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Thématiques: Cage Clock

  • Manière
    Charles-Guillaume Hautemanière (?-1834)

    A Rare Gilt Bronze Desk Cage Clock with Perpetual Calendar


    Charles-Guillaume Hautemanière, known as Manière

    Paris, Empire period, circa 1805-1810

    Height43.5 cm Width24.5 cm Depth15.5 cm

    The round white enamel dial, signed “Manière à Paris”, indicates the Roman numeral hours, the Arabic numeral fifteen-minute intervals, the date, the days of the week along with their respective astrological signs, and the months, by means of five hands, two of which are in pierced gilt bronze and three of which are in blued steel. The hour and half hour striking movement has a compensated bimetallic pendulum has a heavy round bob that improves the precision of the movement. The neoclassical architectural case has glazed sides. The slightly protruding cornice is adorned with a stylized waterleaf frieze; it supports a molded entablature and rests on four fluted pillars with molded capitals and bases. It is adorned with cut-out panels: on the façade, two winged horses whose scaly tails are wrapped around branches with a central motif featuring a flower that is flanked by scrolls, and on the sides, framed arches with putti musicians. The dial surmounts a delicate drapery which issues an arabesque motif with palmettes and volutes and is framed by figures of Fame playing the trumpet. The rectangular terrace is centered by an oval motif with radiating fluting. The quadrangular base with protruding corners is adorned with applied lozenges, facing griffons with acanthus leaf tails, round mascarons with petal borders and a molded plinth.

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    The unusual composition of the present rare desk clock was inspired by certain clocks and desk regulators that were made in Paris during the last two decades of the 18th century. However, its architectural design, in the form of an Arc de Triomphe, bears testimony to the Emperor’s influence on the decorative arts of the time and his desire to commemorate the victories of the Grande Armée. Among the small number of comparable clocks known today, one example, made by “Lepaute à Paris 1807”, is in the collection of the Mobilier National in Paris (shown in M-F. Dupuy-Baylet, Pendule du Mobilier national 1800-1870, Editions Faton, Dijon, 2006, p. 91, catalogue n° 35). A second clock is on display in the Château of  Fontainebleau (see J-P. Samoyault, Musée national du Château de Fontainebleau, Catalogue des collections de mobilier, 1. Pendules et bronzes d’ameublement entrés sous le Premier Empire, RMN, Paris, 1989, p. 69, catalogue n° 32). There are two further clocks that are identical to the present one: the first, whose dial is signed “Thiéry à Paris”, is illustrated in P. Kjellberg, Encyclopédie de la pendule française du Moyen Age au XXe siècle, Paris, 1997, p. 373. The second, whose dial is signed “Laguesse à Paris” and which is surmounted by an allegorical figure, was formerly in the collection of “Au Balancier de Cristal” (illustrated in Tardy, La pendule française, 2ème Partie : Du Louis XVI à nos jours, Paris, 1974, p. 397).

    Charles-Guillaume Hautemanière (? - 1834)

    Charles-Guillaume Hautemanière, known as Manière (mort à Paris en 1834) is one of the most important Parisian clockmakers of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, he became a Master on May 1, 1778, and opened a workshop in the rue du Four-Saint-Honoré. He immediately became famous among connoisseurs of fine horology. Throughout his career, Manière sourced his clock cases from the best Parisian bronze casters and chasers, including Pierre-Philippe Thomire, François Rémond, Edmé Roy and Claude Galle. Marchands-merciers such as Dominique Daguerre and Martin-Eloi Lignereux called upon him to make clocks for the most influential collectors of the time, including the Prince de Salm, the banker Perregaux and the financier Micault de Courbeton, all three of whom were collectors of fine and rare horological pieces. Today, his clocks are found in the most important international private and public collections, including the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, the Musée national du château de Fontainebleau, the Quirinal Palace in Rome, the Nissim de Camondo Museum in Paris and the Musée national du château de Versailles et des Trianons.


    Rare Gilt Bronze Desk Cage Clock with Moon Phases


    “Mennessier à Paris

    Paris, Directoire period, circa 1795

    Height42.5 cm Width26.5 cm Depth17.5 cm

    The enamel dial, signed Mennessier à Paris, indicates the hours, minutes and date in Arabic numerals, as well as the days of the week and the moon phases on a blue enamel ground studded with gold stars. The superb glazed architectural case is in finely chased gilt bronze. The arched pediment is ornamented with gadrooning and beading, with four pinecone finials; a pierced and fringed drapery hangs under the dial; the sides are composed of finely fluted pilasters with moulded bases and capitals. The stepped rectangular base is adorned with a pierced palmette and leaf frieze.

    The elegant composition of this cage clock bears witness to the aesthetic explorations of Parisian bronziers and clockmakers of the last quarter of the 18th century. As of the mid-century a new artistic current, encouraged by artists and influential collectors, drew inspiration from recent events such as the discoveries of the ancient Roman cities of Pompey and Herculaneum. Enthusiastic collectors such as the Count of Caylus and Ange-Laurent Lalive de Jully gave a new impulse to the French decorative arts, still marked by the rococo style in vogue during the Louis XV period. Influenced by the forms and decorative vocabulary of Greek and Roman antiquity, the new Neo-classical style favoured pure lines and classical motifs such as the antique borne or cippus that gives its form to the present clock. The new style showcased the skill of the period’s remarkable artisans, as well as the mastery of many different materials.

    Among the comparable examples known, two slightly later models feature chasing of lesser quality. The first, signed Carcel jeune, is illustrated in P. Kjellberg, Encyclopédie de la pendule française du Moyen Age à nos jours, Paris, 1997, p. 184; a second clock was delivered in September 1807 to the Fontainebleau Palace by Lepaute, uncle and nephew; it is still in the Fontainebleau collection. (see J-P. Samoyault, Musée national du château de Fontainebleau, Catalogue des collections de mobilier, 1. Pendules et bronze d’ameublement entrés sous le Premier Empire, RMN, Paris, 1989, p. 65, catalogue n° 26). An identical clock signed Revel was formerly in the collection of Peter Zervudachi; another signed Lepaute is in a private collection (illustrated in P. Heuer and K. Maurice, European Pendulum Clocks, Decorative Instruments of measuring Time, Munich, 1988, p. 65, fig. 108).


    The clockmaker Mennessier is not mentioned in horological dictionaries and despite investigations in the Archives Nationales, we were unable to discover anything more about him. His promising career appears to have been cut short by the Revolution.

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