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A LATE LOUIS XVI ORMOLU-MOUNTED BRASS AND TORTOISESHELL-INLAID BOULLE MARQUETRY AND EBONY MANTEL CLOCK
Prospective purchasers are advised that several co… Read more
A LATE LOUIS XVI ORMOLU-MOUNTED BRASS AND TORTOISESHELL-INLAID BOULLE MARQUETRY AND EBONY MANTEL CLOCK

LATE 18TH CENTURY, AFTER THE DESIGN BY ANDRE-CHARLES BOULLE, THE LOUIS XIV MOVEMENT BY JACQUES III THURET, LATE 17TH/EARLY 18TH CENTURY

Details
A LATE LOUIS XVI ORMOLU-MOUNTED BRASS AND TORTOISESHELL-INLAID BOULLE MARQUETRY AND EBONY MANTEL CLOCK
LATE 18TH CENTURY, AFTER THE DESIGN BY ANDRE-CHARLES BOULLE, THE LOUIS XIV MOVEMENT BY JACQUES III THURET, LATE 17TH/EARLY 18TH CENTURY
CASE: the arched case surmounted by an Etruscan oil lamp on a waisted spreading socle, the glazed door between strapwork uprights headed by volutes, with a relief plaque depicting the Rape of Cybele beneath the dial, above a half-patera and lambrequin-shaped barometer dial, the plinth mounted with recumbent Egyptian sphinxes to the sides, supported on Medusa-mask headed spirally-turned feet and a plinth base, the reverse elaborately inlaid with Bérainesque motifs, with paper label numbered '5509' DIAL: with individual Roman enamel chapters and pierced blued-steel hands, the engraved brass dial plate with outer ring numbered '1-60' MOVEMENT: the three train movement quarter striking on two bells, one bell for hour, two count wheels (one for hour, one for quarters), with later recoil anchor escapement, silk suspension, the backplate signed 'J Thuret, Paris', the front plate stamped '762 LG'
43¾ in. (111 cm.) high; 19 1/8 in. (48.5 cm.) wide; 9 in. (23 cm.) deep
Provenance
Anonymous sale; M.A. Kohn, Paris (hôtel de la Monnaie), 24 October 1996, lot 15.
Literature
D. Langeois, et al., Quelques Chefs d'Oeuvres de la Collection Djahanguir Riahi, Milan, 1999, pp. 60-63.
Special Notice

Prospective purchasers are advised that several countries prohibit the importation of property containing materials from endangered species, including but not limited to coral, ivory and tortoiseshell. Accordingly, prospective purchasers should familiarize themselves with relevant customs regulations prior to bidding if they intend to import this lot into another country.

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Lot Essay

A TASTE FOR BOULLE: THE LOUIS XVI REVIVAL
The latter part of the reign of Louis XVI saw a revival in the fashion for furniture by or in the manner of André-Charles Boulle. Ebénistes such as Philippe-Claude Montigny (maître in 1766) and Etienne Levasseur (maître in 1767) are widely documented as having been involved in both the repair and remodelling of Boulle furniture, as well as creating new pieces in the old style. As early as 1766, Montigny was described in the Almanach Dauphin as 'un des plus renommées pour les meubles en écaille et argent ou ébène et cuivre, dans le genre des ouvrages du célèbre Boulle'. Montigny's success was widespread, and apart from marchand-merciers such as Julliot, he supplied furniture to private clients including LaLive de Jully, Crozat and the Marquis de Marigny, superintendant des Arts et Manufactures. The grandeur and richness of the present model indicate that this clock must have been made for a rich and prestigious client - possibly as a pendant for an existing Louis XIV clock or a replacement for a damaged old clock - and the incorporation of an original Thuret dial and movement, obviously associated with this particular design, is notable.

THE BOULLE DESIGN
The design appears in - Pendule propre pour une chambre - published by Mariette in his Nouveaux Desseins de Meubles et Ouvrages de Bronze et Marqeutrie Inventés et Gravés par André-Charles Boulle, 1724. The design for this clock by André-Charles Boulle evolved from an earlier type of clock produced by him from the 1690s, which incorporated a more classical, less rigid style of Egyptian sphinx (of the type used in the regulateur clock, lot 12 in the Riahi collection). The closest resemblance to the engraving is borne by the clock and bracket, previously at Stoneleigh Abbey, Warwickshire and subsequently in the collection of Hubert de Givenchy, sold Christie's, London, 4 December 1993, lot 77 (signed Langlois; with rosettes instead of Medusa masks above feet). Another with movement by Isaac or Jacques Thuret is part of the Winthrop Edey Bequest, The Frick Collection, New York (The Art of the Timekeeper, 2001). Some earlier versions of this model were surmounted by figures of Chronos or Fame rather than the present oil lamp. The plaque which adorns most of the examples of the sphinx model depicts the Rape of Cybele by Chronos, who carried her away to Zeus. It is based upon a sculpture by Thomas Reganaudin known as L'Enlèvement de Cybèle or Le Temps enlevant la Vérité, which was delivered for the Orangerie at Versailles in 1678.

There are early references to the same model of sphinx clock with movement by Thuret in the collection of the Marquis de Louvois, Louis XIV's minister and successor as surintendant des Bâtiments, which was recorded after Louvois' death in an inventory dated 13 August 1691 in his bedroom at the hôtel de la surintendance at Versailles: 'Une pendule sonnante faite par Thuret avec sa boeste d'écaille marquetterie et ornaments de cuivre doré 200 livre'. This clock and another two by Thuret were recorded later as having been in the possession of the Marquise de Louvois in the inventory taken following her death in 1715:
809. une grande pendule à baromètre sonnante par Thuret dans sa boîte de marqueterie d'écaille et cuivre doré ornée de sphinx et autres ornements de bronze doré d' or moulu dans sa boîte faite par Boulle, 400
That this model was still in fashion and more than likely still being made by the atelier Boulle as late as 1715 is shown by an entry in the Acte de délaisement d'André-Charles Boulle (1715):
Une pandulle semblable à celle de M. de Louvois avec son pied à dorer et trois autres pandulles semblables et d'un même dessein faittes quend à la marquetterie et valant 300 l. (J-P. Samoyault, André-Charles Boulle et sa famille, Geneva, 1979, p. 67).

JACQUES THURET
The Thuret family of clockmakers, originally from Puy-de-Dôme, established themselves as one of the outstanding craftsman-dynasties in 17th and 18th century Paris. The present clock is signed Jacques Thuret, almost certainly Jacques III Thuret (1669-1738), the son of the illustrious clockmaker Isaac II Thuret (1630-1706). Like his father, Jacques Thuret was appointed Horloger du Roi in 1694 and from 1695 was charged with maintaining all the clocks of the royal buildings, in both Paris and Versailles for which an annual payment of 300 livres is recorded in the Bâtiments du Roi accounts. As a result of his new status Thuret gained access to an atelier in the Galeries du Louvre. James Parker discusses the relationships between Thuret and Boulle (in his article 'A Royal French Clock', Metropolitan Museum of Art bulletin, vol. 18, no. 6, February 1960, pp. 193-201). He states: 'It is known that Boulle and a clockmaker called Jacques Thuret were related' and further that Thuret 'had his workshop under the same roof with Boulle, in lodging 12 under the Grande Galerie'. The natural assumption is that there were business connections as well as blood ties between the two men, that Boulle, Louis XIV's cabinetmaker, produced cases for clocks made by Jacques Thuret, the king's clockmaker. It is clear that the sphinx model of clock and this clock-maker were clearly associated, as shown by the documented contemporary examples cited above, and those listed below known to exist today.

Known variants of the sphinx clock include the following:
1 - Château de Versailles, movement by Thuret; surmounted by figure of fame, possibly the example delivered by Thuret to Louis XIV.
2 - Winthrop Edey bequest, The Frick Collection, New York, movement by Thuret, with oil lamp.
3 - Cleveland Museum (Acquisition no. CMA 67.153), the movement by Balthazard Martinot.
4 - Musées Royaux d'Art et d'Histoire, Brussels, with pedestal, the movement by Gaudron.
5 - Private Collection, sold anonymously, Sotheby's, Paris, 25 June 2006, lot 32, with pedestal, the movement signed Gaudron.
6 - Private Collection, sold Palais de Congrès, Versailles, 11 November 1976, lot 77, signed Charles Le Roy.
7 - Private Collection, sold Neumarkt, 12 June 1974, lot 116 and subsequently M. Kohn, Paris (hôtel Drouot), 15 September 2012, lot 100, signed Gribelin.
8 - Stoneleigh Abbey, Warwickshire; sold Christie's, London, 13 December 1981, lot 32; subsequently the collection of Hubert de Givenchy; sold Christie's, London, 4 December 1993, lot 77; sold Sotheby's, London, 5 July 2006, lot 7; with bracket, signed Langlois.
9 - The Duke of Marlborough, Blenheim Palace, clockmaker unknown; surmounted by figure of Fame.
10 - Private Collection, Paris (by 1986); sold anonymously at Christie's, London, 14 June 1990, lot 43, signed François Rabby; surmounted by figure of Chronos.
11 - Randon de Boisset sale 27 February 1777, lot 802, movement by Rabby.
12 - Private Collection, Milan, formerly in the collection of Sir Lionel Philips Bt., Tylney Hall, sold Christie's, London, 23 April 1913, lot 100. Possibly the one purchased by the Marquis de Marigny from Lazare Duvaux in December 1757, movement by Moissy.
13 - The Lord Hillingdon, sold Christie's, London, 17 March 1960, lot 81, with a plaque of two figures of Fame below the dial in place of a Cybele group.
14 - Private Collection, Netherlands; formerly in the collection of the Earl of Essex, Cassiobury Park, Hertfordshire; sold Knight, Frank & Rutley, 12 June 1922, lot 373.

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