ED. DETALLE, mantel clock, "Satyr and Bacchante" after James Pradier (1790-1852), made in Paris c. 1870
Inscribed ‘Pradier’ in cursive script on front of base; no foundry mark. Signed on the dial: Ed. Detalle, Rue St Antoine 180, Près la Rue de Rivoli.
Bronze group with light brown patination; reduction of the original marble by James Pradier, now in the Louvre (R.F. 3475); it rests on a black Mazy marble pedestal flanked by two volute-shaped capitals, the corners decorated with fluted pilasters in vert-de-mer marble.
Half-man, half-goat, the satyr is depicted with horns, hoofs and a tail. With one knee on the ground, the satyr supports on his thigh a swooning female figure and with his free hand removes the light garment that covered her. In a state of rapture, she seems to both push him away and draw him close. Depicted in a posture of sensual surrender, the Bacchante has abandoned her attributes: the thyrsus and drinking cup; on the base the discarded thyrsus rests alongside a tambourine.
French movement with two spring barrels; the time train on the right side with spring suspension adjustable from the front of the dial and self-levelling escapement, both patents from Achille Brocot, visible anchor and escape wheel, with jewel half-rollers; the strike train on the left side for every half hour on a silvered bell, countwheel.
Enamel dial on two levels, separated by an ormolu circle, the outer with Roman numerals for the hours and fine graduation for the minutes, the inner with the visible escapement, the two Breguet-style blued steel hands, and the signature Ed. Detalle, Rue St Antoine 180, Près la Rue de Rivoli. All the visible metallic parts in either polished steel or ormolu, the escape wheel in brass. Front and rear bevelled flat glass.
The original marble Satyr and Bacchante by James Pradier, now in the Louvre, caused quite a stir when it was first exhibited at the Salon of 1834, sending moral and aesthetic shockwaves throughout the Parisian art world. A monumental piece of life-size proportions, the carnal and erotic nature of this group created such a scandal at the time that out of respect for public decency it was relegated to ‘the back corner of a small room.’ Some claimed to recognize the features of Pradier himself and his mistress Juliette Drouet. After the government refused its acquisition, Count Anatoly Demidov purchased the piece and brought it to Italy.
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