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Thématiques: Turning Circles

  • Galle
    Claude Galle (1759-1815)

    Important Gilt Bronze Mantel Clock with Matte Finishing and Green Marble

    Vase with Winged Naiads

    Vase_pendule_004-05_HD_WEB

    Attributed to Claude Galle

    Paris, Empire period, circa 1805

    Height60.5 cm Width34 cm

    The rotating dial indicates the Roman numeral hours and the Arabic numeral minutes. It is fitted in a finely chased, matte gilt case in the form of a vase. The clock is surmounted by an eagle holding a snake in its claws. The handles are formed by two superb winged female figures whose bodies terminate in scrolling leaves; they hold flaming urns that are adorned with gadrooning. The vase is adorned with vine leaves, swans facing each other and drinking from a bowl, medallions centered by groups of child musicians, one of whom is holding music, which are surmounted by a lion’s mask with snakes. The child musicians are surrounded by motifs of addorsed griffons, palmettes, and dancing putti holding a draperies that terminate in garlands of flowers and leaves on which a birds perch. The lower portion is adorned with a bouquet of large leaves and stylized palmettes. The tapering pedestal is decorated with a gadrooned knop and a torus of laurel leaves and seeds. The clock is raised on a quadrangular base with a cavetto frieze in green marble.

    The composition of this vase-form clock was inspired by neoclassical models of the second half of the 18th century. One of the most elaborate horological models of the Napoleonic period, during that time it was also produced as an ornamental vase. One such pair of vases may be seen in A. Kuchumov, Pavlovsk, Palace & Park, Leningrad, 1975, p. 52-53.

     

    Among the few similar examples known to exist, one clock whose dial is signed “Thonissen à Paris” is in the Württembergisches Landesmuseum in Stuttgart (illustrated in R. Mühe and H. Vogel, Horloges anciennes, Fribourg, 1978, p. 116, fig. 154). A second example, once part of the collection of Empress Eugenie, was formerly in the Perez de Olaguer-Feliu collection in Barcelona (see Luis Monreal y Tejada, Relojes antiguos (1500-1850), Coleccion F. Perez de Olaguer-Feliu, Barcelona, 1955, plate 71, catalogue n° 90). A third example is in the Royal Spanish Collection (see J. Ramon Colon de Carvajal, Catalogo de Relojes del Patrimonio nacional, Madrid, 1987, p. 207, n° 189). Two further similar clocks, one with a round dial and the other with a cadrans tournants dial, are in the Musée François Duesberg in Mons (see Musée François Duesberg, Arts décoratifs 1775-1825, Bruxelles, 2004, p. 32-33).

    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.



    Lepaute  -  Osmond
    Jean-André and Jean-Baptiste Lepaute
    Robert Osmond (1711-1789)

    A Rare Gilt Bronze Neoclassical Vase-Shaped Clock with Matte and Gilt Finishing

    Vase_pendule003-04_BD_MAIL

    Movement signed by Jean-Baptiste Lepaute

    Case Attributed to Robert Osmond

    Paris, transition period between Louis XV and Louis XVI, circa 1770

    Height46.5 cm Width19 cm DepthBase 19.8 cm x 19.8 cm

    The clock indicates the Roman numeral hours and the Arabic numeral five-minute intervals on enamel cartouches in two superimposed revolving dials that are decorated with lozenges set with quatrefoils. The neoclassical case is in the form of a gilt bronze baluster vase with matte and gilt finishing. The clock is surmounted by a pinecone finial around which a snake is coiled; the snake’s tongue is the pointer that marks the time on the revolving dials. The applied classical handles are adorned with lions’ heads with mobile rings in their mouths. The molded belly of the vase features a frieze with interlacing motifs above and a wreath of leaves below. The sloping base is decorated with a knop and a ribbon-tied laurel torus. The square plinth, where the slow/fast adjustment is located, is decorated with wide laurel garlands that are held in place by bows and are supported on a truncated column with wide, rudented fluting, one of which conceals the winding hole. The molded base is adorned with ribbon-tied reeds and laurel toruses. A square plinth with matte decoration, which bears the signature “Lepaute”, supports the clock.

    Clocks in the form of classical vases came into fashion in Paris during the second half of the 18th century and immediately became popular among the important collectors of the time. The model was particularly suited to the elegant cercles tournants dials, which collectors often preferred to the traditional round dials, thought to be too “ordinary”. Today, several such clock models are known, but only very few of them are as well-balanced and elegant as the present clock. Among the comparable vase-shaped clocks known, one example in the form of a vase standing on a truncated column, made by the bronze-caster Robert Osmond and the clockmaker Lepaute in 1770, is illustrated in H. Ottomeyer and P. Pröschel, Vergoldete Bronzen, Band I, Editions Klinkhardt & Biermann, Munich, 1986, p. 194. A second clock is in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris (see P. Jullian, Le style Louis XVI, Editions Baschet et Cie, Paris, 1983, p. 121, fig .4). One further such clock is in the Musée du Petit Palais in Paris (see Tardy, La pendule française, Des origines à nos jours, 2ème partie: Du Louis XVI à nos jours, Paris, 1974, p. 289, fig. 3).

    Jean-André and Jean-Baptiste Lepaute

    Lepaute Horloger du Roi à Paris“: This is the signature of the brothers Jean-André Lepaute (1720-1789) and Jean-Baptiste Lepaute (1727-1802), remarkable clockmakers born in Thonne-la-Long in Lorraine who were both horlogers du Roi (Clockmakers of the King).

    Jean-André came to Paris as a young man and was joined by his brother in 1747. The Lepaute enterprise, founded informally in 1750, was formally incorporated in 1758. Jean-André, who was received as a maître by the corporation des horlogers in 1759, was lodged first in the Palais du Luxembourg and then, in 1756, in the Galeries du Louvre. Jean-André Lepaute wrote a horological treatise (Traité d’Horlogerie), published in Paris in 1755. Another volume, entitled Description de plusieurs ouvrages d’horlogerie (A Description of several horological pieces) appeared in 1764. In 1748 he married the mathematician and astronomer Nicole-Reine Etable de la Brière, who among other things predicted the return of Halley’s Comet.

    Jean-Baptiste Lepaute, received maître in December 1776, was known for the equation of time clock he constructed for the Paris Hôtel de Ville (1780, destroyed in the fire of 1871) and the clock of the Hôtel des Invalides.

    The two brothers worked for the French Garde-Meuble de la Couronne; their clocks were appreciated by the most important connoisseurs of the time, both in France and abroad, such as the Prince Charles de Lorraine and the Queen Louise-Ulrika of Sweden.

    Jean-Baptiste took over the workshop when Jean-André retired in 1775.



    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.



    In the same category
    Moinet  -  Thomire
    Louis Moinet or Moynet (1768-1853)
    Pierre-Philippe Thomire (1757-1843)

    Exceptional Patinated and Gilt Bronze and Black Marble Mantel Garniture with Matte and Burnished Finishing

    Vase_pendule001-03_HD_WEB

    The movement signed “Moinet l’aîné”

    The bronzes Attributed to Pierre-Philippe Thomire

    Paris, Empire period, circa 1810

    Clock :
    Height71 cm Width29 cm DiamètreBase 25.3 x 25.3 cm
    Vases :
    Height54 cm Width23.5 cm DiamètreBase 18 x 18 cm

    Provenance:

    Sold Paris, Palais Galliera, Maîtres Laurin-Guilloux-Buffetaud, June 21, 1974, lot 59.

     

    Made entirely of finely chased patinated and gilt bronze with matte and burnished finishing and black marble, this garniture comprises a central vase housing the clock and two lateral oval-shaped vases. The clock has an aperture within a medallion framed by a flower wreath, which indicates the Roman numeral hours and Arabic five-minute intervals on two silvered metal cadrans tournants; the movement is signed “Moinet l’aîné”. The lip is adorned with a frieze of veined leaves; the neck is decorated with applied motifs of flowers and scrolling foliage, framed by birds that peck at seeds. The belly, with plain and reeded motifs, is further embellished with medallions framing rosettes that are flanked by flowers and scrolls and a magnificent classical-style frieze depicting dancing bacchantes. The lower portion is adorned with wide leaves alternating with stems of flowers; the spreading pedestal is decorated with a row of stylized water leaves. The applied handles, with reserves containing flower and leaf garlands, are attached to the belly by female masks emerging from palmettes and to the neck by medallions centered by neoclassical profiles. The quadrangular base features thyrsi motifs with intertwining vine branches and snakes on either side of wicker baskets filled with fruits. The spreading pedestal is adorned with water leaves. The clock stands on a square base. The two similarly decorated lateral vases are elaborately embellished with applied palmette, C-scroll, and flower motifs and arabesque style torches flanked by kneeling female figures that are tying ribbons. The applied slightly curved handles are adorned with foliage against matted reserves, and are attached to the necks by medallions centered by female masks inside of wreaths. The vases stand on pedestals decorated with wide ribbed water leaves, which themselves are set on square black marble bases with quadrangular plinths decorated with molding featuring friezes of alternating leaves and stems.

    The present garniture is comparable to certain pieces by the Parisian bronzier Claude Galle, including a  vase-form clock that Galle made circa 1810, an example of which is in the Grand Trianon (see H. Ottomeyer and P. Pröschel, Vergoldete Bronzen, Band I; Munich, 1986, p. 365, fig. 5.12.12). A second is on display in the Museo di Capodimonte in Naples (illustrated in A. Gonzales-Palacios, Il Gusto dei Principi, Arte di corte del XVIIe e del XVIIIe secolo, Milan, 1993, p. 74, fig. 127). It may be attributed to Pierre-Philippe Thomire, the most talented Parisian bronze caster of the final years of the 18th century and the first decades of the following century.

    The unusual design of the clock may be seen on an “aux commères” vase-form clock, which is identical except for a variation in the treatment of the handles. The “aux commères” clock was created by Thomire circa 1805-1810. A few rare examples of it are known to exist, among them one example made entirely of gilt bronze that is in the Royal Spanish Collection (illustrated in J. Ramon Colon de Carvajal, Catalogo de relojes del Patrimonio nacional, Madrid, 1987,  p. 164, catalogue 142). A second example, in patinated and gilt bronze, signed “Louis Moinet”, is on display in the David Roche Foundation in Melbourne; it was commissioned circa 1810 by Ernst-August, Prince of Hanover (illustrated in J. Russel and R. Cohn, French Empire Mantel Clock, Editions Bookvika, 2012, p. 8).

    One further example of a vase identical to those flanking the present clock, which nevertheless features slight variations in the base, is illustrated in a catalogue devoted to the work of Pierre-Philippe Thomire that is now in Russia (see A.N. Voronikhina, Dekorativnaia bronza Pera-Filippa Tomira (1751-1843), Leningrad, Hermitage Museum, 1984).

    Louis Moinet or Moynet (1768 - 1853)

    Was one of the most important Parisian clockmakers of the early decades of the 19th century. Born in Bourges, Moinet drew notice at a young age due to his passion for clockmaking, winning numerous first prizes and competitions. Also an enthusiastic painter and draughtsman, he stayed in Italy for several years, studying classical antiquity. When he returned to France, he settled in Paris and became a professor at the Académie des Beaux-Arts in the Louvre. A member of several artistic and scholarly societies, he became friendly, and collaborated with, many of the finest artists, artisans, and scientists of the time. His passion for clockmaking soon took precedence over painting and Moinet concentrated exclusively on the practical and theoretical aspects of clockmaking. He invented the first chronograph in 1816; ten years earlier he had designed an automaton clock for the Emperor, in which Napoleon and Josephine were crowned when the music box was activated. He also made pieces for Prince Murat and Marshall Ney. His fame spread beyond the borders of France, and Moinet designed clocks for American presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe, as well as for George IV, King of England. Today the clocks made in his workshop are all thought to have been made in collaboration with Pierre-Philippe Thomire, with whom the clockmaker must have had a close commercial and personal relationship.



    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.



    Rare Mantel Clock in the Form of a Rotunda-Type Temple, made of Gilt Bronze with Matte and Burnished Finishing, Bisque Porcelain, and White Carrara Marble

    Pendule426-02_HD_WEB

    Paris, Louis XVI period, circa 1780-1785

    Height39 cm Diamètre17.5 cm

    The present mantel clock, a luxurious pretext for time indication, takes the form of a rotunda-type Neoclassical temple. It is made of finely chased gilt bronze with matte and burnished finishing, and white Carrara marble. The time is indicated on two cadrans tournants made up of enamel cartouches. The upper one shows the Arabic numeral five-minute intervals; the lower one indicates the Roman numeral hours. The time is indicated by a fixed gilt bronze arrow. The partially visible movement is fitted within an entablature with tapering columns decorated with knops and fluted rings that are linked by garlands of beads. The clock is surmounted by a dome with a seed and acanthus leaf finial. The upper and lower portions are linked by four columns with capitals decorated with beads and molded bases that are centered by a promontory on which stands a small bisque porcelain figure depicting a young girl who is carrying fruit in her skirt. The clock stands on a round plinth with a balustrade framed by beads and cords; it is raised upon four square feet decorated with triple fluting.

    The unusual rotunda-form composition of the present mantel clock, which takes the form of a classical temple, was inspired by the “Temple of Love” that was built in 1778 for Queen Marie-Antoinette by architect Richard Mique, in the gardens of the Petit Trianon. Known as a “fabrique”, that building designed for the queen was universally considered to be absolutely beautiful, with perfectly harmonious proportions. It was much imitated in various domains of the French decorative arts at the time, and particularly in the field of horology. After its creation the “temple” clock appeared, presenting a more or less faithful version of the queen’s rotunda. In 1786 one example, which was probably comparable to the present clock, was estimated at 144 livres; it stood in the drawing room of Charles-Guillaume-Louis, Marquis de Broglie: “A mantel clock with cadran tournant mounted on four columns in white marble, with striking and ornaments of gilt copper, with a small bisque figure”. Among the small number of similar models known today, one might cite one example that was formerly in the “Au vieux Cadran” collection (see Tardy, La pendule française, 2ème Partie, Du Louis XVI à nos jours, Paris, 1974, p. 286). A second example, with lapis lazuli columns, is illustrated in P. Kjellberg, Encyclopédie de La Pendule Française du moyen-âge au XXe siècle, Les éditions de l’Amateur, Paris, 1997, p. 293, fig. A.

    Roque  -  Noël
    Joseph-Léonard Roque (?-after 1789)
    Marcel-François Noël (active circa 1748-1787)

    Important Gilt Bronze Mantel Clock with Matte and Burnished Finishing

    Pendule401-01_HD_PRESSE

    The Bronzes Attributed to Marcel-François Noël

    Paris, early Louis XVI period, circa 1775

    Height70.5 Width30 Depth30

    The movement, signed “Roque à Paris”, strikes the hours and half hours. It is housed in a covered oval vase made of finely chased gilt bronze with matte and burnished finishing. The vase is divided in two by two cadrans tournants with enamel cartouches; they indicate the Roman numeral hours and the Arabic numeral five-minute intervals by means of two blued steel pointers. The simulated cover is adorned with gadrooning and has a leaf-decorated finial. The applied handles are surmounted by roosters, symbols of Vigilance, and are adorned with vine leaf garlands.

    The lower portion of the vase is gadrooned and rests on an interlace-decorated knop with cabochons; the spreading pedestal is decorated with acanthus leaves. The tall, round base, with concave molding, is decorated with a laurel torus and a garland of grapes and vine leaves. On one of the sides, there are small winding holes, hidden behind two sliding panels, for the movement and the striking. The square shaped base is made of black marble and gilt bronze; it features rosettes and pierced friezes with alternating ovals and flowers against burgundy-colored cloth. The clock is raised upon four chased feet.

    The present monumental vase-shaped clock, which is based on an allegorical theme, is one of the most characteristic models of Parisian neoclassicism from the early years of the reign of Louis XVI. It stands out from among the numerous other vase-shaped clocks due to its originality, perfectly balanced composition, and the high quality of the treatment of its bronze mounts. With its sober juxtaposition of bronze and marble, it may be compared to the small number of known similar cadrans tournant clocks, which were often one-of-a-kind pieces. One clock housed in a blue porcelain vase with gold veins, in imitation lapis lazuli, is in the Louvre Museum in Paris (illustrated in J. Durand, M. Bimbenet-Privat and F. Dassas, Décors, mobilier et objets d’art du Musée du Louvre de Louis XIV à Marie-Antoinette, Paris, 2014, p. 452, catalogue n° 189). A second example, in alabaster, was made by clockmaker Antide Janvier around 1788 (see M. Hayard, Antide Janvier 1751-1835, Horloger des étoiles, Villeneuve-Tolosane, 1995, p. 64-65). One further clock, with a movement by Roque, along with a pendant calendar of the same model, is in Waddesdon Manor; during the 18th century it was in the collection of the Marquis de Brunoy (illustrated in J-D. Augarde, Les ouvriers du Temps, La pendule à Paris de Louis XIV à Napoléon Ier, Genève, 1996, p. 395, fig. 289).

    The attribution of the finely chased bronze case to Parisian artisan Marcel-François Noël is based on the fact that a clock of the same model was mentioned in July 1778 as being in the shop of that artisan (see J-D. Augarde, Les ouvriers du Temps, La pendule à Paris de Louis XIV à Napoléon Ier, Genève, 1996, p. 187, fig. 149). An identical clock, also by Roque, was described in a Paris sale in the mid 1770s: “Another clock, made by Roque, in the shape of a vase, marking the hours and minutes on two mobile dials, with a rooster on each side, (symbolizing vigilance), decorated with garlands of grape leaves and grapes, a rhinestone star marking the hours, all in gilt ormolu bronze, being two feet tall”.

    Among the very small number of identical models known, one example with a movement by Barancourt in Paris, is illustrated in P. Kjellberg, Encyclopédie de la pendule française du Moyen Age au XXe siècle, Les éditions de l’Amateur, Paris, 1997, p. 287, fig. D (see also E. Niehüser, Die französische Bronzeuhr, Eine Typologie der figürlichen Darstellungen, Munich, 1997, p. 262, fig. 1271).

    Joseph-Léonard Roque (? - after 1789)

    He became a master clockmaker on July 31, 1770, and was one of the most important Parisian horlogists of the second half of the 18th century. He probably trained initially with the mécanicien Alexis Magny, then entered the workshop of Claude-Siméon Passemant, where he remained until his death in 1769. The following year Roque was registered as a master and opened a workshop in the “column building of the Vieux Louvre, moving to the passage du Saumon as of 1772. Named Horloger du Roi, he quickly gained renown, specializing in luxury clocks, and working with the finest artisans in Paris. Among his clientele there were several influential aristocrats, such as Jean-René de la Tour du Pin, Marquis de la Charce, and François-Frédéric de Varennes, Marquis de Bouron, as well as important financiers, including Court banker Nicolas Beaujon, Farmer-General Tavernier de Boulongne, and banker Pierre Sévène. Several clocks made by Roque were mentioned in inventories during the Revolutionary period as being in the Royal French collections. These clocks had mostly been made for Louis XV, Louis XVI, and Marie-Antoinette.



    Marcel-François Noël (active circa 1748 - 1787)

    Marcel-François Noël was a Parisian gilder active circa 1748-1787.



    In the same category
    Daguerre
    Dominique Daguerre

    Rare White Marble and Gilt Bronze Cadrans Tournants Mantel Clock

    Pendule370-02_BD_MAIL

    Almost Certainly Made under the Supervision of Dominique Daguerre

    Paris, late Louis XVI period, circa 1785

    Height44 Width28.5 Depth17

    The two cadrans tournants, or revolving ring dials, indicate the Roman numeral hours and Arabic numeral minutes on rectangular white enamel cartouches. The unusual case, in the form of a cylindrical reliquary, is elaborately adorned with finely chased and gilt bronze. The clock is surmounted by a white marble dome that is adorned with beadwork, flower garlands, and an uppermost leafy bouquet. It is supported by pierced lyre-shaped elements that alternate with medallions of birds and flowers, with decorative laurel branches. The round base is adorned with leaf motifs. The pedestal, chased with wide acanthus leaves, is supported by a round white marble base that is embellished with ribbon-tied floral garlands. On either side, standing on the terrace, are two young winged Cupids that are wearing light draperies held in place by a strap around their chests; they appear to support the movement. The lobed white statuary Carrara marble plinth is elegantly adorned with beadwork and pierced friezes of leafy scrolls and stylized rosettes. The clock is raised upon four finely chased and fluted feet that enhance the elegance of the composition.

    The particularly elaborate design of the present clock was freely inspired by a slightly different composition that also features two identical figures of children. That second clock, which was quite successful, was very likely made by a Parisian bronzier such as François Rémond or Pierre-Philippe Thomire, under the supervision of Dominique Daguerre, the most important Parisian merchant of luxury objects of the time; he must have owned the model and therefore could have produced several variations of it. Similar clocks include an example whose dial is signed Guydamour, and which is now in the Frick Collection in New York (illustrated in H. Ottomeyer and P. Pröschel, Vergoldete Bronzen, Band I, Munich, 1986, p. 280, fig. 4.13.2). A second clock, perhaps the same as the preceding one, was formerly in the Russian Imperial Collection; it was sold at auction in Berlin in 1928 (Rudolph Lepke, November 6-7, 1928, lot 169).

    A small number of clocks that are identical to the present one are known; they sometimes feature small variations in their ornamental motifs. One clock of this model was formerly in the collection of Madame Brach (see S. de Ricci, Le style Louis XVI, Mobilier et décoration, Paris, plate 163). A second example was included in the sale of the well-known Florence J. Gould collection (sold Sotheby’s, Monaco, June 25-26, 1984, lot 626). A third example, bearing a cartouche with the signature of the clockmaker Lenepveu, is illustrated in P. Kjellberg, Encyclopédie de la pendule française du Moyen Age à nos jours, Paris, 1997, p. 295. One further such clock was in the collection of Annie Kane and is today in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (Inv.26.260.37).

    Dominique Daguerre

    Dominique Daguerre is the most important marchand-mercier (i.e. merchant of luxury objects) of the last quarter of the 18th century. Little is known about the early years of his career; he appears to have begun to exercise his profession around 1772, the year he went into partnership with Philippe-Simon Poirier (1720-1785), the famous marchand-mercier who began using porcelain plaques from the Manufacture royale de Sèvres to adorn pieces of furniture. When Poirier retired around 1777-1778, Daguerre took over the shop in the rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, keeping the name “La Couronne d’Or”. He retained his predecessor’s clientele, and significantly increased the shop’s activity within just a few years. He played an important role in the renewal of the Parisian decorative arts, working with the finest cabinetmakers of the day, including Adam Weisweiler, Martin Carlin and Claude-Charles Saunier, cabinetmaker of the Garde-Meuble de la Couronne, Georges Jacob, the bronziers and chaser-gilders Pierre-Philippe Thomire and François Rémond, and the clockmaker Renacle-Nicolas Sotiau. A visionary merchant who brought the level of French luxury goods to its highest point, Daguerre settled in England in the early 1780’s, having gone into partnership with Martin-Eloi Lignereux, who remained in charge of the Paris shop. In London, where he enjoyed the patronage of the Prince Regent (the future King George IV), Daguerre actively participated in the furnishing and decoration of Carlton House and the Brighton Pavilion. Taking advantage of his extensive network of Parisian artisans, he imported most of the furniture, chairs, mantelpieces, bronze furnishings, and art objects from France, billing over 14500£, just for 1787. Impressed by Daguerre’s talent, several British aristocrats, called on his services as well. Count Spencer engaged him for the decoration of Althorp, where Daguerre worked alongside architect Henry Holland (1745-1806). In Paris, Daguerre and his partner Lignereux continued to supply influential connoisseurs and to deliver magnificent pieces of furniture to the Garde-Meuble de la Couronne, which were placed in the apartments of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette. Daguerre retired in 1793, no doubt deeply affected by the French Revolution and the loss of many of his most important clients.



    Cronier  -  Osmond
    Antoine Cronier (1732-après 1806)
    Robert Osmond (1711-1789)

    Exceptional Gilt Bronze Mantle Clock in the form of a Neoclassical Lidded Vase with Matte and Burnished Finishing

    Pendule406-02_HD_WEB

    The Case Attributed to Robert Osmond

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

    Height65.5 Width28

    The movement is housed in a neoclassical case shaped as a classical lidded vase made of finely chased gilt bronze with matte and burnished finishing. The time is indicated by two silvered copper cercles tournants, one indicating the Arabic numeral five-minute intervals, and the other the Roman numeral hours alternating with stylized four-leaf clovers; the upper band is surmounted by the signature of the clockmaker: “Cronier à Paris”, which is engraved in the bronze. The time is indicated by the tongues of two snakes with finely chased scales, which are coiled around the body of the vase and lid. The vase has a truncated oval shape, its lid terminates in a seed finial that emerges from a bouquet of finely detailed leaves; its applied Greek handles are adorned with mille-raie patterns and a laurel-leaf swag; the lower portion of the vase, adorned with lambrequins, is supported on a molded pedestal that is decorated with ribbon-tied reeds. The base, in the form of a truncated column with wide fluting; the base, with plain toruses, features a plain torus, surmounted by a cavetto molding with reserves and rosettes. It is decorated with fringed draperies that hang from pastilles. The base is quadrangular.

    The remarkable design of this important mantel clock, and the exceptional quality of its chasing, gilding, and matte and burnished finishing, offers a perfect illustration of the neoclassical decorative style that was began in the mid 18th century due to the influence of a group of important Parisian collectors, including the Count de Caylus and Ange-Laurent Lalive de Jully. The style came about as a reaction against the rococo models popular during the reign of Louis XV, which were considered to be old fashioned; the rococo style had dominated the French decorative arts for several decades. The neoclassical revival, called “a return to classicism”, was influenced by the archeological discoveries made in the ancient Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, near Naples. The fabulous discoveries that were made there continued to influence French and European decorative arts for several decades.

    This is the context within which the present clock was made. Its elaborate neoclassical design, its size – very large for a “vase” type clock – and the fact that very few identical clocks are known, make it one of the most spectacular vase clocks of the period. Its design seems to have been influenced by the work of Jean-Louis Prieur, and in particular by a drawing by Prieur that is today preserved in the University of Warsaw. In addition, a vase-form clock that is adorned with figures, and whose body is quite similar to the present example, is on display in the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon (see H. Ottomeyer and P. Pröschel, Vergoldete Bronzen, Die Bronzearbeiten des Spätbarock und Klassizismus, Band I, Munich, 1986, p. 167). However, despite these similarities, the present clock most closely resembles several pieces by the famous bronzier Robert Osmond, who made a specialty of clocks shaped as classical vases. It is particularly close to a model in the Zähringer Museum in Baden-Baden (see P. Verlet, Les bronzes dorés français du XVIIIe siècle, Editions Picard, Paris, 1987, p. 110, fig. 131).

    To the best of our knowledge, only four other identical clocks are known today: the first, signed “Lepaute”, was offered at the 19th century sale of the sumptuous collection of William, 12th Duke of Hamilton in Hamilton Palace (sold Christie, Manson & Woods, 17 June to 20 July 1882); it appears to be the one described in an important collection during the second half of the 18th century: “A vase-shaped clock, with square handles, laurel garlands on fluted columns, truncated with draperies, all in ormolu gilt bronze. Turning dial. Two snakes bearing the minutes hand. The movement is by Lepaute”. The second, whose bronze is engraved with the name of the clockmaker Furet, is illustrated in P. Kjellberg, Encyclopédie de la pendule française du Moyen Age au XXe siècle, Les éditions de l’Amateur, Paris, 1997, p. 284, fig. B. The third, which combines gilt bronze and white marble, and features several decorative variations, is in the Louvre Museum in Paris (illustrated in Tardy, La pendule française, 2ème Partie: Du Louis XVI à nos jours, Paris, 1975, p. 289, fig. 5, and in E. Niehüser, Die französische Bronzeuhr, Eine Typologie der figürlichen Darstellungen, Editions Callwey, Munich, 1997, p. 263, fig. 1292). A fourth clock of this type, which is identical to the present clock, is part of the horological collection of Pavlovsk Palace, near Saint Petersburg, formerly the summer residence of Tsar Paul I. It also bears the signature of clockmaker Antoine Cronier engraved in the bronze and has been attributed to the bronze caster Osmond (see The State Culture Preserve Pavlovsk, Full Catalogue of the Collections, Tome X, Métal-Bronze, Volume I, Clocks, regulators, cartels, Saint Petersburg, 2011, p. 24, catalogue n° 7).

    Antoine Cronier (1732 - après 1806)

    Antoine Crosnier, or Cronier, was one of the most important Parisian clockmakers of the second half of the 18th century. The son of a Parisian master joiner, he became a master on March 1, 1763 and opened a workshop in the rue Saint-Honoré. He quickly became very successful among influential Parisian collectors of luxury horology, and worked with the finest artisans of the time, including the cabinetmaker Jean-Pierre Latz, the bronziers François Vion and the Osmonds, and the gilder Honoré Noël. During the 18th century, several of his clocks were mentioned as belonging to the Marshal de Choiseul-Stainville, the Marquis de Sainte-Amaranthe, the Duke des Deux-Ponts and the Prince Belosselsky-Belozersky.



    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.



    White Marble and Gilt Bronze Mantel Clock

    “The Temple of Diana”

    Pendule329-03_HD_WEB

    Paris, Louis XVI period, circa 1785

    Height61

    This clock, modelled as an antique round temple, has an upper portion composed of ormolu-mounted marble arches through which the movement may be viewed. Surmounting the whole, a globe with two revolving enamel ring dials indicates the hours in Roman numerals and the minutes in Arabic numerals; at its summit a winged cupid holds an arrow in his left hand and a bow in his right. The entablature beneath the marble arches is ornamented with alternating triglyphs and sprays of leaves and flowers. The five fluted white marble columns have Doric capitals and quadrangular bases mounted with chased gilt bronze laurel leaf tores and sunflowers. The gilt bronze figure standing in the temple represents Diana the huntress, accompanied by her greyhound. The round stepped base is of white statuary marble.

    The clock’s elaborate architectural design derives from the antique Greek and Roman temples, both real and fictitious, such as those that were depicted by Hubert Robert and other artists in the late 18th century. It appears, however, to have been specifically inspired by the Temple de l’Amour, built in 1777-1778 for Marie-Antoinette on the grounds of the Petit Trianon at Versailles, by architect Richard Mique (see Michon’s engraving after a painting by Pierre Courvoisier, illustrated in D. Ledoux-Lebard, Versailles, Le Petit Trianon, Les Editions de l’Amateur, Paris, 1989, p. 31).

    Identical, or even comparable clocks, are extremely rare. A clock signed Furet, though it differs in many respects, is based on a similar composition. It is part of the Royal Spanish Collections (illustrated in J. Ramon Colon de Carvajal, Catalogo de Relojes del Patrimonio Nacional, Madrid, 1987, p. 90, catalogue n° 73). Two other known clocks are identical to the present clock: the first, with movement signed Festeau à Paris, is pictured in P. Kjellberg, Encyclopédie de la pendule française du Moyen Age au XXe siècle, Paris, 1997, p. 292, fig. B; the second, with a gilt bronze dome, is signed by the clockmaker Gavelle; it is in the British Royal Collection (see C. Jagger, Royal Clocks, The British Monarchy and its Timekeepers 1300-1900, London, 1983, p. 150).