Offered by Franck Baptiste Paris
16th to 19th century furniture and works of art
Monumental bracket clock in Boulle marquetry realized in first part of brass, on bottom of brown tortoiseshell.
It is presented complete with its dome and its original console.
The latter, which is fixed to the wall and supports the whole, is largely openwork.
It is composed of an acanthus base in bronze from which five volutes finely decorated in brass nets start, ending with scrolls decorated with women’s masks.
The central part, cylindrical in shape, displays a large mask of the philosopher Heraclitus, who in tears symbolizes tragedy.
The tray is surrounded by a thick bronze mold with gadroon decoration, centered on a fall of acanthus scrolls.
The case, of right form, is supported by four feet with claws of lions surmounted by masks of feathered satyrs, while higher four caryatids with busts of women maintain the arched pediment. At the top of the latter is a mask of Hercules topped with the lion's remains, highlighted by two intertwined clubs.
Above, a small dome decorated with bronze horns of plenty serves as a pedestal for the goddess of war Minerva, who is represented helmeted and accompanied by her spear and shield.
The front panel, partly glazed, allows you to contemplate the exuberant « à la Bérain » style decoration of the rear door.
An important bronze bas-relief, whose cut-out follows that of the scalloped crosspiece, shows two embracing female figures representing respectively France (collar of the Holy Spirit Order and fleur de lys) and Spain (collar of the Golden Fleece Order).
At their feet, the remains of the lion of Nemea indicate that the fight between the two great European powers is over and that it is now time for reconciliation.
This allegory symbolizes the end of the Spanish Succession War in 1714.
Above the bas-relief, a crown with two intertwined palms caps the scene and borders the bronze bezel.
The latter is finely chiseled with a palmettes frieze on a background of barley grains, it reveals a dial with twelve enamelled plates on a finely engraved brass background.
The two openworked hands indicate the hours and minutes respectively.
The original movement with silk thread suspension is signed on the back plate "Mynuel à Paris".
Louis Mynuel (Paris, circa 1675 / 1680 - 1742) became in 1705 the king's privileged clockmaker following the Court. He supplied the movements of the clocks intended for the greatest Courts of Europe (of Parma, Poland, Sweden...), of which one said to Four parts of the world, will be delivered to the Elector of Cologne.
Very good condition, perfect working order (revised by our watchmaker).
Work attributable to the king's cabinetmaker André-Charles Boulle (1642-1732), in Paris, around 1714-1715.
Height : 160 cm ; Width : 67 cm ; Depth : 28 cm
A similar bracket clock with a movement by Louis Mynuel, but with some variations in the bronzes, went on sale on December 9, 2013 in Paris (Marc-Arthur Kohn lot 11, estimate 130/180 000 euros).
Our view :
As the important note made by the Kohn company at the time of the sale of a similar piece indicates, the attribution of the cabinetwork and bronzes of our monumental bracket clock to André Charles Boulle is hardly in doubt.
Indeed, a cartel in the Royal Palace in Stockholm attributed to Boulle presents an identical bas-relief.
As for the feathered satyrs, which can be found on a table in Munich (Bayerisches Nationalmuseum inv R.3896), they are recurrent in the work of the great master from 1705.
The mask known as "Heraclitus in tears" also recurs like a leitmotif in the drawings of the king's cabinetmaker and appears, among others, on the desk of the Princes of Condé preserved at the Château de Versailles.
The finesse of the marquetry and the famous rinceaux with multiple "loops" are also characteristic of the master's work and can be found on many of his productions.
Finally, the collaboration between Mynuel and Boulle is confirmed by several pieces such as the famous Apollo's Chariot clock in the Château de Fontainebleau, or the bronze cartel in the V&A Museum in London.
If we don’t know anything about the context of realization, it is interesting to note that the two known cartels differ slightly, one with a more decorated dome and a console decorated with a complaint is designed to be seen from above, while ours, which displays a mask of Hercules on the pediment, is rather made to be seen from above.
We find this type of decoration on the consoles furnishing the landings of private mansions.
It is quite possible that the two pieces made by the king's privileged craftsmen were originally a single commission from the crown for an official building.
This hypothesis is reinforced by the crown with the two palms which overhangs the central allegory.
This symbol was notably used as it is by the Sun King on the bindings of his books and evokes his figure with two intertwined "L".
All these elements, the opulence and the preciousness of our cartel make it a rare piece which, as the notice indicates, is indeed "a masterpiece of Parisian watchmaking from the end of the reign of Louis XIV".
Price : on request