Very beautiful pendulum in finely chiseled, gilded and patinated bronze.
The main scene is inspired by the famous novel "Atala, or The Loves of two savages in the desert", by Chateaubriand. *
It represents the moment when the young Indian Christian Atala, out of love, delivers the Indian Chactas who has just been condemned to death.
The latter is tied to a palm tree, near the stake where he is to be burned alive.
The cut-off bronze plinth offers us a bas relief that depicts the end of this tragic story.
After liberation and a flight into the forest, Atala poisons herself out of spite, as she cannot live out her love and marry the man she has chosen.
We see the missionary who had taken in the young couple, armed with a shovel, who are about to bury Atala, whose body is carried by Chactas.
The white enamelled dial is integrated into the stake, it indicates the hours in Roman numerals and the minutes in Arabic numerals.
It is signed: Gentihomme at the Royal Palace ”.
The watchmaker Jean-François Gentilhomme is listed in the stone galleries of the Palais Royal from 1810 to 1820.
After 1820, and for a few years, his widow would continue and sign “Veuve Gentilhomme au palais royal”.
Rare quadruple original patina, green and black and mercury gilded amate and shiny.
Very good condition, original movement with silk thread suspension, in perfect working order.
Parisian work from the Empire period circa 1810.
Height: 42 cm; Width: 32 cm
Museum of Art and History of La Rochelle, inventory number N ° MNM.2009.2.1. (movement signed Gentihomme at the Royal Palace)
Châteaubriand House-Museum, in La Vallée-au-Loup, in the Atala room. (movement signed Gentihomme at the Royal Palace)
Pierre Kjellberg, The French Pendulum, Page 359
Tardy, "La Pendule Française", Paris, 1969, Vol II, p. 171
* François-René, viscount of Chateaubriand, born in Saint-Malo on September 4, 1768 and died in Paris on July 4, 1848, is a French writer, memorialist and politician. He is considered one of the precursors of French romanticism and one of the biggest names in French literature.
"Atala, or the Loves of two savages in the desert", generally referred to by the short title "Atala" is one of his first novels, published in 1801. It takes place in Louisiana, on the banks of the "Meschacebé" (Mississippi) , in 1755.
A young Frenchman, René, is received by the Natchez tribe. He binds himself strongly to Chactas, one of the most revered chiefs of the tribe. During an expedition, during one night, René asks Chactas to tell him the story of his adventures, which is the essence of "Atala".
Chactas, after living for about a month in a Spanish town in America with a certain Lopez, seeks to return to his tribe. However, he is taken prisoner by an enemy tribe, and is sentenced to death. A young girl from the enemy tribe, Atala, clings to him; she frees him on the eve of his ordeal and flees with him. In the forest, one stormy evening, Atala tells her story to Chactas: she is a Christian, and the daughter of Lopez. They will then be taken by a venerable missionary, Father Aubry, to a colony of Indians converted to Christianity ...
"Atala" is a praise of Christianity, through the adventures of Chactas saved by Atala. The Christian community in which Father Aubry takes them is a defense of the “savages”.
Inspired in particular by the trip that Chateaubriand made to North America at the time of the Revolution, "Atala" is Chateaubriand's first success, and will arouse universal admiration, by its humanist character and a rich description of the fauna and the the flora of the New World.
Our opinion :
With its feathered Indians and its palm tree, the clock we are presenting is an ode to the new world.
However, it denotes other pendulums called "to the negroes" and brings us a humanist reflection on the fate of these indigenous populations.
The whole "love-exoticism-human condition" perfectly symbolizes the "romanticism" which embraced Europe at the beginning of the 19th century.
Just like the copy from the La Rochelle museum or the one from the Chateaubriand house, our clock was sold in the shops of the Palais Royal, a veritable epicenter of Parisian luxury at the start of the 19th century.
Its very good state of preservation allows us to present it in its original gilding and with its original green patina for the palm tree, which is extremely rare.