An extremely rare miniature Louis XIV gilt bronze mounted brass-inlaid red tortoiseshell Boulle quarter repeating pendule de voyage of eight day duration, signed on the foliate engraved dial plate Gribelin à Paris and also similarly signed on the backplate of the movement. The chapter ring with engraved numerals 1-60 for the minutes and applied enamel cartouches with Roman numerals for the hours and a fine pair of pierced blued steel hands for the hours and minutes, with a subsidiary regulation dial above XII with a blued steel pointer. The movement with four baluster pillars, verge escapement, silk thread suspension, with quarter repeating and striking on three top mounted bells, with outside count wheel. The fine gourd-shaped Boulle case veneered with tortoiseshell inlaid with brass bands to the top, the arched pedimented top concealing the three bells with a compartment to the reverse for the pendulum, the case supported on four bun feet
Paris, date circa 1680
Height 23 cm, width 15.5 cm, depth 9.5 cm.
Nicolas Gribelin (b. 1637 d. aft. 1700) was an exceedingly fine Protestant clockmaker who was born in Blois on the 27th November 1637. He was the son of Abraham Gribelin, Valet de Chambre-Horloger du Roi and Judith Festeau. Like his father, Nicolas Gribelin led a distinguished career, to become one of the greatest clockmakers of the late seventeenth century. He was received as a maître in the guild of the Faubourg Saint-Germain-des-Prés in about 1600 and in Paris on the 5th June 1675. He then served as Garde-Visiteur from 1676-1678 and 1684-1686 and was appointed Horloger de Monsieur le Dauphin sometime before 1674. By 1682 he was established at rue de Bussy.
Gribelin’s productions were of the highest quality, prolific and very much sought after by leading figures of his day. King Louis XIV owned at least one of his clocks (listed in his posthumous inventory), while an inventory drawn up in 1689 listing the possessions of Louis XIV’s son, the Grand Dauphin (1661-1711) included four clocks made by Gribelin. Some of Gribelin’s pieces were acquired by other of Louis XIV’s sons, the duc de Maine and the comte de Toulouse as well as the duc de Bourbon, the maréchal-duc de Villeroy, Antoine Crozat and Nicolas Delaunay.
Like other leading makers of his day, Gribelin paid particular attention to the quality of his cases and frequently, as we see here, collaborated with André-Charles Boulle. He also worked with another important colleague, Balthazar Martinot II (1636-1714) in organizing an interesting lottery in 1695. Three years before he, Balthazar II Martinot and Gilles II Martinot had attempted to form a type of partnership with the Abbé d’Hautefeuille. The three clockmakers had agreed to pay a fee of one ‘louis d’or’ for each clock and watch they made according to a process developed by d’Hautefeuille, who at the same time was seeking a patent to exploit his invention. The enterprise did not really succeed.
Today Gribelin’s work is housed in some of the finest private and public collections, notably the Musée du Louvre and Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris and Château de Versailles. The Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon, Dresden; Uhrenmuseum, Wuppertal; the British Museum, London and the Museum of Art, Indianapolis all own other examples from his oeuvre. Interestingly two similar XIV pendules de voyage by Gribelin’s contemporaries, Pierre du Chesne (maître 1675) and Pierre Margotin (juré 1681-95) were until recently owned by the late Justice Warren Shepro of Illinois, who had amassed one of the most distinguished private collections of French clocks.
Richard Redding Antiques Ltd.
8322 Gündisau, Switzerland,
tel +41 44 212 00 14
mobile + 41 79 333 40 19
fax +41 44 212 14 10
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