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    Sale 2796

    The P.C. Spaans Collection of Important European Clocks

    19 December 2007, Amsterdam

  • Lot 474

    An unusual Louis XIV miniature ormolu repeating mantel timepiece


    Price Realised  


    An unusual Louis XIV miniature ormolu repeating mantel timepiece
    The case modelled with scrolls and rockwork and with radiant mask above the dial, supported by a kneeling figure of Chronos above a stepped and moulded serpentine plinth, the cast ormolu dial with individual white enamel cartouches with blue Roman numerals, engraved inner concentric minute ring, foliate and scroll cast centre, with delicately sculpted blued steel hands, the short duration movement with four back-pinned pillars joining plates with curved undersides and shouldered upper corners, rear-wound single barrel with pivoted verge escapement, pull hour repeat on miniature bell above the plates, the back plate signed Jacques Thuret AParis
    25 cm. high

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    Jacques-Augustin Thuret (1669-1739) was the son of the illustrious clockmaker Isaac Thuret (1630-1706), one of the men who introduced Christian Huygens' invention of the pendulum to France and who in 1675 made a watch with the first balance spring for Huygens, passing it off as his own invention (for which he later apologized to the inventor). Like his father before him, Jacques-Augustin Thuret was Horloger du Roi and in 1694 was lodged at the Galeries du Louvre. In 1704 he married Louise Bérain, daughter of the designer Jean Bérain (1640-1711), Dessinateur des Menus-Plaisirs du Roi. His niece, Suzanne Silvestre (daughter of Isaac Thuret), engraved his portrait, illustrated in Tardy's Dictionnaire des Horlogers Français, Paris, p.615.
    Thuret worked closely with André-Charles Boulle (1642-1732), having provided the movements for numerous clocks with cases attributed to him. Thuret, Boulle and Bérain (who provided designs for Boulle) all had workshops in the Galeries du Louvre. In 1711 Thuret published three volumes of Bérain's designs: L'Oeuvre de J. Bérain, Ornements inventés par J. Bérain and Oeuvres de J. Bérain contenant des ornements d'architecture.
    In the Wallace Collection, London, a clock case and pedestal attributed to Boulle has a movement signed Thuret and is almost certainly by Jacques-Augustin (see Peter Hughes, French Eighteenth-Century Clocks and Barometers in the Wallace Collection, London, 1994, pp.18-19); in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, another pedestal clock attributed to Boulle has a movement signed by Jacques Thuret. A clock with case by Boulle dating from circa 1715 and with movement signed Thuret (the Marine Venus model) was sold Christie's New York, The Arts of France, 21 October 1997, lot 47. Thuret is also known to have used cases by Charles Cressent and to have supplied the French Crown with a Boulle-cased clock depicting the Rape of Cybele.
    Jacques-Augustin Thuret was able to describe himself as 'horloger du roi' on account of his lodging within the Galeries du Louvres. From 1695 Thuret was mentioned in the Bâtiments du Roi accounts for an annual payment to him of 300 livres for 'maintaining all the clocks of the [royal] buildings, in both Paris and Versailles. See Jean-Dominique Augarde, Les Ouvriers du Temps, Geneva, 1996, p.402 et alia.

    Special Notice

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