A very rare Empire gilt bronze automaton 'Pendule au Manège' by Jean-François De Belle, rue Saint-Honoré à Paris, signed on the dial.
Jean-François De Belle was received as Maître Horloger in Paris in 1781. He was established in rue Saint-Honoré in 1787
The white enamel dial with Roman numerals and a pair of gilt brass hands for the hours and minutes. The automaton movement activated on the hour rotating the carousel for several minutes. The dial mounted on a stepped hexagonal base chased with palmettes, griffins and infant musicians and mounted by horse heads, the base surmounted by a part-fluted column on a circular foot, chased with anthemion and putti and headed by a sphere. The central column supporting a three-branch carousel, headed by griffins and supporting three swans ridden by an infant Mercury, an infant Cupid and an infant jester.
An identical clock was made for the Austro-Hungarian prince, Count Nikolaus Esterhazy (1765-1833), who was a brilliant soldier and important patron of the arts, while another model was once in the collection of the Marquis of Tweedale.
Literature: Pierre Kjellberg, "Encyclopédie de la Pendule Française du Moyen Age au XXe Siècle", 1997, p. 447, pl. F, illustrating and almost identical clock with a patinated and gilt mounted base.
Price : on request
1 500 €