This regulateur is thought to have been made circa 1787 and as such to be one of the earliest clocks by Bourdier. A previously unpublished manuscript in the Archives Brateau contains a list of clocks drawn up by Bourdier probably on the occasion of a visit by the Minister of the Interior to his workshop in 1805. The regulateur does not appear on the list presumably because he produced a technically more complex one in 1788 and the purpose of the list was to show his technical ability. The list does however enable one to see how his work evolved over time. The 1787 production date is also supported by the nature of the pendulum. From 1788, Bourdier used the thermal compensation pendulum of his own invention on all regulateurs of comparable quality.
There is a group of clockcases by Lieutaud which are of similar form. The earliest example is probably that now in the Frick Collection (discussed T. Dell, op. cit., pp. 314-332) with gilt bronzes signed by Caffiéri and dated 1767. Others include an ebony example at Versailles (C. Frégnac and J. Meuvret, French Cabinetmakers of the Eighteenth Century, New York, 1965, p. 202), and another in the Wallace Collection (F.J.B. Watson, Wallace Collection Catalogues, Furniture, London, 1956, F. 271, pl. 49).
Lieutaud died in 1780 and his workshop was taken on by his widow Nicole Godard. The atelier was presumably still active at least up until 1786 as Louis Berthoud's account book lists a payment to the widow on 27 April 1786.
JEAN-SIMON BOURDIER (c. 1760-1839)
One of the most innovative clockmakers of his time, Jean-Simon Bourdier became a maitre horloger in Paris on 22 September 1787. He is recorded as working in the rue des Prêcheurs in 1787, quai de l'Horloge du Palais circa 1790, rue Mazarine in 1801, rue Saint-Saveur in 1812 and rue Saint-Denis in 1830. He gained a silver medal in the 1806 and 1879 produits de l'industrie exhibitions.
He is known to have worked with the ébénistes Lieutaud and Riesener as well as the bronziers Galle, Thomire and Remond. his dials were painted by the émailleurs Dubuisson and Coteau. His clocks were also sold by the dealers Daguerre and Lignereux and Juilliot.
JOSEPH COTEAU (1740-1801)
Joseph Coteau was born in 1740, probably in Geneva and died in Paris on 21 January 1801. He became maître-pintre-émailleur at the Académie de Saint-Luc in Geneva on 6 November 1766 and was installed in rue Poupée, Paris by 1772. Coteau is celebrated not only for his skill in decorating enamelled dials but also as a skilled miniaturist. He discovered a new method for fixing raised gold on porcelain and worked closely with the Sèvres manufactory in developing their so-called "jewelled" porcelain.
BALTHAZAR LIEUTAUD (circa 1720-1780)
Balthazar Lieutaud became a maître in 1749. The son of the ébéniste Charles Lieutaud and grandson of François Lieutaud an ébéniste from Marseilles, he specialized in clockcases. He worked with the bronziers Philippe Caffiéri, Charles Grimpelle and Edme Roye. By 1750 he was installed in rue de la Pelleterie on the île de la cité, the clockmakers' district and moved to the rue d'Enfer in 1772. Following his death in 1780, his wife, Nicole Godard (1721-1800), continued to run the atelier.