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An Empire figural clock, by Picnot Père à Paris
An Empire figural clock, by Picnot Père à Paris - Horology Style Empire
Ref : 87616
Price on Request
Period :
19th century
Artist :
Picnot Père à Paris
Provenance :
Medium :
Gilt bronze
Dimensions :
l. 21.65 inch X H. 29.13 inch X P. 7.87 inch
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An Empire figural clock, by Picnot Père à Paris

A superb Empire gilt bronze figural clock, signed on the white enamel dial Picnot Père à Paris, with magnificent case depicting the Spirit of the Arts, the dial with Roman numerals and a pair of blued steel moon hands for the hours and minutes. The movement with anchor escapement, silk thread escapement, striking on the hour and half hour on a single bell, with outside count wheel. The splendid case by Picnot Père à Paris featuring the dial with a floral wreath bezel mounted in a rectangular plinth with very fine mounts, ornamented below with a pair of winged putti with writing tablets seated either side of a pedestal and surrounded by scrolling foliage and palmettes, the clock surmounted by a globe and scientific measuring instrument and sun dial, to the left a sculptured standing winged Classical male holding a book representing the Spirit of the Arts, on a rectangular green marble base with a frieze mount featuring representations of the Liberal Arts, the whole on gadrooned turned feet

Paris, date circa 1805-10
Height 74 cm, width 55 cm, depth 20 cm.

Literature: Cedric Jagger, "Royal Clocks", 1983,p. 149,pi. 203 illustrating a comparable clock known as the Artium Genio clock with case by Pierre-Philippe Thomire in the British Royal Collection.

Jean-Dominique Augarde, "Les Ouvriers du Temps", 1996,p. 142, pi. 103, illustrating another clock case by Jean-Nicolas Picnot featuring Aurora unveiling the night.

This rare clock case was made and presumably retailed by the Parisian bronzer, Jean-Nicolas Picnot fl. 1785 -after 1821) who by 18I2 was established rue du Fosses, Montmartre. His older son, known as Picnot Fils Aim was by 1812 based at rue du Temple. The model for the case can be compared with other figural clocks by the famous bronzier Pierre-Philippe Thomire (1751-1843), notably with the Artium Genio clock, which Thomire supplied to George IV for Carlton House before 1813 and is now placed in Windsor Castle. As here the Artium Genio clock shows a winged male figure (standing to the right of the dial plinth) who is accompanied by images of two female winged figures and artifacts representing art and music.

This clock however features other of the Liberal Arts which can be loosely interpreted here as Astronomy (the globe) Geometry (measuring instruments), Arithmetic (represented by the winged figures with tablets), Grammar (represented by the seated figure), Rhetoric (probably represented by the books) and possibly Logic (probably represented by the helmeted bust on the stool). The Apollo Clock by P.-P. Thomire in the British Royal Collection also shows a standing Adonis type figure (again to the right of the dial), likewise with thick curly hair, wearing only a swirling cape and sandals.

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