French Louis XVI Mantel Clock

French Louis XVI Mantel Clock

Price: Price on request

Offered by Kollenburg Antiquairs BV

French Louis XVI Mantel Clock French Louis XVI Mantel Clock

The movement has an eight-day going train with an anchor escapement. The striking train sounds the hours and half hours on a single bell. Roman numerals mark the hours; the minutes are indicated using Arabic numerals. The dial is signed Le Roy A Paris on the dial.

Le Roy
The Le Roy dynasty ranked among the most prominent clockmakers of their time, producing horlogers across successive generations who were counted among the most highly appreciated timepiece artisans. The heyday of the Le Roys began with Julien Le Roy (1686-1759), who established the dynasty in Paris. Le Roy’s peers considered him to be perhaps the most influential clockmaker of his time; he was not only an exceptional craftsman, but also a scholar who contributed to the Encyclopédie’s section on timepieces, and was praised by Voltaire as being single-handedly responsible for the superiority of the French clockmaking industry in the eighteenth century. This piece, however, is most likely from the hand of Pierre Le Roy (1717-1785), Julien’s eldest son. Pierre succeeded his father and dedicated the final years of his career to the longitude problem and the development of maritime timepieces.

The structure of the clock is as follows: the movement is housed within a vase-shaped case, with angular ears on both sides. The vase stands upon a large cubic base with oval cartouches filled with porphyry plaquettes on all sides. The entire case is lavishly decorated with an iconographic scheme centring around the theme of Venus and Cupid. Festooned with flowers, the comely Venus sits upon the square base and points at the dial with her right index finger. Atop the vase, Cupid reclines upon a cloud, his bow and an arrow in hand.   

The theme of this clock – the turbulent relationship between Venus, goddess of love, and Cupid – was tremendously popular among Parisian collectors in the late eighteenth century, and was implemented in various ways in clock case designs from this period. The portrayals were extremely diverse: in some cases, Cupid was shown being blindfolded or punished by Venus, in others she broke his bow or begged him to cease his mischief.

Private collection, USA
ca. 1780
fire-gilt bronze, porphyry, enamelled dial
Le Roy A Paris
48 x 16 x 16 cm

Offered by

Kollenburg Antiquairs BV

Postbus 171
5688 ZK Oirschot
The Netherlands

+31 499578037
+31 655822218

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