The white enameled, circular dial of this clock, signed BIESTA A PARIS, indicates the hours in Roman numbers and the minutes, by five minutes intervals in Arabic numbers, with two finely chased and pierced handles.
The movement is enclosed in a case in chased and gilt bronze. The overall of the décor responds to the Antique vocabulary designated by term “Greek”. It is constituted by a post frieze on the upper part, surmounted by a cassolette with a decor of gadroons adorned with a laurel garland, joining each of the handles. On each side of the dial, the sides present an ornament of fish sxale in a framework evoking Greeks. Two lion heads, on each side of the clock, are joined by a festooned laurel garland under the dial. It rests on four mounts ended with lion paws, which is located on a base in projection, adorned with gadroons, a central flower and a Greek frieze.
The Greek taste
This clock of the neoclassical period is typical of what we called around 1765 “the Greek taste”. Appeared in the 1750s, this taste responded to the claims of a small group of critics who, denunciating the extravagance of the rocaille, aspired to renew with the “noble simplicity” ofthe masters of Antiquity. The travel in Italy organised by the marquise de Pompadour to form the taste of her brother, Abel-François Poisson, marquis de Vandières, future general director of the Bâitments du Roi, along with the engraver Claude-Nicolas Cochin, the architect Jacques- Germain Soufflot and the abbott Leblanc between November 1749 and March 1751 is considered, since this period, as a mark of the emergence of the “Greek taste”. It was followed in December 1754 with the publication in the Mercure de France of a “supplication aux orfèvres, Ciseleurs, sculpteurs en bois pour les appartements et autres [...]” by Louis-Sébastien Mercier, real advocacy in favor of the straight line, the respect of the proportions and the balance, as well as a tough reminder of the nobility of the Antique ornamental repertory. Reusing all the vocabulary of the Greek taste (post frieze, Greeks, claw legs), this clock is a real tribute to this style. The vase or urn ornament generalizes under the Louis XVI period and over time, becomes itself the vase. We can find here the association of the crown vase, with the lion muffles bearing a garland, model most of the time signed Robert Osmond, which is the true archetype of the clock delivered in 1757 for the desk of Lalive de Jully and today preserved at the Musée de Chantilly.
Jean Biesta (1712-1791)
Of Dutch origin, he received his Master in 1759 then moved to Quai Pelletier in 1778. En 1758, showing the extent of his talents, he presented at the Royal Academy of Sciences, a clock with concentric handles, then in 1769, a clock with an independent exhaust system. It is his invention of 1770, clock moving in all positions, with a mobile dial, which made his reputation. Nevertheless, it was tested in sea then broken.
12 500 €