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Thématiques: “Noble Savage”

  • 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.

    In the same category

    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.



    In the same category

    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.

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

    “The Amerindian Hunter”

    “Alexandre”

    Paris, Directoire-Consulate period, circa 1800

    Height54 Width41 Depth12.5

    The round enamel dial, signed “Alexandre à Paris”, indicates the Roman numeral hours and the Arabic fifteen-minute intervals by means of two bronze hands. It is housed in a finely chased patinated and gilt bronze case with matte and burnished finishing. The clock is surmounted by the figure of a black hunter wearing a feather headdress and a feather loincloth who is holding a bow in his left hand and an arrow in his right hand, with a quiver of arrows slung across his chest. He is sitting on a sloping rectangular form decorated with a lion’s head, which is placed in a ship with a wolf’s head figurehead. It stands on a terrace adorned with naturalistic waves. The quadrangular base with concave sides is decorated with applied motifs including palmettes, scrolls, and torches; its façade is embellished with an elaborate high-relief scene depicting rocks, a hut, and palm trees, among which three little boys dressed in loincloths are hunting, fishing, and resting with their dog. The oblong plinth rests on four flattened feet that are adorned with bead friezes and double zigzags framed by engine turning centered by cabochons.

    Exoticism became fashionable during the late 18th century, inspired by the philosophical writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who called for a return to Nature and exalted the virtues of the “noble savage”; it was conveyed by contemporary literature as well. Among the great literary successes of the time were “Paul et Virginie” written by Bernardin de Saint-Pierre in 1788; it echoed the well-known “Robinson Crusoe” by Daniel Defoe; the novel “Les Incas” by Marmontel, which was published during the American War of Independence; and “Atala” by Chateaubriand, which was published in 1801. These works profoundly changed Europeans’ attitudes toward other civilizations, plunging the Old World into a deep romantic nostalgia that was linked to the quest for a pagan Garden of Eden, regenerated and redeemed by Christianity.

    As was often the case in the French decorative arts, this current influenced artistic trends, and particularly horological creations. The model of the present clock was created within that particular context. Very likely an allegorical representation of the discovery of the New World, two versions of it were offered. The first one featured a figure who was sitting on a chariot; only a few such examples are known, including a clock that is today in the Musée du Nouveau Monde in La Rochelle. A second example is pictured in G. and A. Wannenes, Les plus belles pendules françaises, De Louis XIV à l’Empire, Florence, 2013, p. 315. Only a few examples are known of the second type, which is also that of the present clock. Two of them are in the Musée François Duesberg in Mons (illustrated in Musée François Duesberg, Arts décoratifs 1775-1825, Brussels, 2004, p. 59).

    Choiselat-Gallien

    Rare Gilt and Patinated Bronze Mantel Clock

    “The Stretcher Bearers”

    Pendule323-03_BD_MAIL

    “L. Grognot à Paris”

    The Case Attributed to Parisian Bronzier Louis-Isidore Choiselat, known as Choiselat-Gallien (1784-1853)

    Paris, Empire period, circa 1810

    Height47 Width33.5 Depth10.5

    The round white enamel dial, signed “L. Grognot à Paris”, indicates the Roman numeral hours and the Arabic fifteen minute intervals by means of two pierced gilt bronze hands that are fixed to the center of the dial in the middle of a gold and azure colored flower. The hour and half-hour striking movement is housed in a drum case that is decorated with vines and is attached to a palanquin born on stretchers that rest on the shoulders of two finely sculpted young black men with enamel eyes, who are wearing earrings and feather loincloths. Surmounting the clock, on a plain terrace, are two young people sitting on a log. A dog rests his paws on the right knee of a young man who is talking with a young woman who turns toward him. The group depicts Paul and Virginie, the heroes of the novel by Bernardin de Saint-Pierre. The clock is supported by a tall quadrangular base with rounded corners, whose façade is adorned with applied motifs representing two lemon trees and vines that flank a low relief, semi-circular scene depicting the shipwreck of the Saint-Géran, one of the most important episodes of Bernardin de Saint-Pierre’s novel. The clock stands on four flattened ball feet that are embellished with mille-raie friezes.

    In the latter part of the 18th century, under the influence of the philosophical writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who exalted the virtues of a return to Nature through the myth of the “noble savage”, exoticism became extremely fashionable; this fashion was amplified by contemporary literature. The great success of  “Paul et Virginie” by Bernardin de Saint-Pierre in 1788, a latter-day echo of the well-known “Robinson Crusoe” by Daniel Defoe, Marmontel’s novel “Les Incas”, which was published during the American Revolutionary War, and Chateaubriand’s “Atala”, published in 1801, profoundly changed Europeans’ vision of other civilizations, creating a strong romantic nostalgia for a longed-for Pagan paradise, which would be transcended by Christianity. As often occurred in the French decorative arts, this change manifested itself in certain artistic creations, particularly in the fields of horology and lighting. The present clock was created within that context. Its model, known as “The Stretcher Bearers”, is one of the rarest types of  “au nègre” clocks.

    Only a handful of similar clocks are known to exist; these present several variations. One example, which is surmounted by a monkey, is illustrated in P. Kjellberg, Encyclopédie de la pendule française du Moyen Age à nos jours, Paris, 1997, p. 344. A second clock, of the same model as the present example, was made by the bronzier Louis-Isidore Choiselat, known as Choiselat-Gallien; it is pictured 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 forms the basis for our attribution of the present clock to Choiselat, an important Parisian bronzier of the Empire period. Two other clocks are known to be identical to the present one; the first is in the well-known horological collections of the Musée François Duesberg in Mons (see the exhibition catalogue “De Noir et d’Or, Pendules ‘au bon sauvage’”, Musées Royaux d’Art et d’Histoire, Brussels, 1993). The second clock, formerly in the Renoncourt collection, is illustrated in S. Chadenet, Les styles Empire et Restauration, Editions Baschet et Cie, Paris, p. 177, fig. 1.

    Levol  -  Thomire
    Pierre-Philippe Thomire (1757-1843)

    Important and Rare Matte and Burnished and Patinated Gilt Bronze Mantel Clock based on the Novel “Paul et Virginie”

    “The Triumph of Virtue and Innocence”

    Pendule328-03_BD_MAIL

    “Levol à Paris”

    The Case Attributed to Pierre-Philippe Thomire

    Paris, Consulate period, circa 1800

    Height66 Width65.3 Depth15.8

    The round white enamel dial, signed “Levol à Paris”, indicates the Roman numeral hours and the Arabic fifteen-minute intervals by means of two pierced gilt bronze hands. It is housed in a magnificent neoclassical case featuring finely sculpted and chased figures made of patinated bronze and gilt bronze with matte and burnished finishing. The hour and half-hour striking movement is housed in a drum case whose bezel is adorned with bead friezes and alternating water leaf and reed friezes, surmounting a drapery with delicate rope fringe decorated with a latticework band. That case supports a magnificent sculptural group depicting two figures seated side by side: a young man and a young woman, the latter holding in her left hand a drapery that floats over their heads. This refers to an episode from the novel “Paul et Virginie” in which Virginie, having been caught in a sudden shower, uses a part of her dress to shield herself from the rain, raising it above her head and thereby also protecting Paul, who was with her. The figures’ attitudes and their way of looking at each other betray great affection. The group rests on a palanquin with stretchers in imitation bamboo, which are carried by two finely sculpted black men dressed in loincloths with a burnished and matte border. On the terrace stands a dog that raises its right front foot. The quadrangular base with slightly protruding corners is decorated with applied palm tree motifs; the façade is adorned with a reserve panel depicting a scene that takes place within a landscape, which relates to the adolescence of the two young people. The clock is raised upon four feet that are adorned with leaf friezes.

    Black figures were rarely used in French and European decorative horology before the late 18th century. It was not until the end of the Ancien Régime – precisely, the final decade of the 18th century and the early years of the following one – that the first clocks called “au nègre” or “au sauvage” appeared. That fashion resulted from a specific social and romantic context. In the late 18th century, writings such as those of Jean-Jacques Rousseau exalted the moral virtues of a return to nature, through the idea of the “noble savage”. The interest in exoticism was encouraged by contemporary literature. The great success of  “Paul et Virginie”, written by Bernardin de Saint-Pierre in 1788, an echo of the famous “Robinson Crusoe” by Daniel Defoe, the novel “Les Incas” by Marmontel, which had been published during the American Revolution, and “Atala” written by Chateaubriand in 1801, profoundly changed Europeans’ attitudes to other civilizations, plunging the Old World into a current of romantic nostalgia linked to the idea of a quest for a Pagan paradise, which would be given new life by Christianity. As has often been the case in the French decorative arts, these new ideas manifested themselves in artistic creations, often in the fields of horology and lighting. The present clock was created within that particular context. Its particularly elaborate design and the exceptional quality of its chasing and gilding, and the patina of the two young black men, are evidence that the bronzier was one of the finest then working in Paris; it must therefore be attributed to Pierre-Philippe Thomire.

    The composition was inspired by a less elaborate horological model depicting a sculptural group in which Paul and Virginie are carried on a stretcher held by two young black women. One such clock 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, Brussels, 1993). A second example is illustrated in P. Kjellberg, Encyclopédie de la pendule française du Moyen Age à nos jours, Paris, 1997, p. 344. One further such clock 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; that clock has been attributed to the Parisian bronzier Louis-Isidore Choiselat, known as Choiselat-Gallien (1784-1853). One of the finest bronze casters in Paris, Choiselat was a rival of Pierre-Philippe Thomire.

    Contemporary with the “aux porteuses” clocks, “aux porteurs noirs” clocks were much more elaborate and spectacular, due to their much larger size, as well as to their very unusual and perfectly balanced composition and the exceptional quality of their chasing and gilding. This model is also extremely rare; among the very small number of identical examples known, one that is attributed to Pierre-Philippe Thomire is today in the Musée François Duesberg in Mons (illustrated in Musée François Duesberg, Arts décoratifs 1775-1825, Brussels, 2004, p. 66). Tradition has it that the clock in the Musée Duesberg was ordered from Thomire in 1802 by the future Emperor Napoleon I, who intended to give it to Bernardin de Saint-Pierre. Napoleon, who admired the writer’s work, had particularly liked his novel “Paul et Virginie”.

    Pierre-Philippe Thomire (1757 - 1843)

    Pierre-Philippe Thomire was the most important Parisian bronzier of the last quarter of the 18th century and the first decades of the following century. Early on in his career he worked for Pierre Gouthière, ciseleur-fondeur du roi, and toward the mid-1770’s began working with Louis Prieur. He later became one of the bronziers attached to the Manufacture Royale de Sèvres, creating the bronze mounts for most of the important creations of the day. After the Revolution, he purchased the stock of Martin-Eloi Lignereux, thus becoming the most important suppliers of furniture bronzes for châteaux and Imperial Palaces. In addition, he worked for a wealthy private clientele, both French and foreign, including several of Napoleon’s Marshals. Thomire retired in 1823.



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

    Rare Chased, Patinated and Gilt Bronze Mantel Clock

     

    Pendule318-03_HD_WEB

    Attributed to Jean-Simon Deverberie

    Paris, Directoire period, circa 1795-1800

    Height34 Width45 Depth12

    The enamel ring dial indicates the Roman numeral hours and the minute graduations by means of two blued steel hands. Revealing the skeleton movement, it forms the wheel of a small chariot driven by a young woman modelled in chased and gilt bronze. Dressed in an Empire-waist dress, her hair tied up in a bun, she holds a whip in one hand and in the other the reins of the spirited, patinated bronze horse that is harnessed to the chariot. Behind the young woman stands a young black boy with enamel eyes, wearing a feather headdress and loincloth. He adds an exotic touch to the composition. The moulded a rectangular base is adorned with foliate motifs, scrolls and palmettes; the four feet are decorated with foliate motifs.

    In the late 18th century, the philosophical writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau extolled the virtues of a return to Nature via the myth of the “noble savage”. Due to their influence exoticism became fashionable in contemporary literature. Bernardin de Saint Pierre’s great success “Paul et Virginie”, published in 1788, Daniel Defoe’s famous “Robinson Crusoe”, Marmontel’s novel “Les Incas”, published during the American Revolutionary War, and Chateaubriand’s “Atala”, published in 1801, all profoundly changed Europeans’ view of other civilisations. This literary movement created a romantic vision of a sort of pagan Garden of Eden, renewed and regenerated by Christianity. As often happened in the French decorative arts, this was to have an effect on many artistic creations, particularly clocks and lighting instruments. This is the context within which the present clock was created by bronze caster Jean-Simon Deverberie in the late 18th century. It is particularly interesting because it is related to two types of clock, both extremely sought-after by knowledgeable horological collectors at the time; the “pendule au nègre” and the “pendule au char”.

    Very few similar clocks are known; most date from a later period. One such example is illustrated in Tardy, La pendule française, du Louis XVI à nos jours, Paris, 1975, p. 377; a second clock is in the François Duesberg Museum in Mons (see Musée François Duesberg, Arts décoratifs 1775-1825, Bruxelles, 2004, p. 54); a third example is in the collection of the Princes of Hessen in the Fasanerie Palace in Fulda (illustrated in the exhibition catalogue Gehäuse der Zeit, 2002, p. 93).

    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.