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An Empire mantel clock by Bailly à Paris
An Empire mantel clock by Bailly à Paris - Horology Style Empire
Ref : 89333
Period :
19th century
Artist :
Bailly à Paris
Provenance :
Medium :
Gilt bronze
Dimensions :
l. 25.39 inch X H. 36.61 inch X P. 12.4 inch
Horology  - An Empire mantel clock by Bailly à Paris
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An Empire mantel clock by Bailly à Paris

A superb Empire gilt bronze mantle clock of eight day duration signed on the white enamel dial Bailly à Paris housed in a case attributed to the Parisian bronzier Denière. The dial with Roman numerals and blued steel Breguet style hands for the hours and minutes. The movement with anchor escapement, silk thread suspension, striking on a single bell, with outside count wheel. The extremely fine case featuring the standing figure of Urania, Muse of Astronomy holding a telescope in her left hand and a compass in her right which points to a star-studded globe adorned with the signs of the zodiac around its circumference, the globe set on the back of four sphinxes upon a plinth, shaped as an Egyptian temple containing the dial and movement and mounted to the sides with a serpent-wrapped term flanked by kneeling Egyptian priestesses, the whole on a stepped rectangular base with recessed frieze depicting the personification of the Nile to the left to indicate that the scene is set in Egypt, to the right are numerous scholars who listen to Eratosthenes, the founder of scientific geography who sits on a central plinth and is assisted by Urania seated with her globe

Paris, date circa 1805-10
Height 93 cm, width 64.5 cm, depth 31.5 cm.

Literature: P. Arizzoli-Clémentel and C. Gastinel-Coural, “Il Progretto d’Arredo del Quirinale Nell’Età Napoleonica” Bollettino d’Arte, no.70, p. 288, pl.38, illustrating an identical model with a marble base housed in the Musée National du Château de Fontainebleau. And p. 270, pl. 75, illustrating another virtually identical clock with a marble base housed at Versailles.
Denise Ledoux-Lebard, “Inventaire Général du Musée National de Versailles”, 1975, pp. 192-3, illustrating the virtually identical clock in the Musée National de Versailles.
Hans Ottomeyer and Peter Pröschel, “Vergoldete Bronzen”, 1986, p. 395, pl. 5.18.6, illustrating a slightly later (c. 1820) patinated and gilt bronze clock of the same model by the Parisian bronzier Janet.
J. Ramon Colon De Carvajal, “Catalogo De Relojes Del Patrimonio Nacional”, 1987, p. 283, no. 268, illustrating an almost identical model in gilt bronze, in the Spanish Royal Collection.
Pierre Kjellberg, “La Pendule Française du Moyen Age au XXe Siècle”, 1997, p. 397, pl. E, illustrating a virtually identical model in patinated and gilt bronze on a marble base by Jean-François Denière, signed on the dial F. Berthoud à Paris.
Elke Niehüser, “Die Französische Bronzeuhr”, 1997, p. 234, pl. 737, illustrating a very similar clock.

In addition to the above prestigious locations, clocks of this model can be found at Warsaw Castle and in the Bayerischen Nationalmuseum, Munich. The Parisian clockmaker Bailly (d. after 1818) was one of the finest of his day and as such earned the title of Horloger de LL. MM. II. Et RR (Clockmaker to Their Imperial and Royal Majesties). Working from rue de Richelieu he was with Lepaute one of the main suppliers to the Garde-Meuble. Bailly, who retired in 1818 had the responsibility of maintaining the clocks at Compiègne and the Trianons and is known to have used cases by the leading Parisian bronziers including Pierre-Philippe Thomire and Claude Galle as well as Ferdinand Schwerdfeger who supplied him with a case for a regulator surmounted by a star-studded and zodiac banded globe upon four sphinxes, bearing close comparison to the present model

(illustrated in Jean-Dominique Augarde, “Les Ouvriers du Temps”, 1996, p. 275, pl. 214). In addition to the Musées du Château de Compiègne and Fontainebleau as well as the Grand Trianon, Versailles other clocks by Bailly can be seen in Paris in the Garde-Meuble National and Musées du Louvre, Marmottan and La Légion d’Honneur.

The superb case can be attributed to the esteemed bronzier Jean-François Deninger known as Denière (1775-1866) who with P-P Thomire was one of the leading exponents of the Goût Égyptien inspired by Baron Vivant-Denon. Not only is the clock of outstanding quality but also demonstrates the taste for ancient Egypt and scientific discovery. To this end the frieze places Urania beside the Cyrene polymath Eratosthenes (c. 276-194 B.C.), a renowned astronomer, mathematician, geographer and poet. For over 50 years he was chief librarian to the most important library of antiquity at Alexandria; he was also the first person to calculate the circumference of the earth as well as the tilt of its axis and was also the founder of geography as a science.

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