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Thématiques: Music Clock

  • Osmond  -  Dutertre
    Robert Osmond (1711-1789)
    Jean-Baptiste Dutertre (?-1773)

    Important Matte Gilt Bronze Musical Mantel Clock


    Case attributed to Robert Osmond

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

    Height73 cm Width41 cm Depth24 cm


    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
    Le Roy  -  Saint-Germain
    Pierre III Le Roy
    Jean-Joseph de Saint-Germain (1719-1791)

    Rare Gilt and Patinated Bronze Mantel Clock with Matte and Burnished Finishing and with Carillon

    Urania” or “Allegory of Astronomy”


    “Julien Le Roy”

    Case by Bronze Caster Jean-Joseph de Saint-Germain

    Probably Sold by Cabinetmaker Antoine Foullet

    Paris, transition period Louis XV-Louis XVI, circa 1760-1765

    Height46 Width41 Depth23


    – probably the clock described in March 1826 in the sale of the late Monsieur Doyen: “40. Carillon clock by Julien Leroy, adorned with a bronze figure (meaning patinated) representing a seated woman surrounded by the attributes of astronomy”.


    The round white enamel dial, signed “Julien Le Roy”, indicates the Roman numeral hours and the Arabic numeral five-minute intervals by means of two pierced gilt bronze hands. The movement, which is also signed “Julien Leroy à Paris”, is housed in a neoclassical case made of finely chased gilt and patinated bronze that features matte and burnished finishing. The drum case, whose back and front bezels are decorated with an interlace cabochon frieze, is adorned with branch of laurel leaves and seeds; it rests on three books. A fine female figure is seated on the left side; her hair is coiffed in a bun and she is wearing sandals and long classical robes. She represents the muse Urania, surrounded by the attributes of Astronomy, including a starry globe, a compass and a sheet engraved with the signs of the Zodiac. The rectangular entablature features wide interlacing motifs that stand out against matted grounds. The clock rests on a tall quadrangular base that is elaborately decorated with ribbon-tied laurel garlands on the façade, roundels, an interlace frieze with cabochons and large rosettes. The base contains a carillon playing several tunes on the hour in passing. The movement can be reached through the back of the clock by means of a door that is pierced with latticework centered by flowerets. The glazed panel on the front reveals the bells. The clock stands on four large flattened ball feet.

    Although it bears no signature, this very fine mantel clock was made in the early 1760s by the bronze caster Jean-Joseph de Saint-Germain, who created the model for the cabinetmaker Antoine Foullet. Foullet could not work on bronze pieces due to the strict rules of the Parisian artisans’ guilds, but he did sell the clock. This model, of which only a very few examples were made, was extraordinarily successful among the influential Parisian connoisseurs of the period.

    Today only a few similar clocks are known to exist; their present feature certain variations and none of them have a carillon. Among them, one example, whose dial is signed Delaruelle and whose bronzes are signed Saint-Germain, is pictured in J-D. Augarde, Les ouvriers du Temps, Genève, 1996, p. 305. A second clock, whose dial is signed “Janvier à Paris”, is in the Musée Calouste Gulbenkian in Lisbon (illustrated in H. Ottomeyer and P. Pröschel, Vergoldete Bronzen, Die Bronzearbeiten des Spätbarock und Klassizismus, Band I, Munich, 1986, p. 162, fig. 3.3.7). A third example, whose dial is signed by Jean-Charles Olin, is in the collection of the Princes of Hesse in Schloss Fasanerie in Fulda (see Gehäuse der Zeit, Uhren aus fünf Jahrhunderten im Besitz der Hessischen Hausstiftung, Eichenzell, 2002, p. 60-61, catalogue n° 19). One further comparable clock is on display in the yellow salon in the Musée Carnavalet in Paris (see A. Forray-Carlier, Le mobilier du musée Carnavalet, Dijon, 2000, p. 3).

    As of 1759, the signature “Julien Le Roy” was that of the clockmaker Pierre III Le Roy (1717-1785) who continued to run the workshop of his father Julien II Le Roy (1686-1759)

    Pierre III Le Roy

    Pierre III Le Roy is one of the finest Parisian horologists of the second half of the 18th century. The son of clockmaker Julien II Leroy, he was trained in his father’s workshop and became a master on July 9, 1737. In 1759, upon the death of his father, he became Horloger Ordinaire du Roi with lodgings in the Galeries du Louvre. Throughout his career, he was very highly thought of and his clocks were found in the collections of the Marquis de Béringhem, the Countess du Barry – the favorite of King Louis XV, the Prince de Ligne and the Dukes of Chaulnes and Penthièvre.

    Jean-Joseph de Saint-Germain (1719 - 1791)

    He was probably the most renowned Parisian of the mid 18th century. Active as of 1742, he did become a master craftsman until July 1748. He became famous for his many clock and cartel cases, such as his Diana the Huntress (an example is in the Louvre Museum), the clock supported by two Chinamen (a similar example is in the Musée des Arts décoratifs in Lyon), as well as several clocks based on animal themes, including elephant and rhinoceros clocks (an example in the Louvre Museum). In the early 1760’s he played an important role in the renewal of the French decorative arts and the development of the Neo-classical style, an important example of which may be seen in his Genius of Denmark clock, made for Frederic V and based on a model by Augustin Pajou (1765, in the Amalienborg Palace, Copenhagen). Saint-Germain also made several clocks inspired by the theme of Learning, or Study, based on a model by Louis-Félix de La Rue (examples in the Louvre Museum, the Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon, and the Metropolitan Museum in New York). Along with his clock cases, Saint-Germain also made bronze furniture mounts, such as fire dogs, wall lights, and candelabra. His entire body of work bears witness to his remarkable skills as a chaser and bronzeworker, as well as to his extraordinary creativity. He retired in 1776.

    In the same category