“Briant à Paris”
The Case by Robert Osmond
Rare Gilt Bronze Mantle Clock
"The Victory of Science"
Paris, early Louis XVI period, circa 1775
Height 43.5cm; width 40.5cm; depth 15cm
The base signed: OSMOND
The enamel dial, signed “Briant à Paris” indicates the hours in Roman numerals and the Arabic five-minute intervals and date, by means of three hands, two of which are made of pierced, gilt copper. It is set in a finely chased matte and burnished gilt architectural case. The arched pediment, which is adorned with an egg and dart frieze and stylised motifs, is supported by two lateral consoles terminating in acanthus leaf scrolls and fluting inset with gilt bronze mounts. Two rosettes are set in two fluted pilasters flanking the dial; they are draped with a fruit and leaf garland. The clock is surmounted by two children seated on a drapery; the first child, a girl representing an allegory of Science, holds a compass while drawing on a map. The second child, a young winged boy, places a crown on the girl’s head. The clock rests on a rectangular shaped base with matted reserves, which is decorated with a foliate frieze. The base, in turn, rests on a white Carrara marble base, which is adorned with scrolling and flowers in reserves. It is supported on six flattened feet that are decorated with plain bands.
This model, extremely successful among Parisian lovers of fine horology during the last third of the 18th century, is based on a drawing today in the Paris Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art. The bronzier Osmond produced several variations of this model (see H. Ottomeyer and P. Pröschel, Vergoldete Bronzen, Band I, Munich, 1986, p. 228). We know of one example in the Jacquemard-André Museum in Paris, to which the bronze caster added two additional putti on either side of the dial (illustrated in P. Verlet, Les bronzes dorés du XVIIIe siècle, Paris, 1987, p. 117, fig. 148). Three similar models are known: the first two are in the Mobilier National, one having been delivered to Versailles for Madame Royale in 1778 (see Le château de Versailles raconte le Mobilier national, 2011, p. 153-155); the other was ordered by the Count d’Artois for the Palais du Temple in 1777 (see La folie d’Artois à Bagatelle, 1988, p. 108). Another comparable clock, whose dial is signed Lepaute de Belle Fontaine, is in the Royal British Collection in Windsor Castle (Inv. RCIN30021).
Robert Osmond (1711-1789)
Was one of the most important Parisian bronze casters of the last third of the 18th century. In 1746 he was named "maître-fondeur en terre et sable" and became “juré de la corporation des fondeurs” in 1756. Throughout his career he enjoyed great renown. Greatly influenced by the work of his fellow bronze caster Caffieri, as of the mid-1760s Osmond was one of the pioneers in the renewal of the French decorative arts. His work was appreciated by the influential collectors of the period, and his workshop soon prospered. Aided by his nephew Jean-Baptiste Osmond, who became a master founder in 1764 and who succeeded him in 1789, Osmond’s clients were among the period’s elite avant-garde.
Price : on request
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