• Cabinet d'un Amateur Européen auction at Christies

    Sale 7822

    Cabinet d'un Amateur Européen

    9 December 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 343

    A BELGIAN ORMOLU AND BLACK MARBLE STRIKING, ASTRONOMICAL AND WORLD TIME SKELETON CLOCK

    ATTRIBUTED TO HUBERT SARTON, LIÈGE. CIRCA 1805

    Estimate

    A BELGIAN ORMOLU AND BLACK MARBLE STRIKING, ASTRONOMICAL AND WORLD TIME SKELETON CLOCK
    ATTRIBUTED TO HUBERT SARTON, LIÈGE. CIRCA 1805
    CASE: with triangular plates joined by four pillars, raised on tapering pillars above a D-ended marble plinth, on toupie feet MAIN DIAL: white enamel with ormolu bezel, central subsidiary rings for date (also with 30 day Republican calendar inner ring), month (also with Republican months) and days of the week, cut brass main hands and blued steel calendrical hands, sweep seconds LEFT DIAL: the enamel lunar dial with rolling moon, painted en grisaille against a blue ground decorated with gilt stars, the outer border showing the moon's age RIGHT DIAL: the enamel solar dial indicating the times of sunrise and sunset via engraved gilt-brass sun pointer and corresponding brass shutters TOP DIAL: the enamel world time dial with outer ring showing 53 locations around the world, with revolving twenty-four hour night and day (bi-colour) ring to its centre MOVEMENT: with twin going barrels, dead beat pinwheel escapement now with spring suspension, countwheel strike on top-mounted bell; Sarton-type gridiron pendulum swinging within a brass guard
    22 3/8 in. (56.5 cm.) high; 12¾ in. (32.5 cm.) in. wide; 5¾ in. (14.5 cm.) deep


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    Hubert Sarton (1748-1828) was Belgium's greatest clockmaker and is renowned for his fine multi-dial skeleton clocks. Born in Liège, he was apprenticed to his uncle, Dieudonne Sarton, in 1762 and by 1768 was working at Pierre Leroy's workshop in Paris. In 1772 Sarton was appointed Court Mechanic to Duke Charles Alexander, Prince of Lorraine. He was commissioned to make several clocks for the Duke, including a superb example with moving dial (sold Christie's London, The Albert Odmark Collection 11 March 2005, lot 375, £114,000).
    A world time skeleton clock of very closely related design and signed Sarton was sold Christie's London, 12 July 1995, lot 336 (£78,500) and is also illustrated in Derek Roberts, Continental and American Skeleton Clocks, Schiffer, 1989, p.178.
    A similar clock was with René Sarton, a direct descendant, in 1972 (see Edward G. Aghib, 'Hubert Sarton of Liege, A Master Belgian Clockmaker', Antiquarian Horology, December 1972, p.46, figs.4a & 4b). The present clock differs from both these examples in the organisation of the main dial. Interestingly, this example gives the Republican names of the months rather than their number of days and on the calendar ring it gives two sequences of dates. The Republican calendar (established in 1793) was officially repealed by Napoleon I in 1805. Another world time Sarton was recorded in the Haussner restaurant, Baltimore in 1972 (Aghib, p.47, fig.5).
    Sarton also enjoyed the patronage of the Prince Archbishop Francois Charles Alexander de Velbrock, whose Court contacts no doubt helped him a good deal and who asked him to start a Science Society (the 'Societe d'Emulation'). By 1783 he had been appointed City Counsellor and Treasurer. The subsequent invasion of Belgium by the French Revolutionary armies in 1794 undoubtedly led to a down-turn in Sarton's business but this must have improved in the early 1800s as a number of clocks date from this period.

    Special Notice

    VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 15% on the buyer's premium


    Provenance

    Sold anonymously, Sotheby's Monaco, 19 June 1992, lot 789 (FF.466,200).