A very beautiful Empire gilt and patinated bronze and rouge griotte marble figural clock of eight day duration, signed on the white enamel dial Gérard à Paris. The dial with Roman numerals and a pair of blued steel pointers to indicate the hours and minutes. The movement with anchor escapement, silk thread suspension, striking on the hour and half hour on a single bell, with outside count wheel. The magnificent case attributed to Gérard-Jean Galle featuring the figures Psyche crowning Cupid standing either side of a domed marble plinth enclosing the dial with an applied gilt bronze pair of winged putti, one holding a flaming torch and the other a bow, both Cupid’s attributes, the rectangular marble and gilt bronze base with central palmette mount centred by a winged putto with bow and quiver within a wreath, supported on winged claw feet
Paris, date circa 1815-20
Height 86 cm, width 55.5 cm, depth 23.5 cm.
Literature: Hans Ottomeyer and Peter Pröschel, “Vergoldete Bronzen”, 1986, p. 350, pl. 5.7.1, illustrating a similar case of 1814 in the Ministère de la Guerre, Paris, and p. 669, illustrating a similar model of 1819 by Lucien-François Feuchère. Jean-Pierre Samoyault, “Pendules et Bronzes d’Ameublement Entrés Sous le Premier Empire”, 1989, p. 56, pl. 12, illustrating a similar clock case at Château de Fontainebleau. Pierre Kjellberg, “Encyclopédie de la Pendule Française du Moyen Age au XXe Siècle”, 1997, p. 402, illustrating a similar but simpler case without the additional mounts. Elke Niehüser, “Die Französische Bronzeuhr”, 1997, p. 210, pl. 270, illustrating a similar model.
This magnificent case, attributed to Gérard-Jean Galle (1788-1846), eldest son of the esteemed bronzier, Claude Galle (175-1815), is based on a model by the sculptor, Claude Michallon (1751-99), executed circa 1814. A number of other leading Empire bronziers made clock cases based on the same design such as one by Pierre-Philippe Thomire (1751-1843), illustrated in “Decorative bronzes of Pierre-Philippe Thomire”, 1984, p. 59, pl. 114. Other similar models were produced by Lucien-François Feuchère, who in 1816 exhibited a design for a similar model entitled ‘Pendule de Psyché couronnant l’Amour, groupe modelé par feu Michallon’. Feuchère also showed another example at the Exposition de Produits de l’Industrie, 1819. Pierre-Victor Ledure also produced cases of a similar design for instance one housing a movement by Thomas, now in Schloss Ellingen, Germany. Close examples can be found at the Ministère de la Guerre, the Ministère de la Marine and Musée de Marmottan, Paris as well as the Royal Pavilion, Brighton.
Despite the popularity of this model, the present case can confidently be attributed to Gérard-Jean Galle since it compares extremely closely with another previously sold by this gallery, signed on the dial Galle Rue de Vivienne à Paris, (illustrated in “Richard Redding Antiques Ltd, 25th Anniversary”, 2002, p. 159). After the death of his father Claude Galle, Gérard-Jean took over the family business at rue Vivienne and soon proved that he could maintain its excellent reputation. In fact his business was regarded as one of the best in Paris and was frequented by the richest clientele including the duc de Richelieu, the marquis de Martel and viscount de la Rochefoucauld. In 1819 Gérard was awarded a silver medal at the Exposition de 1’Industrie, Paris, for a collection that included over 50 items, predominantly candelabra, lumières and a large number of figural clock cases. Galle also specialized in making clocks with corresponding candelabra, of which at least two are at Stockholm Castle. His company also produced centrepieces, vases and freestanding figures. In 1822 he moved the business to rue de Richelieu where he continued as manager until 1836. Two years later the company was bought by the House of Serrurot, makers of wall clocks, torchères and girandoles.
Gérard Galle supplied cases to some of the best Parisian clockmakers including Bourdier. The present movement was made by the Parisian firm of Gérard, which from 1806 up until 1830 was based at rue du Coq St-Honoré.