A LOUIS XV ORMOLU-MOUNTED TULIPWOOD, KINGWOOD AND BOIS-DE-BOUT FLORAL MARQUETRY STRIKING MONTH-GOING LONGCASE CLOCK
A LOUIS XV ORMOLU-MOUNTED TULIPWOOD, KINGWOOD AND BOIS-DE-BOUT FLORAL MARQUETRY STRIKING MONTH-GOING LONGCASE CLOCK
A LOUIS XV ORMOLU-MOUNTED TULIPWOOD, KINGWOOD AND BOIS-DE-BOUT FLORAL MARQUETRY STRIKING MONTH-GOING LONGCASE CLOCK
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A LOUIS XV ORMOLU-MOUNTED TULIPWOOD, KINGWOOD AND BOIS-DE-BOUT FLORAL MARQUETRY STRIKING MONTH-GOING LONGCASE CLOCK
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A LOUIS XV ORMOLU-MOUNTED TULIPWOOD, KINGWOOD AND BOIS-DE-BOUT FLORAL MARQUETRY STRIKING MONTH-GOING LONGCASE CLOCK

THE CASE BY ROCHETTE, THE MOVEMENT BY ANTOINE DE SAINT MARTIN, CIRCA 1745

Details
A LOUIS XV ORMOLU-MOUNTED TULIPWOOD, KINGWOOD AND BOIS-DE-BOUT FLORAL MARQUETRY STRIKING MONTH-GOING LONGCASE CLOCK
THE CASE BY ROCHETTE, THE MOVEMENT BY ANTOINE DE SAINT MARTIN, CIRCA 1745
CASE: inlaid overall with panels of scrolling foliage, within a shaped foliate and C-scrolled edge, surmounted by a figure of Flora holding flowers in one hand and an urn in the other and seated on clouds, above a tapering door with a musical trophy and a further shaped and glazed panel with a C-scroll frame with scallop shell finial, above a winged seated dragon and a further door with a military trophy, all framed by foliate C-scrolls, the sides conformingly inlaid, on a later inverted breakfront plinth, stamped twice to the top of the carcase with a fleur-de-lys and 'ROCHETTE', probably as restorer, the upper door re-veneered in amaranth to the centre, the figure of Flora mid-18th century and probably original but possibly added in the late 18th century, inscribed in red chalk 'AR';
DIAL: the circular glazed dial with Roman and Arabic chapters in individual cartouches within a foliate mask, the dial centre with rolling moonphase with white enamel sector below inscribed 'AGE.ET.PHASES.DE.LA.LUNE' and signed 'ST MARTIN.A.PARIS', blued steel hour and minute hands;
MOVEMENT: with four back-pinned baluster pillars, deadbeat escapement with later pendulum, the strike on a later bell via calibrated countwheel positioned on the backplate, signed 'St Martin A Paris', large brass bob to steel rod pendulum
The case: 106 ½ in. (271.5 cm.) high; 26 ½ in. (67.5 cm.) wide; 12 in. (30.5 cm.) deep
The dial: 11 ½ in. (29 cm.) diameter
Provenance
Marquis of Santa Cruz, Madrid (as annotated in Baron Nathaniel von Rothschild's private catalogue of his works of art of 1903).
Baron Nathaniel von Rothschild (1836-1905), Theresianumgasse, Vienna.
Baron Albert von Rothschild (1844-1911).
Baron Alphonse von Rothschild (1878-1942).
Rothschild inventory no. AR603.
Seized by the Nazi authorities following the Anschluss in 1938.
Stored at the Neue Burg depot in 1939 and subsequently transferred to the Museum für Angewandte Kunst, Vienna.
Restituted by the Austrian government to the Rothschild family in 1999.
The Collection of Barons Nathaniel and Albert von Rothschild; sold Christie's, London, 8 July 1999, lot 209.
Literature
Baron N. von Rothschild, Notizen über eingie meiner Kunstgegenstände, Vienna, 1903 (Theresianumgasse Inventory), p. 40, no. 79.
Inventar über die in den Nathaniel Freiherr von Rothschild'schen Nachlass gehorigen, in dem Palais in Wien, IV. Bezirk, Theresianumgasse Nr 14 befindlichen Kunstgegenstände und Einrichtungsstücke, Vienna, February, 1906 (1906 Theresianumgasse Inventory), p. 234, no. 1171.
E. Schaffran, 'New Acquisitions by The Vienna Museum of Austrian Applied Art', Connoisseur, April 1955, p. 186.
Osterreichisches Museum fur angewandte Kunst, Guide, Vienna, 1958, fig. 81.
P. Verlet, Les Meubles Français du XVIIIe Siècle, Paris, 1982, fig. 127.
P. Kjellberg, Le Mobilier Français du XVIIIe siècle, Paris, 1998, p. 717.
J.-D. Augarde, Les Ouvriers du Temps, Geneva, 1996, p. 396.
S. Lillie, Was Einmal War, Vienna, 2003, p. 1023.
Exhibited
Vienna, Museum für angewandte Kunst, 1948-1999.

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Lot Essay

Laurent Rochette, ébéniste privilégié suivant la Cour in 1745.
Antoine de Saint-Martin, active until circa 1747.

The kingwood veneer of this clock-case, with its banding in tulipwood, would apparently suggest that this longcase clock was executed at the beginning of the 1730s. However, the use of bois-de-bout end-cut floral marquetry on the panels of the sides, as well as the elaborate ormolu mounts, especially the dragon and volutes of the feet, points to a slightly later date.

In terms of shape, marquetry and mounts, this magnificent clock can be closely linked to the oeuvre of Jean-Pierre Latz (circa 1691-1754). The inventories drawn up following his death in 1754 and his wife's death in 1756 indicate that the main activity of his workshop was the production of clock-cases. Much of Latz’s output was produced for the German market, and many of his surviving pieces today are in collections in Berlin and Dresden - both Frederick II of Prussia and Augustus III, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, ordered much furniture from Paris and particularly from Latz, many of which are listed by Henry Hawley in his pioneering examination of the ébéniste's work in 'Jean-Pierre Latz, Cabinetmaker' published in The Bulletin of The Cleveland Museum, September-October 1970, pp. 203-259. In terms of its overall form, with bombé lower section leading to a flaring base and asymmetrically formed hood, as well as the use of bois-de-bout marquetry on a kingwood ground the present clock is most closely related to a clock by Latz at Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire, which dates to circa 1750 (ibid, no. 2; G. de Bellaigue, The James A. de Rothschild Collection, London, 1974, vol. I, pp. 84-88, no. 11). The Waddesdon example is in turn related in certain elements of its form to a clock in the Cleveland Museum, which is veneered with Boulle marquetry and far more opulently mounted than the Waddesdon clock, and interestingly includes a pair of winged dragons to its hood (Hawley, op. cit., no. 1). A further bracket clock and bracket attributed to Latz by Hawley features a remarkably similar dragon emerging from beneath the clock to look up fiercely at Cupid, who shoots an arrow at it from above (Hawley, op. cit., p. 226-7, no. 14).

The dragon was a motif also employed on many works of art by Charles Cressent (1685-1768), including a clock described in the catalogue of the sale of his stock in 1757: 'Une pendule face de bronze sur son pied tout de bronze; elle est coeff d'un enfant sur un nuage; au pied, il y a deux dragons, avec une tete de Lyon qui sort par un trou.'. A similar figure of Venus seated amongst clouds surmounts a Boulle marquetry cartel clock attributed to Cressent, which also features a pair of dragons to its base looking menacingly up at her from below (Bellaigue, op. cit., pp. 66-71, no. 7). The mounts to the present regulateur, which are boldly cast and beautifully chased, are certainly reminiscent of Cressent’s mounts, which he often cast and chased himself in contravention of guild regulations. The bombé shaped case and exuberance of the mounts of the present clock are also directly comparable to that of Cressent's regulateur in the Royal Collection at Buckingham Palace, which is likely to have been made for Marcellin-François-Zacharie de Selle, Trésorier-général of the French navy, who furnished his study in Paris in the rue Sainte Anne with pieces by Cressent. The de Selle clock is surmounted by a figure of Old Father Time, and appears in a painting of a room at Buckingham House by Zoffany, circa 1765 (C. Jagger, Royal Clocks The British Monarchy and its Timekeepers 1300-1900, London, 1983, pp. 124-128. figs. 169 & 170). Dragons also adorned commodes by Cressent, including that formerly in the collection of Sir Richard Wallace (sold Christie’s, Monaco, 13 December 1998, lot 380).

LOUIS OR LAURENT ROCHETTE
Laurent Rochette was born in 1723, the son of Louis Rochette, a marchand-ébéniste who lived in the rue du faubourg Saint-Antoine. Ebéniste privilégié in 1745, Laurent married the daughter of a sailor in 1753. After becoming marchand privilgié du Roi by decree of the Grand Conseil, he sold his business to the cabinet-maker Mathieu Saddon for only 3,700 livres shortly before 1758 and became a marchand de bois. Either Louis or Laurent Rochette supplied furniture to the comte d'Artois at the Palais du Temple, including a commode stamped by Rochette which bears the mark of that residence (sold Christie's, New York, 19 March 1998, lot 90). A further commode with floral bois-de-bout marquetry and strongly contoured mounts stamped L*ROCHETTE was sold Christie’s, Paris, 23 June 2005, lot 443 (€72,000). Bearing in mind the tender age which Laurent Rochette would have been at the time of the production of this magnificent clock, it is possible that it was the result of collaboration between father and son. Pierre Kjellberg notes that this is the grandest of the few known pieces stamped by Rochette, and states that the character is Germanic enough to lead us to think that it suggests a princely commission (loc. cit.).

ANTOINE DE SAINT-MARTIN
Established in the rue de Bussy, then rue des Fosses and finally in 1715 in Saint-Germain, Antoine de Saint-Martin married his second wife, Elisabeth de Montpellier, in 1713. Three clock-makers were his witnesses, namely Paul Alexandre, Gilles Martinot and Jean-Baptiste Masson. After the death of the latter, he bought the stock of his friend for 24,532 livres, amongst which were deux pendules sonnantes de Lieutot le jeune avec une teste pour ornement, which were moved to the Place Dauphine. A member of the Jure in 1737 and garde-visiteur between 1737 and 1739, he married his first daughter to the clock-maker Philippe Barat. and counted M. de Choiseul-Meuse, the comte de Parabere, the comtesse de Mailly and M. de Surgere amongst his clients. Saint-Martin died in 1747.

THE INTERPRETATION OF THE ORNAMENT
This longcase clock is conceived in the 'picturesque' manner. The cloud-borne fertility deity Flora strews flowers from its wave-scrolled temple pediment; while a Venus shell-badge crowns the open cartouche of its pendulum. Recalling the Virgilian concept that agriculture flourishes with arms and armour laid aside; a triumphal palm and oak-wreathed trophy of weapons is laid in the arched niche formed by the pedestal's volute-trussed feet, where it is guarded by the draco- or dragon-badge of Minerva, goddess of wisdom. A hollow-cornered tablet above the pendulum window displays a poetic laurel-enriched trophy of pastoral instruments bound by a beribboned sacred veil.

THE VIENNESE ROTHSCHILDS
This clock formed part of the fabled collection of the Barons Nathaniel (d. 1905) and Albert (d. 1911) von Rothschild of Vienna. The family fortune was based on businesses established by Mayer Amschel Rothschild in Frankfurt in the 1760s. His five sons, the 'five arrows', extended the family's interests throughout Europe, primarily based upon finance, but the majority of the collections were put together by the third or fourth generations of the family well into the 19th century. This timing coincided with a period when the royal and noble houses of Europe and the landowning families of England experienced financial difficulties and dispersed their collections.

The Viennese branch was truly established by Nathaniel and Albert's grandfather, Salomon, who himself left Vienna after the civil disorder of 1848. Their father Anselm firmly established the Rothschild business interests in Austria. He embarked on the first large building programmes for the Rothschilds in Vienna with the construction of the gallery which was attached to his Venetian residence in the Renngasse, to hold his extensive art collection. Upon his death in 1874, Nathaniel began the construction of a 'considerable mansion' in the Theresianumgasse in Vienna, while his brother built an immense palace almost opposite in the Heugasse. Further residences in Austria included the Hohe Warte and in Moravia the Schloss Schillersdorf. Nathaniel died childless. His brother Albert, who inherited the collection, had three sons, Alphonse, Louis and Eugene. Much of the collection of the Barons Nathaniel and Albert von Rothschild was sold in Christie's, London, 8 July 1999, having been restituted from the Austrian Government, including this remarkable clock.
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