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    Sale 7745

    Important European Furniture, Sculpture & Clocks

    9 July 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 60

    A LOUIS XVI LARGE ORMOLU, PATINATED BRONZE, BLACK AND WHITE MARBLE STRIKING EIGHT DAY FIGURAL MANTEL CLOCK (PENDULE A LA GEOFFRIN)

    FORT A PARIS. CIRCA 1790

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A LOUIS XVI LARGE ORMOLU, PATINATED BRONZE, BLACK AND WHITE MARBLE STRIKING EIGHT DAY FIGURAL MANTEL CLOCK (PENDULE A LA GEOFFRIN)
    FORT A PARIS. CIRCA 1790
    CASE: modelled with a recumbent reading female figure emblematic of Science seated beside an arched plinth decorated with ribbon-tied oak leaves and surmounted by a terrestrial model of a globe, the plinth set to the front and sides with ormolu relief panels showing amorini playing musical instruments
    DIAL: extended bezel to restored white enamel chapter ring signed 'FORT A PARIS', with inner date ring, possibly replaced brass main hands, blued steel date hand, replaced blued steel seconds hand, with skeletonised centre
    MOVEMENT: with skeletonised plates, twin barrels with rear-mounted pin wheel escapement with fine beat adjustment, countwheel strike on replaced bell; pendulum
    21 in. (53.5 cm.) high; 26½ in. (67.5 cm.) wide; 9½ in. (24 cm.) deep)


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    Henri Fort is recorded enclos Saint-Germain des Prés, 1789; Rue de la Chaumière 1806 and Rue Bourbon le Château 1812-1817.

    This clock is an example of the so-called pendule la Geoffrin which has been extensively researched and published by Christian Baulez. Until the publication of his article revealing the exact origins of this enduringly popular model, the two clocks supplied by the marchand-mercier Lazare Duvaux to the duc de Bourgogne on 14 October 1758 -- une pendule sonnerie de J. Le Roy, compos d'une couche représentant l'Etude en bronze dor d'or moulu -- and to the comte du Luc on 9 November had always been considered to be the earliest examples recorded (C. Baulez, 'La Pendule à la Geoffrin: Un Modèle à Succès', L'Estampille - L'Objet d'Art, April 1989, pp. 34-41). However, as early as 1757 the marquis de Marigny had already acquired a clock of this model, with a movement by Musson, through Madame Geoffrin.
    In 1768 Madame Geoffrin gave 'une pendule pareille la mienne' to Denis Diderot, which survives in the Muse du Breuil de Saint-Germain at Langres. Other members of Madame Geoffrin's circle who owned 'une pendule à l'Emploi du Temps' included the banker Jean-Joseph de Laborde, the duc de la Vrillire and Horace Walpole at Strawberry Hill. Walpole's clock, which he bought for £50 before 1774, was sold, Christie's London, 23 June 1999, lot 120. Walpole's clock had previously been thought to be possibly that at Waddesdon (G. de Bellaigue, The James A. de Rothschild Collection at Waddesdon Manor: Furniture, Clocks and Gilt Bronzes, London, 1974, 1, no. 17, pp. 104-7)
    The duc de Choiseul owned an example which can be seen in the miniature by van Blarenberghe on the Choiseul Box, circa 1770-1 showing the cabinet octagone in the hotel de Choiseul in Paris. A further example was sold in the Blondel de Gagny sale (P. Rimy, Paris, 10-24 December 1776 and 8-22 January 1777).
    See also P. Kjellberg, L'Encyclopedie de La Pendule Francaise, Paris, 1997, p. 263, pl. B and J-D. Augarde, Les Ouvriers du Temps, Geneva, 1996, p. 91, fig. 54.

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