A LOUIS XV/LOUIS XVI ORMOLU CLOCK
This lot has no reserve.
A LOUIS XV/LOUIS XVI ORMOLU CLOCK

CIRCA 1770, THE DESIGN AND THE CASE ATTRIBUTED TO FRANÇOIS VION, SIGNED LEPAUTE A PARIS

Details
A LOUIS XV/LOUIS XVI ORMOLU CLOCK
Circa 1770, the design and the case attributed to François Vion, signed LEPAUTE A PARIS
The Three Graces garlanded with roses and supporting a globe with twin cercles tournant dials with enamelled cabochons of both Roman and Arabic numerals, swagged with laurel and with fleur-de-lys pointer flanked by mille-raies scrolled handles, surmounted by Cupid holding an arrow, the eared stepped circular plinth with four scrolled, channelled foliate volutes flanking panels with acanthus-cast medallions, one hinged and opening to reveal a winding-hole and speed regulator, on a canted, concave-sided base with laurel-trail border
20½in. (52cm.) high, 7in. (18cm.)
Provenance
Hyppolite-Michel Gigault de Crisenoy, in whose collection it was recorded upon his death in 1838.
Thence by descent to the Comtesse Charles de Crisenoy de Lyonne, sold Ader, Picard, hôtel Drouot, Paris, 19 May 1971, lot 56.
Special notice
This lot has no reserve.

Lot Essay

This clock is first recorded in the Inventory drawn up following the death of Hyppolite-Michel Gigault de Crisenoy in 1838, when it was described as:
Une pendule du nom de LEPAUTE à Paris représentant les Trois Grâce, etc...800 francs.

Living in the rue Saint-Dominique in the hôtel of his father-in-law, Duval du Manoir, the comte de Crisenoy inherited possessions from both his grandfather, the fermier général Gigault de Crisenoy and from his father-in-law, a descendant of several Directors of the Compagnie des Indes.

THE HISTORY OF THIS MODEL

The design for this clock, attributed to the fondeur François Vion, is reproduced in an album of designs now conserved in the Bibliothèque Doucet, Paris (VI E 15, Rés.fol.20/1). Called a 'Pièce de bureau', its subject described as 'Le temps qui passe entre l'amour et les Grâces', the clock cost 902 livres, of which the chasing cost 660 livres and the gilding between 200 and 222 livres.

An identical clock at the château de Fontainebleau (Inv.F918 C) was purchased by General Moreau; subsequently acquired by the garde-meuble following its arrived at Fontainebleau, it was recorded in the appartements of Général Moreau in 1804 (J.-P. Samoyault, Le Mobilier du Général Moreau, Paris, 1992, p.42, fig.33). In the 19th Century, Molinier had identified the Fontainebleau clock with that delivered by the marchand-mercier Simon-Philippe Poirier to Madame du Barry on 4 October 1769 at a cost of 2400 livres, when it was described as une pendule représentant les grâces dorée d'or de Germain. M. Samoyault's research has put this traditional attribution in question - and it seems rather more likely that the clock delivered to Madame du Barry would have been closer to models signed by the horlogers Brille or Dutertre, both of whom are known to have worked for Poirier.

Related clocks are conserved in the Musée du Louvre, Paris (illustrated in S. Eriksen, Early Neoclassicism in France, London, 1974, pl. 198, p. 348); the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto (illustrated in 'French Clocks in North American Collections', Exhibition Catalogue, 1982-83, pp. 80-81) ; the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris; the château de Fontainebleau; and the Huntington Gallery, San Marino (illustrated in R. Wark, French Decorative Art in the Huntington Collection, San Marino, 1979, p.70, fig.91). A further example was sold by the Duques de Cadaval, Christie's London, 14 March 1996, lot 148 (£41,800).

THE LEPAUTE DYNASTY

Spelt both Le Paute and Lepaute, this celebrated dynasty of horlogers was founded by Jean-André in 1740. Settled in Paris and appointed horloger du Roi with lodgings in the Luxembourg Palace, his innovative ideas, such as the échappement à repos of 1753, as well as his writings, including an impressive Traité d'Horlogerie, published in 1755, earned him the title maître and lodgings at the Louvre by 1759. His brother also became horloger du Roi and succeeded him in the Galeries du Louvre lodgings in 1775. The next generation of Horlogers strengthened the reputation of the Le Paute Dynasty. Henry Lepaute and his cousin Pierre-Basille bought, then subsequently divided, their uncle's company, creating the signatures 'Henry Lepaute à Paris' and 'Lepaute Oncle & Neveu'. This latter line of the dynasty continued to prosper, Pierre-Basile and his son employing the signature 'Lepaute & à Paris', and during the Empire they became the main supplier of clocks to the garde-meuble.

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