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    Sale 2796

    The P.C. Spaans Collection of Important European Clocks

    19 December 2007, Amsterdam

  • Lot 472

    A rare Louis XV ormolu and patinated bronze striking elephant clock

    BAILLY L'AINÉ, PARIS, NO. 202. CIRCA 1750/60

    Price Realised  


    A rare Louis XV ormolu and patinated bronze striking elephant clock
    Bailly L'Ainé, Paris, No. 202. Circa 1750/60
    The elephant resting on a naturalistically cast base and supporting a howdah with turret and three Indian figures with bow and arrow, rock and trumpet respectively, the sides with green silk panels applied with cast floral mounts, conforming silk to the pierced rear door, the white enamel Roman and Arabic dial signed BAILLY. LAINÉ/A PARIS, pierced and engraved ormolu hands, the one/two week duration twin barrels movement with four knopped back-pinned pillars, recoil escapement with horizontal pallets and silk suspension, calibrated countwheel strike on bell to back plate signed Bailly L'ainé Paris/No. 202; pendulum
    50.5 cm. high

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    Tardy, French Clocks, the World Over, Vols.I & II, Paris, 1981, p.346 & p.16
    Pierre Kjellberg, Encyclopédie de la Pendule Française, Paris, 1997, p.144, fig.A, pp.125-128.
    Joachim Bailly (died ante 1781) was received 14 January 1749 by privilege of the Trinity Hospital. He is recorded at Rue Greneta (1746); Rue de Bourg l'Abbé (1746); Rue Saint-Honoré (1755); Rue Dauphine (1772); Rue St Denis (1778). He was declared bankrupt in 1759 but carried on making clocks.
    Works of art incorporating elephants were made in France from the late 17th century in both porcelain and bronze. The figure of the elephant perhaps ultimately derives from Japanese prototypes in Kakiemon porcelain, an example of which is in Burghley House, Lincolnshire (illustrated in 'Porcelain for Palaces', British Museum Exhibition, 6 July - 4 November 1990, p.178). Although elephants had been celebrated in the West since antiquity, the fashion for such exotic animals in France was particularly encouraged by the gift in 1686 of a whole menagerie to Louis XIV from the King of Siam, including an elephant, a tiger and a lion. Such animals soon appeared in products as diverse as Gobelins tapestries and Meissen porcelain. Draughtsmen and ornamentistes routinely produced, copied and plagiarised popular subjects in response to changing tastes and current events.
    Thus, while clocks of this form are known to have been in existence by 1745-9, testified to by the 'pendule au singe' stamped with the C couronné poincon sold anonymously at Christie's, London, 10 June 1993, lot 9, as late as 15 December 1757, Madame de Montmartel acquired an elephant clock from the marchand-mercier Lazare Duvaux. Described as 'Une pendule en bronze doré d'ormoulu, dont le mouvement à sonnerie, de Moisy, est porté sur un éléphant', it cost 660 livres.
    Most elephant clocks have drum cases which are surmounted by a figure, generally of a Chinaman or an amorino. Kjellberg (p.127) also shows an Indian with bow and arrow. The design of the present case is very unusual.
    An ormolu cartel clock dating from circa 1745 and signed Bailly L'Ainé was sold Sotheby's New York, French Furniture, 24 October 2003, lot 35. A corne verte and ormolu musical table clock modelled with infant Indians (enfants sauvages) with movement signed Bailly L'Ainé was sold Christie's New York, Important French and Continental Furniture, 18 October 2002, lot 600.

    Special Notice

    Christie’s charges a premium to the buyer on the Hammer Price of each lot sold at the following rates: 29.75% of the Hammer Price of each lot up to and including €5,000, plus 23.8% of the Hammer Price between €5,001 and €400,000, plus 14.28% of any amount in excess of €400,001. Buyer’s premium is calculated on the basis of each lot individually.