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Thématiques: Moon Phases

  • 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.



    Martinet  -  Coteau
    Hubert Martinet
    Joseph Coteau (1740-1801)
    Jean-Baptiste Petit

    Exceptional Finely Chased Gilt and Matte Bronze and White Carrara Marble Astronomical Mantel Clock

    Pendule355-05_HD_WEB

    Attributed to Hubert Martinet

    Sold by Jean-Baptiste Petit

    The enamels attributed to Joseph Coteau

    Paris, Louis XVI period, circa 1775-1780

    Height51 Width48.5 Depth13.2

    The main white enamel dial, signed “J. Bte Petit”, indicates the Arabic numeral hours and fifteen-minute intervals by means of two pierced gilt bronze hands. A third blued steel hand indicates the months and their respective zodiac signs, within an outermost interlacing flower and leaf garland. Two round auxiliary dials, one on each side, indicate respectively the date and the days of the week with their corresponding astrological signs, by means of two blued steel pointers. A fourth dial, placed above the main dial, shows the four seasons, personified by four allegorical polychrome female figures; it is surmounted by a blue enamel dial with gold stars, which indicates the age and phases of the moon. The movement is housed in a magnificent white Carrara marble and bronze case; the bronze mounts are finely chased and gilt with matte and burnished finishing. The clock is surmounted by an Apollo’s mask with sunrays. The four main dials, within beadwork frames, are attached to a lobed plate that is adorned with rose branches. Beneath the main dial, a flower and leaf garland hangs from three roundels. The front and back plates are linked by tabs adorned with flaming urns. The plates, between which the mechanism is fitted, rest on two fluted and rudented columns that have molded bases and capitals featuring pedestals with gadrooned toruses. On either side stand two small truncated columns, also fluted and rudented, with molded bases; they support two statuettes: a lightly draped girl holding sheaves of wheat, and a boy with a hunting horn. The quadrangular base, whose terrace is decorated with matte and burnished lozenges, is adorned with a beadwork frieze and is raised upon four feet with gadrooned friezes.

    Although the present exceptional astronomical clock bears the signature of the clockmaker Jean-Baptiste Petit, he was the merchant who sold the clock on the Parisian art market. The clock may be confidently attributed to clockmaker Hubert Martinet, one of the most talented and mysterious French artisans of the second half of the 18th century. Martinet appears to have owned the rights to his own clock models, which he sold in Paris and London. This facilitates the identification of his work, which seems to have been limited to only a handful of models that the clockmaker produced with several variations. The present model appears to have been one of the most successful, being appreciated by many of the influential horological collectors of the time. Martinet seems to have made only a few examples of it. Among them, one similar clock that was made for the English market and has two thermometers, one filled with mercury and the other alcohol, was offered on the Swiss market (illustrated in D. Roberts, Continental and American Skeleton Clocks, Editions Schiffer, 1989, p. 20-21, fig. 9). A second example, with identical dials but a much less elaborate design, is in the porcelain room of the Bordeaux Museum of Decorative Arts (Daniel Astruc bequest in 1953; Inv. 53.9.14). One further similar clock, also featuring two white Carrara marble allegorical figures on either side, is in the Paris Musée des Arts et Métiers (inventory number 01406-0000); it is much smaller (31 centimeters) and its overall design and bronze mounts are much less elaborate. It bears the signature “Martinet London” on two enamel medallions on the front plate.

     

    Concerning the signature of the clockmaker Petit, Geoffroy de Bellaigue discovered a document in the Archives de la Seine that documents Martinet’s bankruptcy on June 7, 1777 (see The James A. de Rothschild at Waddesdon Manor, 1974, Volume I, p. 141). It is likely that that temporary financial setback, which Martinet encountered in the late 1770s, led him to cede a portion of his stock to some of his creditors. Thus, Jean-Baptiste Petit was probably able to acquire the present clock at that time. It was most likely already finished; the clockmaker would only have had to ask an enameler to place his signature on the main dial.

    Hubert Martinet

    Hubert Martinet was one of the most important Parisian artisans of the last third of the 18th century. Active in Paris and London as of 1768, he quickly gained renown due to his exceptional talent. He created some of the most elaborate clock models of the period, including several automaton clocks with elephants, a spectacular example of which was formerly in the Rothschild collection and is now in Waddesdon Manor near London (see G. de Bellaigue, The James A. de Rothschild at Waddesdon Manor, London, 1974). The fact that the clockmaker sold his creations in the two most important European capitals of the time suggests he was a shrewd businessman who knew how to adapt his production to the desires of the important collectors of the time. However, despite his success, Martinet seems to have encountered financial problems in the late 1770s; an inventory of his stock was drawn up in Paris for his bankruptcy proceedings. Nevertheless he continued to work until long after the Revolution, since upon his divorce in the mid 1790s, he was still described as a clockmaker. Lastly, Martinet was not simply an artisan, but was often called a “marchand-mercier” or clockmaker, as well as an inventor and “artiste mécanicien”, which indicates his many-faceted personality and suggests that more remains to be discovered concerning his role in the development of the decorative arts in Europe during the last third of the 18th century.



    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).



    Jean-Baptiste Petit

    Jean-Baptiste Petit became a master horologist in Paris in 1781.



    In the same category
    Ridel  -  Coteau
    Laurent Ridel
    Joseph Coteau (1740-1801)

    Exceptional Gilt Bronze, Enamel, and Carrara Marble Three-Dial Skeleton Clock with Complications and Matte and Burnished Finishing

    Pendule348-08_HD_WEB

    The Enamels by Joseph Coteau

    France, Directory period, circa 1795

    Height52 Width29 Depth15

    The main white enamel ring dial reveals a portion of the finely finished mechanism. It indicates the Arabic numeral hours, fifteen-minute intervals, and Republican date graduated from 1 to 30, by means of three hands, two of which are made of pierced and gilt bronze, and one of which is of blued steel. It also indicates the days of the week and their corresponding zodiac signs by means of a central hand. A second white enamel ring dial, set under the first, designates the months with their corresponding number of days; it is elaborately decorated with crossed torches, flowering branches, wheat sheaves and grape vines, symbolizing the four seasons. A third dial, placed in the upper portion of the clock, indicates the age and phases of the moon on two enamel discs, one of which is adorned with an oval medallion with a central altar. The eight-day going movement, with outer count wheel, two barrels, and knife-edge suspension, strikes the hours and half hours. The pendulum is adorned with a magnificent Apollo mask surrounded by sunrays.

    The three dials are fitted within a framework that is painted on enamel with a blue background, featuring gold, silver, and translucent highlights in the form of leaf scrolls and arabesques, and beadwork flowers. The façade features a central cartouche bearing the signature “Ridel à Paris”. The clock is elaborately embellished with chased and engine-turned gilt bronze mounts, including bead friezes and cord motifs. The four curved arches are set on tall, truncated columns with molded bases. The quadrangular white Carrara marble base is decorated with a delicate frieze of alternating round and elongated beads; its façade is adorned with a panel in the manner of Clodion, depicting putti. The clock is raised upon five toupie feet with engine turned decoration.

    Discover our entire collection of antique skeleton clocks for sale online or at the gallery.

    The first skeleton clocks appeared during the final decade of the 18th century. These clocks featured an elegant, sober design, with a main ring dial that revealed the delicate and complex movement and its lovely and elaborate wheel trains. These movements were produced by the finest European clockmakers, including several Parisian horologists. The new esthetic trend was influenced on the one hand by clock collectors’ interest in the extraordinary technical progress that had taken place since the mid 18th century, and on the other hand by the increasing lack of demand for clocks adorned with Allegorical figures from classical mythology. The present clock was made within that particular context; its sophisticated design is on a par with that of the finest French clocks made during the final decade of the 18th century.

    Among the small number of comparable clocks, one example with four dials is in the Royal Spanish Collection (see J. Ramon Colon de Carvajal, Catalogo de Relojes del Patrimonio nacional, Madrid, 1987, p. 95, catalogue n° 78). A second clock, in a private collection, is illustrated in the exhibition catalogue La Révolution dans la mesure du Temps, Calendrier républicain heure décimale 1793-1805, Musée international d’Horlogerie, La Chaux-de-Fonds, 1989, p. 58, catalogue n° 19. A third clock, signed “Folin l’aîné à Paris”, is in the Getty Museum in Malibu (illustrated in G. Wilson and C. Hess, Summary Catalogue of European Decorative Arts in the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, 2001, p. 74, fig. 145). One further similar clock, whose dial is signed “Laguesse à Liège” with enamels by Joseph Coteau that are dated 1796, is in Pavlovsk Palace in Saint Petersburg (see E. Ducamp, Pavlovsk, Les Collections, 1993, p. 186, pl. 17). One final example, nearly identical to the present clock, which also bears the signature of Laurent Ridel, has enamels by Joseph Coteau that are dated 1796 and indicates the Republican date. It is in the François Duesberg Museum in Mons (see Musée François Duesberg, Arts décoratifs 1775-1825, Brussels, 2004, p. 103).

    Laurent Ridel

    Laurent Ridel, one of the most important Parisian clockmakers of the late 18th century and the early years of the 19th century, signed his works “Ridel à Paris”. Although the date at which he became a master is not known, we know he opened a workshop in the rue aux Ours and quickly became successful among Parisian collectors of luxury horology. Like all the finest clockmakers of the period, Ridel obtained his cases from the best artisans of the day, including the bronziers Feuchère, Denière and Deverberie, the enamelers Coteau and Merlet, and the spring maker Monginot l’aîné. He soon gained a wealthy and discerning clientele, among them Jean-Marie Chamboissier, the jeweler Louis-Nicolas Duchesne, and Mesdames de France – the daughters of Louis XV – for whom Ridel made a clock in 1789 that was intended for their palace in Bellevue.



    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).



    Isabel & Délas  -  Coteau
    Isabel et Délas
    Joseph Coteau (1740-1801)

    Rare Enamel, Gilt Bronze and White Carrara Marble Skeleton Clock

    Pendule190_04

    « Isabel & Délas »

    The Enamels Attributed to Joseph Coteau

    France, Directory period, circa 1795

    Height61 Width31.3 Depth14.8

    The main enamel ring dial, with a star-strewn blue enameled border, reveals a portion of the movement’s finely cut gears. It indicates the Roman numeral hours and the Arabic numeral minute graduations and revolutionary date, graduated from 1 to 30, by means of three hands, two made of pierced gilt bronze and the third of blued steel. A second white enamel dial, with a central blue enameled disc is set under the main dial; it indicates the days of the week, by means of a blued steel hand. A third dial, surmounting the other two, indicates the age and phases of the moon on two enamel discs. The two-barrel eight-day going movement, with outer count wheel and knife-edge suspension, strikes the hours and half hours on a bell. The pendulum is in the form of a magnificent Apollo mask with radiating sunrays.

    The three dials are set within a framework adorned with blue enamel decorated with gold ad silver motifs, including rosettes centered by green cabochons. A shaped cartouche bears the signature “Isabel & Délas à Rouen”. The clock is elaborately adorned with finely chased gilt bronze mounts and is surmounted by a flaming urn with handles that is adorned with an applied fleur de lys. The framework is decorated with knurled molding, seeded laurel branches, and two ribbon-tied olive branches. It rests on two arches that are set on square columns, whose capitals and bases have cutout corners, and are decorated with masks of Mercury. The clock rests on a quadrangular white marble base that is adorned with a beaded frieze and whose façade has a reserve with a frieze of alternating palmettes and stylized stems. The clock is raised upon four knurled and gadrooned toupie feet.

    Discover our entire collection of antique skeleton clocks for sale online or at the gallery.

    Skeleton clocks first appeared during the last decade of the 18th century. This type of clock features a simple uncluttered design, with a main annular dial that reveals the beauty of the movement and its gear trains, and the complexity of the mechanisms. These were made by the finest clockmakers in Europe, most of whom worked in Paris. The new esthetic style grew partially out of clock lovers’ admiration for the extraordinary technical progress made during the 18th century, as well as from an increasing lack of interest in allegorical clocks depicting Greek and Roman mythological figures. The present clock, made within this context, features an elegant and luxurious design that typifies the best of the French decorative arts during the final decade of the 18th century.

    Among the small number of similar clocks known, one example with four dials is in the Royal Spanish Collections (see J. Ramon Colon de Carvajal, Catalogo de Relojes del Patrimonio nacional, Madrid, 1987, p. 95, catalogue n° 78). A second clock, with enamels by Joseph Coteau, is in the Musée François Duesberg in Mons (illustrated in Musée François Duesberg, Arts décoratifs 1775-1825, Brussels, 2004, p.103). A third clock, on display in the Musée Carnavalet in Paris, is illustrated in the exhibition catalogue La Révolution dans la mesure du Temps, Calendrier républicain heure décimale 1793-1805, Musée international d’Horlogerie, La Chaux-de-Fonds, 1989, p. 95. A fourth example, signed “Folin l’aîné à Paris”, is in the Getty Museum in Malibu (illustrated in G. Wilson and C. Hess, Summary Catalogue of European Decorative Arts in the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, 2001, p. 74, fig. 145). One further similar clock, whose dial is signed “Laguesse à Liège” and whose enamels by Joseph Coteau are dated 1796, is on display in the Pavlovsk Palace in Saint Petersburg (see E. Ducamp, Pavlovsk, Les Collections, 1993, p. 186, pl. 17).

    Isabel et Délas

    This signature probably refers to the partnership between Monsieur Isabel, a clockmaker who was active in Rouen during the late 18th century – who may be the same M. Isabelle who in 1802 exhibited a system for compensating for the effect of temperature variations on the rate of clocks – and of Jacques Délas, a clockmaker born in Rouen in 1752, whose marriage took place in that city forty years later (see Tardy, Dictionnaire des horlogers français, Paris, 1971, pp. 170 and 318).



    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).



    Ridel  -  Coteau
    Laurent Ridel
    Joseph Coteau (1740-1801)

    Rare Gilt Bronze, Enamel, and White Carrara Marble Skeleton Clock

    APF_Pendule148_07

    The Enamels Attributed to Joseph Coteau (1740-1801)

    Paris, Directory period, circa 1795

    Height53 Width28 Depth12

    The main white enamel chapter ring, revealing the intricately cut wheels of the mechanism, is graduated with the Arabic numeral hours, fifteen-minute intervals, and date, which are indicated by means of four hands, two made of pierced gilt brass and two of blued steel. A blued steel Breguet hand points to the days of the week and their corresponding Zodiac signs, along the outer edge. A third dial in the clock’s upper portion indicates the phases and age of the moon on an enameled disk, featuring a grisaille-painted moon against a starry blue sky. The main ring dial reveals the eight-day movement through its centre, with outer count wheel, two barrels, a pin pallet escapement, and knife-edge suspension. The hours and half hours are struck on a bell. The pendulum features a magnificent Apollo mask with radiating sunrays.

    Discover our entire collection of antique skeleton clocks for sale online or at the gallery.

    The frame is painted on enamel with a dark blue ground, with swags of flowers and foliage, and features four oval medallions, two depicting doves and rose wreaths, and the other two decorated with scenes related to the theme of Cupid and Venus. A central cartouche bears the clockmaker’s name: Ridel à Paris”. The clock is elaborately adorned with finely chased gilt bronze mounts. Surmounting it, an eagle with spread wings, holding a thunderbolt in its claws, represents the god Jupiter. The frame is further decorated with cornucopias, fluting, beading, flower and leaf wreaths, and stylized rosettes and palmettes. The quadrangular white marble base is adorned with friezes; the one on the façade, after the sculptor Clodion, depicts putti among clouds. The clock is raised on four knurled gilt bronze toupie feet.

    Among the small number of known comparable clocks, one skeleton clock with enamels by Joseph Coteau is today in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris (illustrated in Tardy, Les Plus Belles Pendules Françaises, 1994, p. 206, pl. XLII). A second clock, also signed “Ridel à Paris”, with enamels by Joseph Coteau that are dated 1796 and a similar Clodion-inspired frieze, is in the Musée François Duesberg in Mons (see Pierre Kjellberg, Encyclopédie de la Pendule Française du Moyen Age au XXe Siècle, 1997, p. 319, pl. B). A third clock is illustrated in Johann Willsberger, Clocks and Watches, 600 Years of the World’s Most Beautiful Timepieces, 1975. One further similar clock, whose dial is signed Laguesse à Liège and whose enamels, dated 1796, are by Joseph Coteau, is displayed in the Pavlovsk Palace in Saint Petersburg (E. Ducamp, Pavlovsk, Les Collections, 1993, p. 186, pl. 17).

    Laurent Ridel

    Laurent Ridel, one of the most important Parisian clockmakers of the late 18th century and the early years of the 19th century, signed his works “Ridel à Paris”. Although the date at which he became a master is not known, we know he opened a workshop in the rue aux Ours and quickly became successful among Parisian collectors of luxury horology. Like all the finest clockmakers of the period, Ridel obtained his cases from the best artisans of the day, including the bronziers Feuchère, Denière and Deverberie, the enamelers Coteau and Merlet, and the spring maker Monginot l’aîné. He soon gained a wealthy and discerning clientele, among them Jean-Marie Chamboissier, the jeweler Louis-Nicolas Duchesne, and Mesdames de France – the daughters of Louis XV – for whom Ridel made a clock in 1789 that was intended for their palace in Bellevue.



    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).



    Mennessier
    Mennessier

    Rare Gilt Bronze Desk Cage Clock with Moon Phases

    APF_Pendule078_06

    “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).

    Mennessier

    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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    Laurent
    Laurent

    Gilt Bronze, Enamel and Marble Skeleton Clock with Revolutionary Calendar

    Pendule336-07_HD_WEB

    Paris, Louis XVI period, circa 1793-94

    Height 41 cm, width 27 cm, depth 14 cm

    Height41 Width27 Depth14

    A late Louis XVI three-dialled gilt bronze-mounted enamel and white marble eight day going skeleton clock, signed Laurent à Paris on the arch below the main dial. The main white enamel ring dial, with gilt bronze beaded bezel, has black Arabic numerals for the hours and minutes, outer red Arabic numerals for the date, and the Revolutionary days of the week painted in red enamel along the inside edge; fine pierced gilt brass hands for the hours and minutes and plain blued steel pointers for the seconds and the date. The skeletonised movement, visible through the cutout portion of the dial, has a small Graham escapement, knife-edge suspension, striking on the hour and half hour on a single bell, with outside count wheel. Above the main dial, a subsidiary dial indicates the moon phases and age, with a finely painted on enamel moon against a starry blue sky and a sector numbered from 1 to 29 ½ in blue for the days of the lunar month. Below the blue enamel arch, a white enamel subsidiary ring dial indicates the months of the Gregorian calendar in black and the Revolutionary calendar in red. The arched frame, with star-studded blue enamel decorative plaques, rests on four flattened bun feet; the rectangular white marble base is adorned with gilt bronze beading and a pierced leaf and berry frieze on all four sides. The whole reposes on four toupie feet.

    Discover our entire collection of antique skeleton clocks for sale online or at the gallery.

    Similar skeleton clocks are illustrated in Pierre Kjellberg, Encyclopédie de la Pendule Française du Moyen Age au XXe Siècle, 1997, p. 319, pl. C and G. A comparable clock, with Revolutionary calendar, is in the Carnavalet Museum in Paris; another similar model, signed “Ridel à Paris”, is in the François Duesberg Museum in Mons, Belgium.

    Skeletonised clocks, in which the movement is showcased rather than being hidden, came into fashion toward the end of Louis XVI’s reign. Several explanations may be advanced for this: first, the technical advances made during the 18th century, which incited clockmakers to put their movements on display and made the public curious to discover them; and secondly, the preference for less massive, more delicate, clock cases, in marked contrast to the Louis XV and early Louis XVI styles. The ethereal appearance of these clocks was heightened by the use of painted polychrome enamel plaques instead of chased bronze work to decorate the clocks.

    Laurent

    Laurent was a clockmaker active in the late 18th century.



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