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A CONSULAT ORMOLU-MOUNTED MAHOGANY ASTRONOMICAL CLOCK
A CONSULAT ORMOLU-MOUNTED MAHOGANY ASTRONOMICAL CLOCK
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A CONSULAT ORMOLU-MOUNTED MAHOGANY ASTRONOMICAL CLOCK

ATTRIBUTED TO ANTIDE JANVIER, PARIS, CIRCA 1800

Details
A CONSULAT ORMOLU-MOUNTED MAHOGANY ASTRONOMICAL CLOCK
ATTRIBUTED TO ANTIDE JANVIER, PARIS, CIRCA 1800
CASE: with a glass dome etched with constellations supported by three caryatids above the triangular mahogany case with ormolu garlands and classical figures on a plinth base TIME DIAL: the white enamel disc with chapter ring with Arabic numerals, pierced and engraved gilt arrow and star hands CALENDRICAL DIAL: the polychrome enamel disc with date ring, inner concentric ring with alternating days of the week and zodiacal sigs, with blued steel pointer hands MOONPHASE DIAL: polychrome enamel disc with moon painted en grisaille and ring calibrated for its age, on a blue ground with gold painted stars ORRERY: the mechanical orrery with revolving orbital rings for the planets with vertical drive MOVEMENT: with going barrel, four wheel train mut with pinwheel escapement, silk suspension, steel pendulum activating lever at 12:00, and screw beat adjuster on crutch
36½ in. (93 cm.) high

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Lot Essay

This spectacular astronomical clock, with three finely cast Atlas figures literally holding aloft the heavens, a glass globe engraved with the constellations, although unsigned, can be firmly attributed to the celebrated Mécanicien-astronome Antide Janvier (1751-1835), on the basis of an almost identical example by Janvier illustrated in N. Tieger, Horloges Anciennes, Milan, 1990, pp. 184-5. The clock offered here has the distinction of having the signs of the zodiac engraved on to the glass sphere, whereas the example illustrated in Tieger indicates the zodiac on an engraved steel ring surrounding the planetary movement.

Janvier was a true prodigy in horology, creating his first planetary sphere when he was only 15, which in 1768 he showed to the Academy of Sciences and the Letters in Besançon. In 1784 he was awarded the title of horloger-mécanicien de Monsieur, frère du roi and later that year he presented a pair of spheres to Louis XVI. His two great masterpieces were two four-faced astronomical clocks supporting mechanical spheres, one of which was purchased by Louis XVI in 1789, and the other is currently in a private collection (see J-D. Augarde & J.N. Ronfort, Antide Janvier Mcanicien-astronome Horloger Ordinaire du Roi, Paris, 1998 and A. Kugel, Sphères, L'Art des Mécaniques Célestes, exh. cat., Paris, 2002).

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