Nicolas Petit, maître in 1761.
This régulateur numbers among a prestigious series of closely related examples by Nicolas Petit (1732-1791). Here, as on most of these examples, Petit collaborated with Lepaute, referring to both Jean-André Lepaute (1720-1787), clockmaker to Louis XVI, and his brother, Jean-Baptiste (1727-1802), successor to the royal appointment. Petit and Lepaute evolved the model to reflect nuances in fashion, subtly altering mounts and elongating the case into the bulbous lyre shape seen here. Early examples from the 1760s are fronted by a solid door with an ormolu-framed glazed cartouche revealing the pendulum balancier. Of elegant Transitional style, the present lot retains the scrolled acanthus and mask mounts which feature to earlier examples, but the plainer glazed door showing the whole pendulum suggests a stronger neoclassical influence and places it later in the series. Another, also with a fully glazed door, sold Christie's Paris, 13 April 2010, lot 307. For a comparison of the variant models see A. Droguet, Nicolas Petit. 1732-1791., Paris, 2001, pp. 68-72.