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Thématiques: “Noble Savage”

  • Rare Gilt and Patinated Bronze “Noble Savage” Clock

    The African Nursemaid

    APF_Pendule163_04

    Case Attributed to Croutelle the Elder

    Height38.5 cm Width23 cm Depth11 cm

    The round enamel dial indicates the Roman numeral hours and the Arabic fifteen-minute intervals, by means of two Breguet-type hands in blued steel. It is housed in a finely chased case of gilt bronze that represents a bundle of sugar canes that is tied with a cord. It is supported on the head of a fine female figure with enamel eyes, who is wearing a loincloth and a feather headdress. Around her neck is slung a bark cradle that holds a newborn baby. The figure stands upon an oval terrace supported by a stepped base, which is adorned with an applied reed and shell motif. The base is raised upon four toupie feet.

    The black man as “noble savage” was not widely used as a decorative theme in French and European horology until the late 18th century. The first “au nègre “ or “au sauvage” clocks began to appear in the final décades of the 18th century and the early years of the 19th century. They reflect a philosophical movement that is expressed in such literary and historical works as Paul et Virginie by Bernardin de Saint-Pierre (published in 1787, it spoke of innocence), Atala by Chateaubriand (based on the Christian ideal), and Daniel Defoe’s masterpiece Robinson Crusoe (published in 1719).

    The present clock, one of the most sought-after models, represents a young black nursemaid carrying a newborn baby. Its design was inspired by an 1807 drawing by the bronze caster Croutelle the elder, which is today in the Cabinet des Estampes of the Paris Bibliothèque Nationale, (see D. and C. Fléchon, “La pendule au nègre”, in Bulletin de l’Association nationale des Collectionneurs et Amateurs d’Horlogerie ancienne, printemps 1992, n° 63, p. 32, fig. 4).

     

    Very few similar clocks are known today. Among them, one example, whose dial is signed “Herbin à Paris”, is illustrated in H. Ottomeyer and P. Pröschel, Vergoldete Bronzen, Die Bronzearbeiten des Spätbarock und Klassizismus, Band I, Munich, 1986, p. 381, fig. 5.15.27 (see also Giacomo and Aurélie Wannenes, Les plus belles pendules françaises, de Louis XIV à l’Empire, Editions Polistampa, Florence, 2013, p. 314). A second example is illustrated in P. Kjellberg, Encyclopédie de la pendule française du Moyen Age au XXe siècle, Paris, 1997, p. 345, fig. F.  A third clock, whose dial is signed “Cary à Lyon”, is in the Royal Spanish Collection (illustrated in J. Ramon Colon de Carvajal, Catalogo de Relojes del Patrimonio nacional, Madrid, 1987, p. 119, catalogue n° 99). One further such clock is in the François Duesberg Museum in Mons (see Musée François Duesberg, Arts décoratifs 1775-1825, Bruxelles, 2004, p. 59).

    Mignolet  -  Deverberie
    Joseph Mignolet or Mignonet
    Jean-Simon Deverberie (1764-1824)

    Rare Gilt and Patinated Bronze Mantel Clock

    The African Huntress

    Pendule367-04_HD_WEB

    Movement signed by Joseph Mignolet

    Case Attributed to Jean-Simon Deverberie (1764-1824)

    Paris, Directory-Consulate period, circa 1800

    Height48 cm Width38.5 cm Depth15 cm

    Bibliography:

    Dominique and Chantal Fléchon, “La pendule au nègre”, in Bulletin de l’association nationale des collectionneurs et amateurs d’horlogerie ancienne, Spring 1992, n° 63, p. 27-49.

     

    The round white enamel dial, signed “Mignolet à Paris”, indicates the Roman numeral hours and the Arabic numeral fifteen-minute intervals by means of two engraved or pierced bronze hands. It is housed in a chased and gilt and patinated bronze case. The bezel is adorned with delicate stylized and bead friezes. The clock is surmounted by a magnificent female figure – a seated black huntress who is wearing a feather loincloth, with a quiver containing feathered arrows slung across her chest. Her curly hair is held in place by a headband and her glass eyes are naturalistic. She is wearing necklaces, rings, red earrings, and ankle bracelets; in her right hand she holds an arrow and in her left, a bow. Her left foot rests upon a turtle with a finely chased shell. On the opposite side, a seated lioness turns toward the huntress. The high, sloping and molded architectural base is decorated with ribbon-tied flower and leaf garlands, a bead frieze and an applied scene depicting young cherubs who are hunting and fishing. The clock is raised upon six finely chased feet.

    Black figures were rarely used as a decorative theme in French and European horology before the late 18th century. It was not until the end of the Ancien Régime, and precisely the last decade of the 18th century and the early years of the following century, that the first “au nègre” or “au sauvage” clocks appeared. They echoed a philosophical current that was developed in several important literary and historical works, including Paul et Virginie by Bernardin de Saint-Pierre (published in 1787, it depicts the innocence of Man), Atala by Chateaubriand (which restores the Christian ideal), and particularly Daniel Defoe’s 1719 masterpiece, Robinson Crusoe. The original drawing of the present clock, entitled “L’Afrique”, was registered by Parisian chaser-caster Jean-Simon Deverberie in the year VII (illustrated in Dominique and Pascal Flechon, “La pendule au nègre”, in Bulletin de l’association nationale des collectionneurs et amateurs d’horlogerie ancienne, Spring 1992, n° 63, p. 32, photo n° 2).

    Among the known identical clocks one model, whose dial is signed “Gaulin à Paris”, is pictured in H. Ottomeyer and P. Pröschel, Vergoldete Bronzen, Die Bronzearbeiten des Spätbarock und Klassizismus, Band I, Munich, 1986, p. 381, fig. 5.15.25. A second model, featuring variations including the fact that the figure stands on an arch, is illustrated in P. Kjellberg, Encyclopédie de la pendule française du Moyen Age à nos jours, Paris, 1997, p. 350. One further example, whose dial is signed “Ridel”, is in the Musée François Duesberg in Mons (illustrated in the exhibition catalogue “De noir et d’or, Pendules « au bon sauvage”, Musées Royaux d’Art et d’Histoire, Brussels, 1993).

    Joseph Mignolet or Mignonet

    Joseph Mignolet or Mignonet became a Master Clockmaker in 1786, on Saint-Honoré Street in Paris.



    Jean-Simon Deverberie (1764 - 1824)

    Jean-Simon Deverberie was one of the most important Parisian bronziers of the late 18th century and the early decades of the following century.  Deverberie, who was married to Marie-Louise Veron, appears to have specialized at first in making clocks and candelabra that were adorned with exotic figures, and particularly African figures. Around 1800 he registered several preparatory designs for “au nègre” clocks, including the “Africa”, “America”, and “Indian Man and Woman” models (the drawings for which are today preserved in the Cabinet des Estampes in the Bibliothèque nationale in Paris). He opened a workshop in the rue Barbette around 1800, in the rue du Temple around 1804, and in the rue des Fossés du Temple between 1812 and 1820.



    In the same category
    Deverberie
    Jean-Simon Deverberie (1764-1824)

    Rare Gilt and Patinated Bronze Mantel Clock

    “The American Indian”

    Pendule187_07

    Paris, Empire period, circa 1812-1815

    Height59 Width41.5 Depth10

    The round enamel dial, signed “Inv. Fec. de Verberie & Cgnie/rue des fossés du Temple n°47/A Paris”, indicates the Arabic numeral hours and fifteen-minute intervals by means of two pierced gilt bronze hands. The gilt and patinated bronze case is very finely chased. The bezel is adorned with stylized bead friezes. The clock is surmounted by a very fine female figure depicting a seated black huntress wearing a feather loincloth with a quiver containing feathered arrows slung across her chest. She is coiffed with a feather headdress and has naturalistic glass eyes. She is wearing jewelry including necklaces, ankle and arm bracelets and coral earrings. She holds a bow in her right hand and a lance in her left hand. Her left foot rests on the head of a snake whose tail is wrapped around a palm tree standing to the left. The figures are placed on an arch that is decorated with leaf motifs within reserves and features applied blue enamel pastilles that are decorated with star-shaped gold paillons. The arch rests upon four lion’s paw feet and is supported by a quadrangular white marble base that is raised upon four flattened bun feet.

    Before the late 18th century, black figures were rarely used as a decorative theme in French and European horology. It was not until the end of the Ancien Regime, and more precisely, the final decade of the 18th century and early years of the following century, that the first  “au nègre” or “au sauvage” clocks were made. They made reference to a philosophical current that was conveyed by several important literary works, including Paul et Virginie by Bernardin de Saint-Pierre (published in 1787, it depicts the innocence of man), Atala by Chateaubriand, which restores the Christian ideal, and above all Daniel Defoe’s masterpiece Robinson Crusoe, published in 1719. The original drawing of the present clock, known as “L’Amérique”, was registered in the year VII by Jean-Simon Deverberie (1764-1824), one of the most important Parisian bronze caster-chasers of the late 18th century and the first two decades of the 19th century. His workshop was located in the rue Barbette in 1800, the rue du Temple in 1804, and the rue des Fossés du Temple from 1812 to 1820. The drawing appears in D. and P. Fléchon, “La pendule au nègre”, in Bulletin de l’association nationale des collectionneurs et amateurs d’horlogerie ancienne, Spring 1992, n° 63, p. 32, photo n° 3.

     

    Among the known similar clocks, two models stand on a high pedestal base. The first is in the Fondation Andrès de Ribera in Jerez de la Frontera (illustrated in Catalogo ilustrado del Museo de Relojes, 1982, p. 39). A second piece is in the Musée François Duesberg in Mons (illustrated in the exhibition catalogue “De noir et d’or, Pendules ‘au bon sauvage’”, Musées Royaux d’Art et d’Histoire, Brussels, 1993). Two other clocks exist, featuring figures that also stand upon arches – a very rare variation of the preceding model. The first is shown in E. Niehüser, Die französische Bronzeuhr, Eine Typologie der figürlichen Darstellungen, Munich, 1997, p. 237, fig. 809. The second features an arch that is also decorated with blue enamel pastilles with gold paillons (see P. Kjellberg, Encyclopédie de la pendule française du Moyen Age au XXe siècle, Paris, 1997, p. 352, fig. A).

    Jean-Simon Deverberie (1764 - 1824)

    Jean-Simon Deverberie was one of the most important Parisian bronziers of the late 18th century and the early decades of the following century.  Deverberie, who was married to Marie-Louise Veron, appears to have specialized at first in making clocks and candelabra that were adorned with exotic figures, and particularly African figures. Around 1800 he registered several preparatory designs for “au nègre” clocks, including the “Africa”, “America”, and “Indian Man and Woman” models (the drawings for which are today preserved in the Cabinet des Estampes in the Bibliothèque nationale in Paris). He opened a workshop in the rue Barbette around 1800, in the rue du Temple around 1804, and in the rue des Fossés du Temple between 1812 and 1820.



    In the same category
    Galle
    Claude Galle (1759-1815)

    Important Patinated and Matte Gilt Bronze and Green Marble Mantel Clock

    The Meeting of Robinson Crusoe and Friday”

    Pendule433-03_HD_WEB

    Case Attributed to Claude Galle

    Paris, Directoire period, circa 1800

    Height53.5 cm Width35.5 cm Depth14 cm

    The round white enamel dial, indicates the Roman numeral hours and the Arabic numeral five-minute intervals by means of two blued steel Breguet hands. The bezel is adorned with leaf and bead friezes. The movement is housed in a rectangular case with canted corners that is made of finely chased gilt bronze with low-relief motifs. On the sides, goats standing on their hind legs are eating grapes; the façade is decorated with scenes depicting a despairing Robinson Crusoe under an improvised tent as a storm rages around him; another scene shows Crusoe building a boat near a lemon tree.  The corners of the case are adorned with barrels issuing stylized cactuses. On the plinth, which is depicted as a naturalistic terrain, the young native Friday, posing with one knee on the ground, meets Robinson Crusoe, clad in goatskins and holding a parasol in his right hand and a rifle in the other. Behind Friday there is a lemon tree with golden fruit, upon which a parrot is perched. The clock rests on a green marble rectangular base with canted corners, which is embellished with a frieze of alternating stiff leaves and stems. It is raised upon four flattened ball feet.

    Directly inspired by Daniel Defoe’s famous novel, which was published in 1719, the present clock is one of the finest and most successful examples of the latter part of the 18th century. Today very few identical models are known. Among them, one example is illustrated in P. Heuer and K. Maurice, European Pendulum Clocks, Decorative Instruments of Measuring Time, Munich, 1988, p. 92, fig. 159. A second clock, with a red griotte marble base, is pictured in P. Kjellberg, Encyclopédie de la pendule française du Moyen Age au XXe siècle, Les éditions de l’Amateur, Paris, 1997, p. 359. A third example, with a marble base, is shown in G. and A. Wannenes, Les plus belles pendules françaises, De Louis XIV à l’Empire, Editions Polistampa, Florence, 2013, p. 307. A fourth clock, with a gilt base, is on display in the Pitti Palace in Florence. Two further comparable clocks, one with an original and unique design, and both with dials signed “Leclerc à Bruxelles”, are in the Musée François Duesberg in Mons (see Musée François Duesberg, Arts décoratifs 1775-1825, Bruxelles, 2004, p. 64-65).

    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.



    In the same category

    Rare Gilt and Patinated Bronze Mantel Clock

    “Young Black Man Pushing a Wheelbarrow”

    Pendule421-02_HD_PRESSE

    Paris, Directoire period, circa 1800

    Height34.5 Width41 Depth12

    The round white enamel dial indicates the Roman numeral hours and the Arabic numeral fifteen-minute intervals by means of two pierced gilt bronze hands. The finely chased and knurled bronze case is matte gilt and patinated. The bezel is adorned with a knurled frieze; the hour and half-hour striking movement is fitted into what appears to be a bale of cotton, which is placed on a wheelbarrow that is being pushed by a handsome patinated and gilt bronze figure depicting a young black man. The eyes of the young man are made of enamel; he is wearing a feathered hat and a pair of trousers and carries on his back a wicker basket in which he has placed his shirt. Perched opposite him, a parrot with finely chased feathers is turning its head toward the viewer. The group rests on a quadrangular architectural base with canted corners, that is elaborately adorned with applied low relief motifs including anchors, a trident and cords, as well as a central trophy with olive leaves, palms, a caduceus, stylized palmettes, and cornucopias symbolizing Sea Trade. The composition is supported on six sloping feet that are decorated with a delicate frieze and a plain molded torus.

    In the late 18th century, under the influence of the work of writers and philosophers such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who extolled the virtues of a return to Nature through the figure of the “noble savage”, exoticism became fashionable and was prominently featured in contemporary literature. Examples are the great literary success “Paul et Virginie” written by Bernardin de Saint-Pierre in 1788, a distant cousin of Daniel Defoe’s “Robinson Crusoe”, the novel “Les Incas” by Marmontel, which was published during the American Revolutionary War, and “Atala” by Chateaubriand (published in 1801). These books had a profound effect on Europeans’ attitudes toward other civilizations. They favored a current of nostalgia linked to the idea of the quest for a pagan garden of Eden that could be redeemed by Christianity, which strongly influenced European culture. As was often the case in the French decorative arts, this artistic and philosophical movement manifested itself in certain artistic creations, particularly in horological pieces and lighting instruments. The present clock, known as “Young Black Man pushing a Wheelbarrow”, was created within this context; it became very successful among influential horological collectors of the early 19th century.

    Among the small number of clocks of this type known to exist, one example is illustrated in P. Kjellberg, Encyclopédie de la pendule française du Moyen-Age à nos jours, Les éditions de l’Amateur, Paris, 1997, p. 344. Two other models, one whose dial is signed “Gillet horloger”, and the other “Hunziker rue de Bussy n°22”, are shown in the exhibition catalogue “De Noir et d’Or, Pendules ‘au bon sauvage’, Collection de M. et Mme François Duesberg”, Musée Royaux d’Art et d’Histoire, Musée Bellevue, Brussels, 1993.

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

    “Young Black Man Pushing a Barrel”

    Pendule371-02_HD_WEB

    Paris, Consulate-Empire period, circa 1800-1805

    Height32.5 Width27 Depth10.5

    The round white enamel dial, bearing the words “à Paris”, indicates the Roman numeral hours and the Arabic numeral fifteen-minute intervals by means of two hands. The case is made of finely chased bronze that is patinated and gilt, with both matte and burnished finishing. The bezel is adorned with a frieze of palmettes and mille raie motifs; the movement is housed in a barrel that is being rolled by the magnificent figure of a young black man made of patinated bronze; he has enamel eyes and is wearing armbands with bead decoration, and a pair of trousers. The quadrangular base with canted corners is elaborately adorned with applied motifs of birds of prey and ribbon-tied wreaths and, on the façade, a trophy representing Commerce that is comprised of package tied with string, palmettes, an anchor, a basket, a barrel, and a coffer on which a parrot is perched. The clock stands on four bell-shaped feet that are decorated with knurled friezes and stylized motifs.

    Toward the end of the 18th century, the philosophical writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau extolled the moral benefits of a return to Nature through the myth of the “noble savage”. The taste for exoticism, conveyed by popular literature, became fashionable. The great success of  “Paul et Virginie” written by Bernardin de Saint-Pierre in 1788, which itself derived from the famous “Robinson Crusoe” by Daniel Defoe, Marmontel’s novel “Les Incas”, which appeared during the American Revolution, and Chateaubriand’s “Atala”, which was published in 1801, would profoundly influence Europeans’ vision of other civilizations.  The Old World became imbued with a romantic nostalgia that was linked to the quest for a pagan Eden that could be regenerated by Christianity. As is often the case in the French decorative arts, this ideological movement was displayed in certain Parisian creations, whether artistic or of the decorative arts, including clocks and lighting instruments.

    The present clock was created within that particular context. The “Young Black Man Pushing a Barrel” clock model is one of the rarest in Parisian horology. Today only a handful of such clocks are known. Among them, one example was presented in 1978 at the exhibition “La pendule au nègre” that was held at the Museum of the Hôtel Sandelin in Saint-Omer (illustrated in E. Niehüser, Die französische Bronzeuhr, Eine Typologie der figürlichen Darstellungen, Munich, 1997, p. 238, fig. 814 and in P. Kjellberg, Encyclopédie de la pendule française du Moyen Age au XXe siècle, Les éditions de l’Amateur, Paris, 1997, p. 344, fig. B). A second clock is illustrated in G. and A. Wannenes, Les plus belles pendules françaises de Louis XIV à l’Empire, Editions Polistampa, Florence, 2013, p. 308.

    Deverberie
    Jean-Simon Deverberie (1764-1824)

    Rare Gilt and Patinated Bronze Mantel Clock

    “The African Huntress”

    Pendule358-03_BD_MAIL

    Attributed to Jean-Simon Deverberie

    Paris, Directory-Consulate period, circa 1800

    Height45.5 Width35.5 Depth14

    The round white enamel dial indicates the Arabic numeral hours and the Arabic numeral fifteen-minute intervals by means of two engraved or pierced bronze hands. It is housed in a chased and gilt and patinated bronze case. The bezel is adorned with delicate stylized and bead friezes. The clock is surmounted by a magnificent female figure – a seated black huntress who is wearing a feather loincloth, with a quiver containing feathered arrows slung across her chest. Her curly hair is held in place by a silvered headband and her glass eyes are naturalistic. She is wearing necklaces, rings, earrings, and ankle bracelets; in her right hand she holds an arrow and in her left, a bow. Her left foot rests upon a turtle with a finely chased shell. On the opposite side, a seated lioness turns toward the huntress. The high, sloping and molded architectural base is decorated with ribbon-tied flower and leaf garlands, a bead frieze and an applied scene depicting young cherubs who are hunting and fishing. The clock is raised upon six finely chased feet.

    Black figures were rarely used as a decorative theme in French and European horology before the late 18th century. It was not until the end of the Ancien Régime, and precisely the last decade of the 18th century and the early years of the following century, that the first “au nègre” or “au sauvage” clocks appeared. They echoed a philosophical current that was developed in several important literary and historical works, including Paul et Virginie by Bernardin de Saint-Pierre (published in 1787, it depicts the innocence of Man), Atala by Chateaubriand (which restores the Christian ideal), and particularly Daniel Defoe’s 1719 masterpiece, Robinson Crusoe. The original drawing of the present clock, entitled “L’Afrique”, was registered by Parisian chaser-caster Jean-Simon Deverberie in the year VII (illustrated in Dominique and Pascal Flechon, “La pendule au nègre”, in Bulletin de l’association nationale des collectionneurs et amateurs d’horlogerie ancienne, Spring 1992, n° 63, p. 32, photo n° 2).

    Among the known identical clocks one model, whose dial is signed “Gaulin à Paris”, is pictured in H. Ottomeyer and P. Pröschel, Vergoldete Bronzen, Die Bronzearbeiten des Spätbarock und Klassizismus, Band I, Munich, 1986, p. 381, fig. 5.15.25. A second model, featuring variations including the fact that the figure stands on an arch, is illustrated in P. Kjellberg, Encyclopédie de la pendule française du Moyen Age à nos jours, Paris, 1997, p. 350. One further example, whose dial is signed “Ridel”, is in the Musée François Duesberg in Mons (illustrated in the exhibition catalogue “De noir et d’or, Pendules « au bon sauvage”, Musées Royaux d’Art et d’Histoire, Brussels, 1993).

    Jean-Simon Deverberie (1764 - 1824)

    Jean-Simon Deverberie was one of the most important Parisian bronziers of the late 18th century and the early decades of the following century.  Deverberie, who was married to Marie-Louise Veron, appears to have specialized at first in making clocks and candelabra that were adorned with exotic figures, and particularly African figures. Around 1800 he registered several preparatory designs for “au nègre” clocks, including the “Africa”, “America”, and “Indian Man and Woman” models (the drawings for which are today preserved in the Cabinet des Estampes in the Bibliothèque nationale in Paris). He opened a workshop in the rue Barbette around 1800, in the rue du Temple around 1804, and in the rue des Fossés du Temple between 1812 and 1820.



    Rare Mantel Clock Made of Gilt and Patinated Bronze with Matte Finishing and Enamel

    “The Stretcher Bearers”

    Pendule353-04_HD_WEB

    Attributed to Parisian Bronze Caster Louis-Isidore Choiselat, known as Choiselat-Gallien (1784-1853)

    Paris, Empire period, circa 1810

    Height41 Width34.5 Depth11

    The round white enamel dial indicates the Roman numeral hours and the Arabic numeral fifteen-minute intervals by means of two pierced gilt bronze hands. It is fitted in a simulated bale of cotton that is tied by cords and on which sits a parrot on a perch. The cotton bale is placed on a stretcher from which is suspended a net behind which one sees the pendulum, whose bob is made up of a medallion with a pierced squirrel motif. The stretcher rests on the shoulders of two fine figures representing young black men, with enamel eyes. They are wearing earrings and feather loincloths. The figures stand on a quadrangular base with rounded sides that is adorned with applied motifs of ribbon-tied musical instruments and a plumed headdress, with palms, a bead necklace, and crossed oars. In the center of the terrace there is a large flower blossom within a beadwork frame. The clock is raised on flattened ball feet that are adorned with interlace friezes centered by cabochons.

    Toward the end of the 18th century, influenced by the philosophical writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who extolled the virtues of a return to Nature through the idea of the “noble savage”, exoticism became very popular, and was further popularized by contemporary literature. The novel “Paul and Virginie”, written by Bernardin de Saint-Pierre in 1788, was a great literary success; it echoed the well known “Robinson Crusoe” by Daniel Defoe, the novel “Les Incas” by Marmontel, which was published during the American Revolutionary War, and  “Atala” by Chateaubriand, which was published in 1801. All these books had a profound influence on the European attitude to other civilizations and created a powerful Romantic nostalgia linked to the quest for a pagan Garden of Eden that could be regenerated by Christianity. As is often the case in the French decorative arts, this movement influenced artistic creations, and particularly those in the fields of horology and lighting. The present clock was created within this particular context; its model, known as “The Stretcher Bearers”, is one of the rarest of the “au nègre” category of clocks.

    Among the small number of comparable clocks, some of which include variations in their design, one example, which is surmounted by a group inspired by Paul and Virginie, is in the Musée Duesberg in Mons (illustrated in the exhibition catalogue “De Noir et d’Or, Pendules ‘au bon sauvage’”, Musées Royaux d’Art et d’Histoire, Bruxelles, 1993). A second clock is illustrated in P. Kjellberg, Encyclopédie de la pendule française du Moyen Age à nos jours, Paris, 1997, p. 344. One further example, by the bronzier Louis-Isidore Choiselat, known as Choiselat-Gallien, is illustrated in H. Ottomeyer and P. Pröschel, Vergoldete Bronzen, Die Bronzearbeiten des Spätbarock und Klassizismus, Band I, Munich, 1986, p. 379, fig. 5.15.20. It is the basis for our attribution of the present clock to Choiselat, an important Parisian bronzier of the Empire period.