A Louis XV astronomical longcase regulator with equation of time, signed in the skeletonised centre Bouchet AP, c. 1765. The gilt bronze mounted tulipwood and amaranth case is violin-shaped. It is stamped twice on the back S J JOLLAIN (Adrien-Jérôme Jollain). The case has an arched top with a pierced gilt bronze foliate border above a spreading bulbous body again with elaborate foliate scrolled gilt bronze mounts at the edges and borders with ribbon-tied laurels bordering the shaped glazed pendulum aperture, the central section with a hinged door, the whole resting on a squared base with bracket feet and shaped apron. The main dial has Roman and Arabic numerals and outer calendar ring with the names of the month and numbers of days enclosed by a beautiful polychrome painted ring portraying the corresponding signs of the zodiac, with a pair of pierced gilt brass hour and minute hands and a pair of blued-steel pointers for the calendar indications. There are two smaller subsidiary dials, the one to the left showing universal time with calendar and the one to the right the phases of the moon and sun, the striking movement sounding on the quarters on two bells and on the hours on a single bell. • Height: 230 cm. • The maker, Jean-Louis Bouchet (1737-92), was appointed Horloger du Roi by virtue of supplying the Garde-Meuble. He was renowned for the complexity and finesse of his clocks and was one of the first to create skeleton clocks. He supplied a number of complex pieces to Louis XV, one of which with astronomical indications was described as a ‘clock composed of different round movements in a crystal case, so that the different springs can be seen.’ It was delivered in 1776 to Château de Bellevue, where Bouchet was given the responsibility for maintaining all the clocks in the royal collection. In 1768 he supplied miniaturized movements with astronomical indications for an ivory clock that had been turned by M. de Fontanieu for the King. In addition he created classical pieces of which four were supplied to the Garde-Meuble. His work can be admired at the Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg and the Archives Nationales, Paris. Having worked as a compagnon to Pierre Gille l’Aîné and Antoine-Charles Caron, Bouchet was received as a maître-horloger in 1762. Four years later he was established at rue Saint-Denis, by 1772 at rue Montmartre and by 1778 at rue Bourg l’Abbé. He then moved again and in 1781 was at rue Meslée, two years later at rue Saint-Martin and then in 1789 at rue Salle-au-Comte. In addition to Jollain, Bouchet used cases by other makers such as Philippe Caffiéri, the Osmonds, Balthazar Lieutaud, J-N. Clavelle and Jean Hauré; in addition his dials were supplied by Joseph Coteau and Edme-Portail Barbichon and his springs by Trabant. The present case was created by Adrien-Jérôme Jollain (maître 1763 d. 1788), who was established at the cloister Saint-Jean-de-Latran. He came from a family of horlogers but served his apprenticeship as an ébéniste and was received as a maître in 1763 and thereafter specialised in making clock cases. • Literature: J.-D. Augarde, Les Ouvriers du Temps, Antiquorum, 1996, p. 285 ; P. Kjellberg, Le Mobilier Français du XVIIIe Siècle, 1998, p. 445, illustrating a comparable Louis XV gilt bronze mounted violin-shaped tulipwood longcase regulator by Adrien-Jérôme Jollain.
The Horological Foundation Desk Diary Project.
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