Offered by Richard Redding Antiques
Leading antique and fine art gallery, specialises in the finest French clocks.
A rare and extremely fine Louis XV gilt bronze mounted and polychrome painted blue corne marquetry grand cartel with bracket by the eminent maker Jean-Baptiste Baillon and housed in a very fine case made by François Goyer, signed on a white enamel plaque on the dial mask J BT Baillon à Paris and further signed on the backplate J B Baillon à Paris and also signed F Goyer on the case. The finely foliate chased dial plate with blue Roman hour numerals within shaped enamel cartouches and outside blue Arabic numerals for the five minute intervals within lozenge-shaped enamel cartouches and inner indications for the seconds, with a fine pair of blued steel hands for the hours and minutes. The movement with silk thread suspension, striking on a single bell, with outside count wheel. The superb oak-carcase polychrome painted blue corne marquetry case of waisted outline decorated overall with floral and foliate garlands, surmounted by an asymmetrical C-scrolled rocaille floral and foliate bronze spray, with further foliate rocaille mounts flanking the upper part of the case and continuing down below the dial, the case supported on scrolled cabriole foliate feet, the splayed bracket again with elaborate foliate rocaille mounts terminated by an asymmetrical foliate boss
Paris, date circa 1750
Overall height: 129 cm.
Literature: Pierre Kjellberg, “Encyclopédie de la Pendule Française du Moyen Age au XXe Siècle”, 1997, p. 83, pl. D, illustrating a very similar vernis Martin lacquered cartel clock with bracket, with movement by Collier Fils à Paris. And p. 84, pl. B, illustrating a comparable cartel case with bracket, again with vernis Martin lacquer, featuring a very similar gilt bronze rocaille finial.
As one of the leading makers of his day, Jean-Baptiste Baillon III (d. 1772) only used the finest makers to create his cases, which in this instance was the work of the Paris ébéniste François Goyer (d. 1763). Others who supplied him with cases included Jean-Joseph de Saint-Germain, Jean-Baptiste Osmond, Balthazar Lieutaud, the Caffieris, Vandernasse and Edmé Roy, while Antoine-Nicolas Martinière sometimes provided his dials and Chaillou his enamel work.. Baillon was undoubtedly the most famous member of a long line of clockmakers and one of the most significant French horologers of the eighteenth century. His importance was largely due to his business acumen and the way in which he organized a vast and thriving manufactory on an unprecedented scale. His private factory in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, which was managed from 1748-57 by Jean Jodin and continued until 1765 when Baillon closed it, was unique in the history of eighteenth century clockmaking. The renowned clockmaker, Ferdinand Berthoud was among many to be impressed by its scale and quality and in 1753 noted “His [Baillon’s] house is the finest and richest Clock Shop. Diamonds are used not only to decorate his Watches, but even Clocks. He has made some whose cases were small gold boxes, decorated with diamond flowers imitating nature…His house in Saint-Germain is a kind of factory. It is full of Workmen continually labouring for him…for he alone makes a large proportion of the Clocks and Watches [of Paris]”. From there he supplied the most illustrious clientele, not least the French and Spanish royal family, the Garde-Meuble de la Couronne as well as distinguished members of Court and the cream of Paris society.
Baillon’s father, Jean-Baptiste II (d. 1757) a Parisian maître-horloger and his grandfather, Jean-Baptiste I from Rouen were both clockmakers as was his own son, Jean-Baptiste IV Baillon (b. 1752 d. circa 1773). Baillon himself was received as a maître-horloger in 1727. 1738 saw his first important appointment as Valet de Chambre-Horloger Ordinaire de la Reine. He was then made Premier Valet de Chambre de la Reine sometime before 1748 and subsequently Premier Valet de Chambre and Valet de Chambre-Horloger Ordinaire de la Dauphine to Marie-Antoinette, 1770. His Parisian addresses were appropriately Place Dauphine, by 1738, and then rue Dauphine after 1751.
Through his success, Jean-Baptiste Baillon amassed a huge fortune, valued at the time of his death on 8th April 1772 at 384,000 livres. His own collection of fine and decorative arts was auctioned on 16th June 1772, while his remaining stock, which was valued at 55,970 livres, was put up for sale on 23rd February 1773. The sale included 126 finished watches, totalling 31,174 livres and 127 finished watch movements at 8,732 livres. There were also 86 clocks, 20 clock movements, seven marquetry clock cases, one porcelain clock case and eight bronze cases of which seven had elephant figures totalling 14,618 livres. To give some idea of the extent of his enterprise the number of watch movements had reached 4320, while his clock movements had reached 3808.
Today we can admire Baillon’s work in some of the world’s most prestigious collections including the Parisian Musées du Louvre, des Arts Décoratifs, National des Techniques, de Petit Palais and Jacquemart-André. Other examples can be found at Château de Versailles; Musée Paul Dupuy, Toulouse; the Residenz Bamberg; Neues Schloss Bayreuth; Museum für Kunsthandwerk, Frankfurt; the Residenzmuseum Munich and Schleissheim Schloss. Further collections include the Musées Royaux d’Art et d’Histoire Brussels; Patrimonio Nacional Spain; the Metropolitan Museum, New York; Newark Museum; Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore and Dalmeny House, South Queensferry.
As noted, the present case was made by François Goyer, an ébéniste who specialised in the production of clock cases. Goyer was received as a Parisian maître-ébéniste in 1740. After settling in rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine at the sign of l’Autruche, he then set up his workshop in rue de Charonne under the sign of A l’Eau qui dort, where he specialized in the manufacture of bracket clock and cartel clock cases. As here they were of the finest quality and were often ornamented by painted decoration, sumptuous rocaille bronze mounts and were sometimes lacquered in the goût chinois. It is believed that most of Goyer’s cases were executed in collaboration with his brother Jean, a talented vernisseur (varnisher), based in rue Poissonnière, Paris. According to documents found in the archives of the Seine, we know that the Bordeaux clockmaker Mercier-Sacriste purchased a large number of lacquered regulator cases from Goyer. Following his death on 10th August 1763, Goyer’s business was succeeded by his son Jean, who was born in 1731 and was received as a maître in 1760.
11 000 €
12 000 €