Ferdinand Berthoud (1727-1807)
Berthoud was born in Switzerland in 1727 and became maître in Paris in 1754. He is generally acknowledged to be the greatest clockmaker in France in the 18th Century. From 1786 he was horloger pensionnaire du roi et inspecteur general des machines pour la Marine.
As a highly respected clockmaker he was a member of numerous organizations including a commission to establish a Royal Clock Factory in Paris (1786) and the Temporary Commission for the Arts (1793) as well as the Royal Society of London (1764). His particular specialty was the study of marine clocks and the science of clock movement. In recognition of his talents he was commissioned to design a clock for the King's Council Chamber at Versailles, and from 1766 he designed all marine clocks and watches used on the King's ships. Berthoud wrote numerous scientific articles and treatises including several articles on clockmaking which he contributed to Diderot's Encyclopédie.
A related model by Berthoud in the Frick collection, modelled with putti of similar style is illustrated in Ottomeyer & Pröschel, Vergoldete bronzen, p. 171.
A closely related clock representing Eloquence and Astronomy, slightly varying in decoration and with an openworked dial, is illustrated in Tardy, French clocks the world over, Vol. II, p. 22.