A large and highly important Louis XV gilt bronze figural cartel clock of two weeks duration, the movement by Louis Jouard and magnificent case by the eminent bronzier Jean-Joseph de Saint-Germain, signed on the white enamel dial and also on the movement Jouard à Paris and inscribed on the lower right of the case S. GERMAIN. The dial with outer black Arabic and inner blue Roman numerals with a beautiful pair of pierced gilt brass hands for the hours and minutes. The movement with anchor escapement, striking on the hour and half hour. The magnificent case of asymmetrical cartouche outline decorated overall with floral and foliate scrolls surmounted by Diana the mythological huntress seated beneath an arbour with a hound leaping at her leg and a putto to her lower left, with a further putto to the lower left of the dial and a dove to the lower right
Paris, date circa 1745
Height 93 cm, width 44 cm.
Literature: Hans Ottomeyer and Peter Pröschel, “Vergoldete Bronzen”, 1986, p. 115, pl. 2.5.4, illustrating an almost identical clock case by Saint-Germain with the two putti in differing poses and lacking the dove, signed on the dial Mynüel à Paris, housed at Stockholm Castle. And p. 114, pl. 2.5.3, illustrating a smaller but comparable cartel case by Saint-Germain signed on the dial Gilbert à Paris, featuring the same figure of Diana and her hound but with a second hound in place of the upper putto but lacking the lower putto and dove. Jean-Dominique Augarde, “Les Ouvriers du Temps”, 1996, p. 333, pl. 251, illustrating a very similar case by Saint-Germain with the putti in different poses and the lower one in place of the dove. D. Alcouffe, A. Dion-Tenenbaum,et al., “Les Bronzes d’Ameublement du Louvre”, 2004, pp. 76-77, pl. 33, illustrating an almost identical clock in the Musée du Louvre, Paris.
This splendid case surmounted by Diana, the mythological goddess of hunting is among Jean-Joseph de Saint-Germain’s (1719-1791) most celebrated masterpieces. The inventory of stock drawn up on 14th December 1747 following the death of the bronzier’s wife, made mention of a ‘cartel à diane pour model prisé la somme de cent livres.’ It certainly proved to be a very popular model, comparing closely with several others as noted above, all with slight variations especially in the positioning and poses of the putti. Among them one can cite near identical examples in the Swedish Royal Collection at Stockholm Castle as well as in the Musée du Louvre, formerly owned by Madame Georges Lebey. In addition on can cite another clock with case by Saint-Germain and movement by Montjoye from the collection of Monsieur E. Cronier, sold in Paris, 4th-5th December 1905, lot 126 as well as another from the collection of baron Albert von Goldsmith-Rothschild, Château de Grüneburg, sold in Berlin, 14th March 1933, lot 35. More recently one with the dial signed Martin, from the Cahen d’Anvers Collection was sold at the Palais Galliera, Paris, 23rd March 1971, lot 65 and then later in London 1991 as well as another with movement by Louis François Herbault from the collection of the comte Dorsan Goethals de Mude, which was sold in Monaco 1998. Added to this, mention should be made of a very similar cartel, with case by Saint-Germain, movement by Jean-Baptiste Baillon III (d. 1772) and enamel dial by Antoine-Nicolas Martinière (1706-84) sold by the present gallery, illustrated in “Richard Redding Antiques Ltd, 25th Anniversary”, 2002, p. 277.
Jean-Joseph St. Germain was one of the most important Parisian fondeur-ciseleurs of his day and as such created some of the most notable cases in the Rococo style, which in addition to the present model included others with rhinoceroses, elephants and other exotic creatures. He later played an important role in the Neo-classical movement, casting for instance the ‘Genius of Denmark’ clock (1765, Copenhagen Amalienborg). The son of an ébéniste Joseph de Saint-Germain (maître 1750), who specialised in the production of veneered clock and barometer cases, Jean-Joseph initially followed his father’s line before specialising in the production of bronze cases. Though he practised in this field from 1742 working ouvrier libre he was not received into the guild as a maître until 1748, by which date he had already established his name as one of the finest and more innovative bronziers.
Among many of the leading Parisian clockmakers who Saint-Germain supplied was Louis Jouard (d. before 1773), who was responsible for the present movement. Jouard probably trained or worked in the workshop of Jacques Cogniet (1661-1731) and his son Jean-Baptiste Cogniet (d. 1726) who were at rue de la Monnaye where Jouard was also listed in September 1724 when he was received as a Paris maître. When J-B Cogniet died Jouard married his widow Marie-Ursule Prévost and in so doing took over Cogniet’s business. As his standing increased Jouard was asked to act as a juré of his guild, 1741-43 and 1747-49 and then by 1750 moved to the cloister Saint-Germain de-l’Auxerrois. His output included a variety of traditional and luxury clocks, some of which were sold through the marchand-mercier François Darnault; when the latter’s wife died in 1753 an inventory of her remaining stock included seven clocks of which six were by Jouard. Jouard is known to have worked with Honoré Noël and have been partly responsible for training the clockmaker François Viger (b. circa 1708 d. 1784), who then went on to gain repute for the quality of his clocks, many of which, like his master, were supplied by Jean-Joseph de Saint-Germain. At other times Jouard called upon the services of the ébéniste Jean-Pierre Mathieu while his watch cases were supplied by F. Gervais, some of his dials by Antoine-Nicolas Martinère and Audevin and springs by Paquiet; in addition he is known to have subcontracted some of the mechanical parts of the movement to Samuel Dupont, Jean I Fol, Jean-Emmanuel Chifelle and Filot. Today examples of his superb craftsmanship can be found in the Cleveland Museum of Art as well as Château de Versailles.