A superb Louis XVI gilt bronze mounted white marble mantle clock of eight day duration, signed on the white enamel dial Cachard Suc’ de Ch Le Roi à Paris housed in a wonderful case attributed to François Vion. The dial with Arabic numerals and a fine pair of pierced gilt brass hands for the hours and minutes. The spring driven movement with anchor escapement, silk thread suspension, striking on the hour and half hour on a single bell, with outside count wheel. The extremely fine case known as Le Retour de l’Amour or La Pleureuse d’Oiseau featuring Venus standing to the left leaning toward Cupid her arm resting on drapery and foliage on a plinth above the dial, with Cupid to the right holding out a dove toward the goddess, the figures and clock drum upon a stepped rectangular plinth with gilt foliate band centred by a ribbon-tied foliate spray upon gilded drapery and massive lion paw feet at each corner
Paris, date circa 1775
Height 35 cm, width 28 cm, depth 13 cm.
Literature: Hans Ottomeyer and Peter Pröschel, “Vergoldete Bronzen”, 1986, p. 247, pl. 4.6.9, illustrating a design from François Vion’s workshop for the present clock; and pl. 4.6.10, illustrating an almost identical clock with bronze case signed on the dial Ch.les le Roy. Pierre Kjellberg, “Encyclopédie de la Pendule Française du Moyen Age au XXe Siècle”, 1997, p. 246, pl. A, illustrating an identical clock case signed on the dial Roque à Paris.
Another example of this celebrated case model by the Parisian fondeur François Vion (maître 1764, fl. 1764-c.1800), in the Musée du Louvre once belonged to Marie-Antoinette; other identical clocks are housed at the Musée de Carnavalet and des Arts Décoratifs, Paris.
Gaspar Cachard, who made the movement, was proud to announce himself as the successor to Charles Le Roi (or Roy). Sometime between 1792 and 1795 Cachard purchased this highly reputable firm, founded by Charles Le Roi (1709-71) and later run by his son Etienne-Augustin (b. 1737 d. after 1792). Cachard continued the business from the same Parisian premises in rue St-Denis, gaining repute as an extremely able clockmaker. As such he supplied the Garde-Meuble and made a clock for the Château de la Malmaison. One can also find an example of his work in the Künst and Gerwerbe Museum, Hamburg.