The Duc d'Orleans, fleeing the guillotine of the French Revolution, arrived in Philadelphia in 1796 where he spent his years in exile. Living in a humble rented apartment the dispossesed Duc lived in Philadelphia as a citizen and socialized with the people of the city, including George Washington, whom he also visited at Mt. Vernon. Some 25 or so years later he was back in Paris and again working in politics. In 1830 he was crowned King of France, and ruled as Louis Philipe, "The Citizen King" until 1848.
This clock was made in the years before his coronation, during the period from 1820-1830 when Louis Mallett worked at Neuve des Petits-Champs as clockmaker to the Duc. A rare and striking survival from that period, this clock is further distinguished by the inscription on the back of the dial "Dub 3104" and "Mallett 1078." "Dub" seems to refer to the enameller Dubuisson, known to have been working from 1795.
Probably made for export to the American market, five related versions of this clock are known. Very closely related examples are illustrated in Sack, American Antiques from Israel Sack Collection (New York, 1974) vol. 5, p. 1185, P4118, in Hirschl & Adler Gallery's publication Of the Newest Fashion: Masterpieces of American Neo-Classical Decorative Arts (New York, 2001) p. 75 and a third is in The Warner Collection of The Gulf States Paper Corporation. Two other related examples by Mallett are in the collections of Winterthur (Sweeney, Winterthur Illustrated (Winterthur Delaware 1963) p. 130) and of the White House (see Sack, vol. 1 p. 31 no. 102).