A French Empire gilded ormolu mantel clock. The movement has an eight-day going train with anchor escapement. The striking mechanism on the locking plate strikes the hours on the hour and once on the half hour. The enamel dial is signed Revel. The hours are indicated by Roman numerals and the minutes in Arabic.
The movement is positioned in the centre of the clock. On the right of the case an elegant seated female figure dressed in antique robes. Her sheet music on a three-legged gueridon, she plays a harp while she looks over her shoulder at Amor who holds a scroll inscribed "Bouton de rose" (rosebud). A bow and a burning torch, two of his attributes, rest next to him on a tabouret with lion feet. Below the dial a lavishly decorated drapery. The entirety is supported by a base of green marble, which is decorated with gilded bronze applique motifs referring to the narrative of the figural group. The marble base rests on six elegant legs adorned with swags of grapes and a gilt bronze plinth.
The extraordinary design of this clock was inspired by a poem with the title “Bouton de rose”, by Constance-Marie de Théis, Princess de Salm-Dyck (1767-1845). The poem was published in 1785 in the Almanach des Grâces and became famous at turn of century when it was set to music by the composer Louis-Barthélémy Pradher (1782-1843). The popular singer Pierre-Jean Garat (1762-1823) performed it in fashionable salons and dedicated the song to the beauty of Josephine, wife of the future emperor Napoleon.
The clock can be ascribed to Pierre-Philippe Thomire (1751-1843). Thomire was one of the most prominent bronze casters and ciseleurs of the Empire era. Despite his training as a sculptor, he chose to follow in his father's footsteps and become a bronze caster. In this profession, he was the most successful producer of bronzes of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Thomire trained with Pierre Gouthière before starting his own business producing gilt bronze furniture ornaments. He later became assistant to Jean-Claude-Thomas Duplessis, who was director of the Manufacture de Sèvres. After Duplessis’ death in 1783, Thomire resumed his profession as a bronze caster to design and produce, among other things, gilt bronze mounts for porcelain. In 1809, he was appointed "Ciseleur de l'Empereur".
Although little is known about Joseph-Marie Revel, we do know that he was a celebrated and well-respected clockmaker throughout his career. After becoming a maître horloger, he opened a workshop in the Vieille Rue du Temple, and was later integrated into the Palais Royal between 1787 and 1790, followed by the Palais Egalité around 1800, and finally into the Palais Tribunat between 1804 and 1806. He died in Paris in 1811.
La Pendulerie, Paris
Private collection, London
Philippe Malgouyres, Porphyre; la pierre pourpre des Ptolémées aux Bonaparte, Paris, 2003
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