A LOUIS XVI ORMOLU AND WHITE MARBLE PORTICO CLOCK
A LOUIS XVI ORMOLU AND WHITE MARBLE PORTICO CLOCK
A LOUIS XVI ORMOLU AND WHITE MARBLE PORTICO CLOCK
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A LOUIS XVI ORMOLU AND WHITE MARBLE PORTICO CLOCK
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Please note this lot will be moved to Christie’s F… Read more
A LOUIS XVI ORMOLU AND WHITE MARBLE PORTICO CLOCK

CIRCA 1785, THE ENAMEL DIAL SIGNED COTEAU

Details
A LOUIS XVI ORMOLU AND WHITE MARBLE PORTICO CLOCK
CIRCA 1785, THE ENAMEL DIAL SIGNED COTEAU
With Henri IV accepting the French crown above a portico with classical figures flanking a circular clock case surrounded by rosettes and foliate sprays, the enamel dial with Roman numerals, Arabic seconds and calendar rings for months and days below polychrome roundels of the signs of the Zodiac within floral sprays and ribbons, the case with a floral swag and supported on fluted columns, the plinth with a central panel of putti flanked by recessed Classical figures and inscribed with a quote from Voltaire INTREPIDE SOLDAT VRAI CHEVALIER/ GRAND HOMME/ FIDEL AMI TENDRE ET LOYAL AMANT
43 in. (109 cm.) high, 28 ½ in. (72.5 cm.) wide, 5 ½ in. (12.5 cm.) deep
Provenance
Aimee de Heeren, New York.
Special notice

Please note this lot will be moved to Christie’s Fine Art Storage Services (CFASS in Red Hook, Brooklyn) at 5pm on the last day of the sale. Lots may not be collected during the day of their move to Christie’s Fine Art Storage Services. Please consult the Lot Collection Notice for collection information. This sheet is available from the Bidder Registration staff, Purchaser Payments or the Packing Desk and will be sent with your invoice.

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Lot Essay

This superb clock with its enormous scale, its beautifully enameled dial and rich ormolu mounts not only reflects its Royal ties with its subject matter but also has clear links to a potential French Royal provenance. Its homage to Henri IV, father of the Bourbon dynasty, depicts him receiving the crown and flanked by figures emblematic of Peace and Abundance. Although the now blank oval plaque on the base removes any signs of its original owner, an identical model of smaller scale with works by Lépine was listed in the apartment of Madame Elisabeth, sister to Louis XV, at Versailles in 1787. It was described as:
‘1 belle pendule de cheminée en marbre blanc représentant un portique d'architecture orné dans la frise de 3 bas-reliefs, l'un caractérisant la Paix, l'autre l'Abondance, et l'autre la gloire tenant un buste oval, figure d'Henri IV; le portique orné de pilastres cannelés et moulures au contour du chapiteau à oves et dards, surmonté d'un vase à anses et paquets de laurier sur le ceintre du chapiteau, la pendule placée au centre du portique dans sa boîte à ornements; le tout de bronze doré au mat, ainsi que la lentille, figure de soleil, de 26 pouces de haut sur 15 pouces de face, par Lépine.
A more succinct record that same year is in the Etat des Pendules du roy Service du Garde-Meuble as ‘Une pendule de cheminée et socle en marbre blanc, représentant un portique d'architecture avec colonnes canelées orné de bronzes dorés dorés au mâte, h.26 po. sur 16 po. de large, par Lépine - Grand cabinet. Po., the abbreviation for the pre-revolutionary French measurement of pouce, is essentially equivalent to today’s inch. It is almost certain that Madame Elisabeth specifically requested this subject matter as in 1786 she and her sister Madame Sophie commissioned the sculptor Augustin Pajou (1730-1809) to make a monument in honor of Henri IV for the Château de Bellevue. Although the memorial was never constructed, Pajou’s terracotta maquette survived and is in the Musée National de Pau.
JOSEPH COTEAU
Joseph Soteau (1740-1812) was possibly the most famous enameller of his day and supplied dials for the greatest clockmakers of France. Born in Geneva, he became maître-peintre-émailleur at the Académie de Saint-Luc in Geneva in 1766. By 1772 he was installed in Rue Poupée, Paris. Beyond his enamel dials, Coteau was a skilled miniaturist, discovering a new method for gilt-decorated enamels "d'appliquer solidement l'or marié avec les émaux de toutes couleurs sur la porcelain." Not surprisingly, Coteau worked closely with the Sèvres factory in developing their 'jewelled' porcelain, and his name first appears in the kiln records at Sèvres in 1780. The iconography of this dial also presents a last faint but tantalizing link to the French Royal family. The blue ribbon, or ‘cordon bleu’ was part of the royal order of the Saint Esprit while the rose has been described as both emblematic of the Hapsburgs and Marie-Antoinette’s signature flower.
AIMEE DE HEEREN
This spectacular clock has previously been in the collection of Aimée de Heeren (1903-2006), a glamorous figure in high society in Brazil, Paris and New York. Born Aimée Lopez de Sotto Major she made a sensation in Parisian society when she moved there from Brazil in 1938, befriending Coco Chanel and Elsie de Wolfe at whose famous Circus Ball she wore one of the first-ever dresses by Christian Dior. She later married the Spanish-American Rodman Heeren, grandson of Antonio Heeren, 1st Count of Heeren, and great-grandson of John Wanamaker, the founder of the Wanamaker Department Stores. They had homes in Paris, New York City, Palm Beach, Florida and Biarritz, where she still swam regularly in the ocean aged 102! Their spectacular town house on East 90th Street, known as the Wannamaker-Munn mansion and where this remarkable clock was housed, had been in her husband's family for four generations, since the 1920s.

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