• Cabinet d'un Amateur Européen auction at Christies

    Sale 7822

    Cabinet d'un Amateur Européen

    9 December 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 344

    A HIGHLY COMPLICATED WEIGHT-DRIVEN ASTRONOMICAL SKELETON CLOCK WITH ORERRY

    PAUL POUVILLON, NOGENT-SUR-OISE. 1930 (STARTED) -- 1939 (COMPLETED)

    Estimate

    A HIGHLY COMPLICATED WEIGHT-DRIVEN ASTRONOMICAL SKELETON CLOCK WITH ORERRY
    PAUL POUVILLON, NOGENT-SUR-OISE. 1930 (started) -- 1939 (completed)
    CASE: the glazed brass case with door to the front and resting on a stepped and moulded ebonised plinth, also with door to the front and with panelled sides, its top with a plaque engraved 'POUVILLON/NOGENT SUR OISE' FRONT DIALS: main chapter ring showing mean solar time for the meridians of London and Paris, with actual local time and sweep seconds; a Houdin-type 'mystery' dial above showing solar time ('Temps Vrai'); a leap year indication dial behind LEFT SIDE DIALS: three dials showing month of year, season of year and zodiacal month; skeletonised ring below showing time of sunrise and sunset with the sun's elevation, the length of day and the length of night indicated on subsidiary rings; a group of dials below forming an 'Eccesiastical computer' and showing the Dominical letter, the Epact, the Golden number, the Solar cycle, the day of the week for the next 1 January and the date of Easter RIGHT SIDE DIALS: three dials showing unequal hours, the day of the week and the day's planet; above a lunar dial, its hand set with a painted bone moon revolving to indicate its visible phases, the outer ring calibrated to show its age; a planisphere below with revolving glass centre painted to show the principal constellations of the northern hemisphere at approximately 49 degrees, within a ring showing the sidereal day ORRERY: incorporating an annual calendar ring with the signs of the zodiac, steel pointers indicating the stages of Easter, the Earth with coloured paper gores and revolving on its own tilted axis (painted moon with day and night now lacking) and with gilt-metal sun; with gearing for all the planets (the planetary mounts now lacking) MOVEMENT: raised on two substantial tapering steel columns, the substantial lead weights with integral pulleys housed in the plinth, with Graham-type pallets for dead beat pinwheel escapement, countwheel strike on pendulum; fine regulation for the wood-rod pendulum with substantial gilt-steel bob
    58 in. (147 cm.) high; 22 in. (56 cm.) wide; 18½ in. (47 cm.) deep


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    Paul Pouvillon (1878--1969) was born in Nogent-sur-Oise. In 1896 he was awarded a bronze medal at the Besançon exhibition and in 1902 he settled in his home town. He was awarded a silver medal in Paris in 1939 for his planetary clock (Tardy writes of him succinctly -- 'Il fit une horloge astronomique') with the title 'Meilleur Ouvrier de France'. He was made 'Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur' in 1948. According to Miclet (op. cit.) Pouvillon started work on this clock in 1930 and finished in 1939 but was still carrying out further improvements in 1948.

    Special Notice

    VAT rate of 15% is payable on hammer price plus buyer's premium.


    Provenance

    Antiquorum Geneva, 22 April 1995, lot 162 (CHF 226,250).


    Literature

    Bernard Miclet, 'Paul Pouvillon M.O.F. et son horloge à planetaire', Bulletin of A.N.C.A.H.A., No.43, summer 1985.
    Derek Roberts, Continental and American Skeleton Clocks, Atglen, 1988, p. 122, figs. 116a, b, c.