French Louis XV cartel d’alcove, Jean Baptiste Baillon

French Louis XV cartel d’alcove, Jean Baptiste Baillon

Price: Price on request

Offered by Kollenburg Antiquairs BV

The fourteen-day movement is driven by a spring barrel. It is regulated by an anchor escapement in combination with a pendulum hung on silk. The movement has a pull quarter repeat on two bells. The white enamelled dial features blue Roman numerals for the hours and an outer ring indicating the minutes in black Arabic numerals. Between the Roman hours, are gilt paillons in the shape of the French lily. The openwork hour and minute hands are made of gilt bronze. The clock is signed in the centre: “Jn BAPTISTE BAILLON”. The reverse of the dial is signed “1746 A.N. Martiniere, P. naire du Roy”. The back platine of the movement is signed; JBte Baillon AParis No 2315.

The fire-gilt bronze case incorporates asymmetrically shaped, stylised acanthus leaves and has an openwork lenticle at the bottom.

Jean-Baptiste Baillon III (d. 1772) was one of the most skilled and innovative makers of his day. A large part of his success was due to his competence in setting up a large and flourishing private factory in Saint-Germain-en-Laye – a factory that was unique in the eighteenth-century clockmaking world. Baillon's father, the Parisian maître Jean-Baptiste II (d. 1757), and his grandfather Jean-Baptiste I from Rouen were both clockmakers, as was his own son, Jean-Baptiste IV Baillon (1752 - ca. 1773). Baillon himself was admitted to the guild as maître-horloger. His first high-profile appointment came in 1738, when he was made Valet de Chambre-Horloger Ordinaire de la Reine. He was subsequently appointed Premier Valet de Chambre de la Reine at some point before 1748, then Marie-Antoinette’s Premier Valet de Chambre and Valet de Chambre-Horloger Ordinaire de la Dauphine in 1770. In 1738, he established a place of business at – appropriately – Place Dauphine, moving to Rue Dauphine in 1751.

Thanks to his success, Jean-Baptiste Baillon amassed a tremendous fortune: at the time of his death on 8 April 1772, his wealth was estimated at 384,000 livres. Baillon’s works can nowadays be viewed at some of the world’s most prestigious collections, including the Louvre in Paris, the Palace of Versailles, Neues Schloss Bayreuth, and the Metropolitan Museum in New York.

Antoine-Nicolas Martiniere
A.N. Martiniere (1706 – 1784) obtained maître (master) status in 1720 and was one of the most prominent enamellers during Louis XV’s reign. As such, his customers included the most highly skilled of clockmakers. An article published in Le Mercure de France in April 1740 reported that the king himself had placed an order for an exceptionally large, enameled dial. Other enamellers had been unable to guarantee satisfactory results, but Martiniere managed to craft a piece that pleased the king greatly, and he was named Pensionnaire du Roi (Pensioner of the King) a year later.

The bronzes are marked C Couronné. An edict dating 1745 required craftsmen to employ a mark on any alloy containing copper in the form of a distinctive lower case letter C surmounted by a crown. The “C Couronné” poinçon, also known as “C coronata” had to be applied to objects as well as furniture embellished or mounted with bronze elements.

The crowned C-mark, measuring just a few millimetres, had long been a much-debated issue for researchers- was it the signature of the bronzier Caffieri, that of the fondeur Colson, or the stamp of the furnituremaker Cressent?
It was not until 1924 that Henri Nocq, in his thesis Le Poinçon de Paris, identified it as a tax mark for bronze objects and fragments that was sanctioned between 1745 and 1749. As with any new tax, this one was very unpopular, triggering many artisans to formally contest the decision in lawsuits against the state. Nonetheless, the edict was formalised in February 1745 and became applicable to “all existent and new works of bronze, pure copper, cast iron, mixed copper, wrought-, ground-, hammered- planed-, engraved- gilded, silver or coloured- no exception.”
Every craftsman was required to report to the hall-mark office at the "cul-de-sac des Bourdonnais" in the Halles district, have his work stamped and pay the royalty fee. It was no coincidence that this all took place during the War of the Austrian Succession and that the military needs were urgent at the time. When the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle was signed in February 1749 and financing the king’s campaigns was no longer necessary, the "abolition of small new taxes" followed shortly.

Since the poinçon was obligatory for all metalwork containing copper, sold or exported, between March 1745 and February 1749, one can easily stumble upon the tax mark on pieces dating prior to 1745. For instance, if they received a new layer of gilding or if the objects were brought onto the market during these years. This is also the case with several pieces of furniture by André-Charles Boulle from the Louis XIV period.

ca. 1746
fire-gilt bronze, enameled dial
50 x 11 x 30 cm

Offered by

Kollenburg Antiquairs BV

Postbus 171
5688 ZK Oirschot
The Netherlands

+31 499578037
+31 655822218

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