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    Sale 12455

    European Furniture & Works of Art

    6 July 2016, London, King Street

  • Lot 4

    A LOUIS XV ORMOLU AND PATINATED BRONZE MANTEL CLOCK 'PENDULE AU RHINOCEROS'

    ATTRIBUTED TO JEAN-JOSEPH DE SAINT-GERMAIN, MID-18TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A LOUIS XV ORMOLU AND PATINATED BRONZE MANTEL CLOCK 'PENDULE AU RHINOCEROS'
    ATTRIBUTED TO JEAN-JOSEPH DE SAINT-GERMAIN, MID-18TH CENTURY
    The drum case with Chinoiserie figure supported by a standing rhinoceros above a naturalistic base, the twin barrel movement, probably associated, with shaped square plates, later replaced dead-beat escapement and countwheel strike to bell
    20 in. (50.8 cm.) high; 11 ¾ in. (30 cm.) wide; 8 in. (20.4 cm.) deep


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    Clocks incorporating figures of rhinoceros, elephants, bulls and lions were highly fashionable in mid-18th century Paris. The arrival of a live rhinoceros in Rotterdam in 1741, and its subsequent travel to Versailles in early January 1749 and then to Paris where it remained from February to April 1749, exemplifies how current events and fashion were so closely intertwined. Inevitably, the marchands-merciers were quick to sieze upon the mania created by the exotic animal's presence, and proceeded to supply objects au rhinoceros.

    The earliest version of a mantel clock with a rhinoceros base predates 1747, when the inventory drawn upon the death of the wife of mâtre-fondeur Jean-Joseph de Saint-Germain, mentions:
    deux pendules au rhinoceros l'une pour modle et l'autre finie prises ensembles la somme de 140 l.

    As this predates the 1749 pilgrimage of the Rotterdam rhinoceros to Paris, it is likely that Saint-Germain had looked to popular graphic sources such as Albrecht Dürer's celebrated engraving of 1515.

    It is interesting to note that a Saint-Germain mantel clock with a related bronze rhinoceros clock is depicted in the 1765 portrait of Princess Luisa of Parma by Laurent Pcheux (Palazzo Pitti, Florence). The Infanta's clock was most likely purchased during her 1749 trip to Paris, as this coincided directly with the presence of the Rotterdam rhinoceros in Versailles and Paris. A closely related model, signed by Saint-Germain and also with Chinoiserie figure to the top was sold from the Riahi collection, Christie's, London, 6 December 2012, lot 18.

    Special Notice

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    Provenance

    Acquired by the philanthropist and collector Ogden Mills (1857-1929) for his Parisian residence, 73 rue de Varenne, circa 1910-1915.
    Inherited by his daughter, Beatrice, the Countess of Granard (1883-1972).
    Thence by descent.


    Pre-Lot Text

    Property of a Lady of Title (lots 4, 6, 25, 51, 75)