paris, Louis XVI period, circa 1785

    Height54.5 Width40.2 Depth12.5

    Provenance:

    Paris, private collection.

     

    The main white enamel annular dial, signed “Cles Bertrand Her de L’académie des Sciences”, 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. There is a central seconds hand. The main dial is flanked by two auxiliary annular dials that are beautifully decorated with painted enamel. One, painted by Barbichon, indicates the days of the week, with cartouches containing mythological and allegorical figures relating to the planets. The other dial, by Coteau, features the annual calendar with its months and days, along with oval cartouches bearing the corresponding zodiac signs. The magnificent case is made of white Carrara marble and finely chased gilt bronze with matte and burnished finishing. The drum case that contains the hour and half-hour striking movement is surmounted by an urn containing a bouquet of flowers and leaves; it is supported by two eagles whose bodies are composed of acanthus leaves and stand on two legs. In their beaks they hold garlands that adorn the sides of the two subsidiary dials; they wear headdresses with a feather emerging from a bouquet of veined leaves. The quadrangular base features concave molding that is adorned with a bead frieze; it is further decorated with slightly protruding panels that depict allegorical putti musicians among the clouds, treated in the manner of the sculptor Clodion. The clock is raised upon four feet with molded rings, which are decorated with fluting and leaves.

    The present clock stands out due to the extraordinary quality of its chasing and gilding, as well as its highly original composition, which shows the influence of Parisian designers of the time. One of the most talented among them was Jean-Démosthène Dugourc (1749-1825). Dugourc was one of the main proponents of the new avant-garde tendencies that dominated the French decorative arts during the last third of the 18th century. The clock may be considered one of the masterpieces of Parisian luxury clockmaking in the final third of the 18th century. To date, no identical clock has come to light, which would suggest it is a one-of-a-kind piece, probably specially ordered by one of the important Parisian connoisseurs of the time. That hypothesis is further supported by the fact that Joseph Coteau and Edmé-Protail Barbichon, two of the finest enamellers of the day, also worked on it, which occurred very rarely. This collaboration may have happened at the request of the commissioner, probably a powerful man who may have been impatient to complete the furnishing and decoration of his luxurious home in Paris.

    Joseph-Charles-Paul Bertrand (1746 - 1789)

    Joseph-Charles-Paul Bertrand, known as Charles Bertrand (Nettancourt 1746-Paris 1789) is one of the most important Parisian clockmakers of the reign of Louis XVI. After his apprenticeship with Eustache-François Houblin, he became a master on February 20, 1772, and opened a workshop in the rue Montmartre. Within just a few years, he had become famous for the excellence of his movements and received the title of Horloger de l’Académie Royale des Sciences. He specialized in skeleton clocks and clocks with complications, working with the finest artisans of the time. These incuded Knab for the cases, Barbichon, Coteau and Borel for the dials, and Jean-Joseph de Saint-Germain and François Vion for the bronzes. His wealthy clientele included financiers and important aristocrats such as the Marquise de Lambertye and Harenc de Presle. For the latter he made a fine vase-shaped clock that was described in April 1795 when his collection was sold: “A rich vase, of a lovely shape, with double-scroll handles, a lid, with garlands of roses, surmounted by a pinecone. In the middle of the vase and on the band there is a circle framed by imitation jewels, with a watch dial enameled by Charles Bertrand, the vase on a pedestal with sloping sides; it stands on a fluted column whose base is adorned with laurel toruses. Height 14 pouces, diameter 8”.

    Today, clocks by this horologist may be found in important collections around the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Musée National des Techniques in Paris and the Walters Art Gallery in Baltimore.



    François Rémond (circa 1747 - 1812)

    Along with Pierre Gouthière, he was one of the most important Parisian chaser-gilders of the last third of the 18th century. He began his apprenticeship in 1763 and became a master chaser-gilder in 1774. His great talent quickly won him a wealthy clientele, including certain members of the Court. Through the marchand-mercier Dominique Daguerre, François Rémond was involved in furnishing the homes of most of the important collectors of the late 18th century, supplying them with exceptional clock cases, firedogs, and candelabra. These elegant and innovative pieces greatly contributed to his fame.



    Joseph Coteau (1740 - 1801)

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



    Edmé-Portail Barbichon

    Edmé-Portail Barbichon was a fine enamellist, active during the latter half of the eighteenth century. His name is always associated with the finest clocks and makers, including Ferdinand Berthoud and Charles Bertrand.



    Dominique Daguerre

    Dominique Daguerre is the most important marchand-mercier (i.e. merchant of luxury objects) of the last quarter of the 18th century. Little is known about the early years of his career; he appears to have begun to exercise his profession around 1772, the year he went into partnership with Philippe-Simon Poirier (1720-1785), the famous marchand-mercier who began using porcelain plaques from the Manufacture royale de Sèvres to adorn pieces of furniture. When Poirier retired around 1777-1778, Daguerre took over the shop in the rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, keeping the name “La Couronne d’Or”. He retained his predecessor’s clientele, and significantly increased the shop’s activity within just a few years. He played an important role in the renewal of the Parisian decorative arts, working with the finest cabinetmakers of the day, including Adam Weisweiler, Martin Carlin and Claude-Charles Saunier, cabinetmaker of the Garde-Meuble de la Couronne, Georges Jacob, the bronziers and chaser-gilders Pierre-Philippe Thomire and François Rémond, and the clockmaker Renacle-Nicolas Sotiau. A visionary merchant who brought the level of French luxury goods to its highest point, Daguerre settled in England in the early 1780’s, having gone into partnership with Martin-Eloi Lignereux, who remained in charge of the Paris shop. In London, where he enjoyed the patronage of the Prince Regent (the future King George IV), Daguerre actively participated in the furnishing and decoration of Carlton House and the Brighton Pavilion. Taking advantage of his extensive network of Parisian artisans, he imported most of the furniture, chairs, mantelpieces, bronze furnishings, and art objects from France, billing over 14500£, just for 1787. Impressed by Daguerre’s talent, several British aristocrats, called on his services as well. Count Spencer engaged him for the decoration of Althorp, where Daguerre worked alongside architect Henry Holland (1745-1806). In Paris, Daguerre and his partner Lignereux continued to supply influential connoisseurs and to deliver magnificent pieces of furniture to the Garde-Meuble de la Couronne, which were placed in the apartments of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette. Daguerre retired in 1793, no doubt deeply affected by the French Revolution and the loss of many of his most important clients.



    Voisin
    Antoine-Henri Voisin (1733-circa 1815)

    Rare White Marble and Gilt Bronze Clock with Matte and Burnished Finishing

    “Mercury and Venus”

    Pendule399-03_HD_WEB

    “Henry Voisin”

    Paris, Louis XVI period, circa 1780

    Height46.5 Width43 Depth17

    The round white enamel dial, signed “Henry Voisin”, indicates the Roman numeral hours and the Arabic numeral five-minute intervals by means of two pierced gilt bronze hands. The hour and half-hour striking movement is housed in a white Carrara marble and finely chased gilt bronze case with matte and burnished finishing. The clock is surmounted by the figure of Mercury, with wings at his heels; he is wearing a petasos hat with a wide, rounded brim, which is a symbol of travelers, of whom he is a protector. At the feet of the young god there is a caduceus, lying on clouds; he holds an open book engraved with poetic verses relating to Art, which is being examined by a young woman in classical draperies who represents Venus; at her feet lie a crown and branch. The shaped quadrangular base with rounded corners is adorned with alternating egg and dart friezes and flowers; it is further decorated with reserves with rosettes, and leafy scrolls with flowers and birds’ heads. The clock is raised upon four robust architectural feet that are adorned with beribboned laurel toruses and gadrooning.

    The elegant composition of the present rare clock illustrates a theme that was favored by contemporary clockmakers: the goddess Venus accompanied by another god. Many examples may be found in both sculpture and painting, as well as in the decorative arts, in which the goddess of Love is depicted in various positions and attitudes, often accompanied by the young Cupid, and occasionally by Mercury.

    Among the small number of identical clocks known to exist, one example, whose dial is signed “Béliard fils à Paris”, is in the Musée du Louvre in Paris (Inv. OA9508). A second example, whose dial is signed “Imbert l’aîné”, is in the Munich Residenz; it is illustrated in H. Ottomeyer and P. Pröschel, Vergoldete Bronzen, Die Bronzearbeiten des Spätbarock und Klassizismus, Munich, 1986, Volume I, p. 248, fig. 4.6.14 (see also E. Niehüser, Die französische Bronzeuhr, Eine Typologie der figürlichen Darstellungen, Munich, 1997, p. 50, fig. 61).

    Antoine-Henri Voisin (1733 - circa 1815)

    Better known as Henry Voisin, he was one of the most important Parisian clockmakers of the second half of the 18th century. The son of clockmaker Charles Voisin (1685-1761), he went into partnership with his father and then opened his own workshop, becoming one of the most renowned clockmakers of the French capital within just a few years. In the final years of the 18th century and the early years of the following century, certain of his clocks were mentioned as being the property of important Parisian connoisseurs. These include clocks mentioned in the inventories of Madeleine-Françoise-Louise-Elisabeth de Lorraine, Princess de Marsan, the Marshal of France Charles Duke of Fitzjames (in his wife’s probate inventory), the famous printer Pierre Didot, called “the elder”, and Victurnien-Bonaventure-Victor de Rochechouart, Marquis de Mortemart.



    In the same category
    Rémond  -  Daguerre
    François Rémond (circa 1747-1812)
    Dominique Daguerre

    Important Marble and Gilt, Patinated and Silvered Bronze Mantel Clock, known as “L’Étude” (Study)

    Pendule388-03_HD_WEB

    The Case attributed to Bronze Caster François Rémond

    The Figures After Models by Sculptor Louis-Simon Boizot

    Probably made under the Supervision of Dominique Daguerre

    Paris, Louis XVI period, circa 1785

    Height56 Width60 Depth20

    The white enamel ring dial indicates the hours, fifteen-minute intervals and Arabic numeral date by means of three hands, two of which are made of pierced and gilt bronze. It also indicates the seconds by means of a central blued steel seconds hand. The visible skeleton movement is fitted in a finely chased case of gilt and patinated and bronze, and white Carrara marble; the case is also partially silvered, and features matte finishing. The arched summit of the case is adorned with two cornucopias and an allegorical group depicting the abduction of Ganymede by Zeus, in the form of an eagle. The drum case housing the movement is supported on a truncated fluted column whose base is adorned with laurel leaves; it is flanked by two consoles with rams’ heads emerging from acanthus leaf scrolls. Two figures are seated on either side on rectangular terraces. They depict a young man writing on a tablet with a stylus, and opposite, a young woman reading a book that she holds open on her knees. The beautiful quadrangular shaped architectural base is adorned with applied motifs including mascarons from which hang ribbon-tied garlands of leaves and flowers, as well as leaves, rosettes, spiral friezes, and bead and waterleaf friezes. On the façade, a covered urn decorated with gadrooning, whose handles are decorated with the heads of fantastic animals stands in a niche; it is embellished with interlacing silvered snakes. The clock is raised upon six knurled feet.

    Often erroneously called “Arts and Letters”, “Study and Philosophy”, “aux Maréchaux” or “The Readers”, this clock model is referred to exclusively as “L’Etude” (“Study”) in the commercial correspondence between the chaser-gilder François Rémond and the marchand-mercier Dominique Daguerre (the most important merchant of luxury objects during the reign of Louis XVI). The preparatory drawing for the clock, annotated by Rémond, was offered at auction in Paris in February 1981 (illustrated in H. Ottomeyer and P. Pröschel, Vergoldete Bronzen, Die Bronzearbeiten des Spätbarock und Klassizismus, Band I, Munich, 1986, p. 295, fig. 4.17.5). The composition, created as of 1784, derived directly from two figures executed in 1776 by sculptor Louis-Simon Boizot (1743-1809) for the Royal Sèvres Manufactory, which represented a young woman reading and a young man writing, known as “study” and “philosophy”; see a Sèvres bisque piece that is now part of the Jones collection in the Victoria & Albert Museum in London (illustrated in H. Ottomeyer and P. Pröschel, op.cit., Band I, Munich, 1986, p. 294, fig. 4.17.2). These figures were used by Daguerre, who asked Rémond to depict them leaning against a case containing a horological movement that was surmounted by an eagle; this became one of the most successful neoclassical clocks, which was characteristic of the Parisian decorative arts during the latter part of the reign of Louis XVI. It met with immediate success among influential collectors of the time.

    Today, the known examples of this model include many variations in the general composition; they may be found in many important public and private collections around the world. Among them, one example, whose dial is signed “Dubuc jeune”, is in the Quirinal Palace in Rome (illustrated in A. Gonzales-Palacios, Il patrimonio artistico del Quirinale, Gli Arredi francesi, Milan, 1996, p. 308, n° 89). A second is in the Salon des Aides de camp in the Elysée Palace (see M. and Y. Gay, “Du Pont d’Iéna à l’Elysée”, in Bulletin de l’association nationale des collectionneurs et amateurs d’horlogerie ancienne (ANCAHA), summer 1993, n° 67, p. 12). A third, whose dial is signed “Mercier à Paris”, was in the collection of the Banque de France in Paris (illustrated in M. and Y. Gay, “L’ANCAHA à la Banque de France”, in Bulletin ANCAHA, summer 1995, n° 73, p. 76). A fourth, which was probably formerly in the collection of King Louis XVI, is illustrated in C. Baulez, “Les bronziers Gouthière, Thomire et Rémond”, in the exhibition catalogue Louis-Simon Boizot 1743-1809, Sculpteur du roi et directeur de l’atelier de sculpture à la Manufacture de Sèvres, Paris, 2001, p. 287, fig. 9. Three similar clocks are in the Royal Spanish Collection (see J. Ramon Colon de Carvajal, Catalogo de relojes del Patrimonio nacional, Madrid, 1987, p. 62, 64 and 92), while three other examples are in the Royal British Collection (shown in C. Jagger, Royal Clocks, The British Monarchy and its Timekeepers 1300-1900, London, 1983, p. 211-212).

    François Rémond (circa 1747 - 1812)

    Along with Pierre Gouthière, he was one of the most important Parisian chaser-gilders of the last third of the 18th century. He began his apprenticeship in 1763 and became a master chaser-gilder in 1774. His great talent quickly won him a wealthy clientele, including certain members of the Court. Through the marchand-mercier Dominique Daguerre, François Rémond was involved in furnishing the homes of most of the important collectors of the late 18th century, supplying them with exceptional clock cases, firedogs, and candelabra. These elegant and innovative pieces greatly contributed to his fame.



    Dominique Daguerre

    Dominique Daguerre is the most important marchand-mercier (i.e. merchant of luxury objects) of the last quarter of the 18th century. Little is known about the early years of his career; he appears to have begun to exercise his profession around 1772, the year he went into partnership with Philippe-Simon Poirier (1720-1785), the famous marchand-mercier who began using porcelain plaques from the Manufacture royale de Sèvres to adorn pieces of furniture. When Poirier retired around 1777-1778, Daguerre took over the shop in the rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, keeping the name “La Couronne d’Or”. He retained his predecessor’s clientele, and significantly increased the shop’s activity within just a few years. He played an important role in the renewal of the Parisian decorative arts, working with the finest cabinetmakers of the day, including Adam Weisweiler, Martin Carlin and Claude-Charles Saunier, cabinetmaker of the Garde-Meuble de la Couronne, Georges Jacob, the bronziers and chaser-gilders Pierre-Philippe Thomire and François Rémond, and the clockmaker Renacle-Nicolas Sotiau. A visionary merchant who brought the level of French luxury goods to its highest point, Daguerre settled in England in the early 1780’s, having gone into partnership with Martin-Eloi Lignereux, who remained in charge of the Paris shop. In London, where he enjoyed the patronage of the Prince Regent (the future King George IV), Daguerre actively participated in the furnishing and decoration of Carlton House and the Brighton Pavilion. Taking advantage of his extensive network of Parisian artisans, he imported most of the furniture, chairs, mantelpieces, bronze furnishings, and art objects from France, billing over 14500£, just for 1787. Impressed by Daguerre’s talent, several British aristocrats, called on his services as well. Count Spencer engaged him for the decoration of Althorp, where Daguerre worked alongside architect Henry Holland (1745-1806). In Paris, Daguerre and his partner Lignereux continued to supply influential connoisseurs and to deliver magnificent pieces of furniture to the Garde-Meuble de la Couronne, which were placed in the apartments of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette. Daguerre retired in 1793, no doubt deeply affected by the French Revolution and the loss of many of his most important clients.