Very rare Clock in gilded bronze and chiseled with the "palm of memory". It consists of a base covered with a fleur-de-lis canopy where the dial is housed. It is surmounted by a bust representing Louis XVI on which lies a palm branch. The whole rests on a white marble base decorated with foliated friezes in gilt and chiseled bronze, itself resting on four bronze spinning feet.
The movement is signed by Joseph Léonard Roque (master received in 1770) on the dial. The movement on the back is also signed by the same author and has the number 1165.
H. 53 x L.32 x D. 19 cm
The clock we are presenting today is exceptional and intriguing. Indeed, both by its quality and by the hypotheses of dating, this clock deserves special attention.
This is his subject that we will develop first. It represents a bust that we can easily recognize as Louis XVI. It seems to be similar to the marble bust commissioned by Marie-Antoinette in 1777 from Louis Simon Boizot for the Petit Trianon (still preserved today at the Château de Versailles); or the portrait of Louis XVI produced by Louis Joseph Siffrède Duplessis around 1774-1775 (also kept in Versailles). He wears a garment with facings embroidered with flowers, the blue cord, the cross of the order of the Holy Spirit and the badge of the Golden Fleece. Her hairstyle is tied with a ponytail and her neck is covered by a lace frill. As much by the clothing details as by the expression and the features of the face, it seems obvious that it is Louis XVI who is honored through this clock.
However, other elements indicate that this is more precisely a posthumous tribute. At the foot of the bust, lies a "palm". This twig leaf is the symbol of Christian martyrs in the West. Thus, this composition marks more the hypothesis of a tribute in memory of the beheaded king than of a celebration during his reign. In addition, the imposing plinth on which the bust rests is covered with a thick sheet decorated with numerous lilies. The latter undoubtedly reminds us of the canopy of Louis XVI's coronation in Reims. The clock seems to be a “monument”.
It can therefore only be an order under the Restoration at the time of the return of the Count of Provence (brother of Louis XVI, King Louis XVIII). However, this hypothesis is qualified by the general style of the clock and by the signature of the movement. Indeed, this form of pendulum still carries very “XVIIIe century” airs. The movement is signed "Joseph Léonard Roque". This is the master watchmaker who worked for the greatest figures of the Kingdom (Marie-Antoinette, the Count of Provence, Mesdames les filles de Louis XV, etc.) and with the most talented craftsmen (Claude Siméon Passemant, JJ De Saint Germain, Jean Louis Prieur, etc.). Today we notice throughout his production that he has specialized in luxury clocks, taking care to provide a very neat and high quality movement. It is no surprise that we learn that he was housed in the Louvre and that he bore the title of "Clockmaker to the King". However, we also know that it went bankrupt around 1785-1786 and continued its activities until the revolution. He died at the very beginning of the 19th century. He seems to have numbered all his works (the number of our pendulum is part of the last number of his production). In addition, the hands are Louis XVI style.
It is therefore legitimate to question the dating of our pendulum (first years of the Restoration). Nevertheless, it is likely that the bronzier used an already existing and ancient movement (thus respecting the homage to King Louis XVI for his work).
We can easily imagine that a famous character ordered this unprecedented clock (no other similar has been identified to this day). Thus, the work of our study has an obvious historical importance both in the history of decorative arts and in general history.
Augarde (Jean Dominique), The workers of time, Antiquorum
Kjellberg (Pierre), La pendule française, Les éditions de l'amateur
Tardy, The French clock
Price : on request
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