A magnificent Louis XV gilt bronze cartel clock with bracket of 14 day duration by Louis Jouard and superb case attributed to Jean-Joseph de Saint-Germain, signed on the white enamel dial Jouard à Paris. The dial with outer Arabic and inner Roman numerals and a very fine pair of pierced gilt brass hands for the hours and minutes. The movement with five tapered pillars, anchor escapement, spring suspension, striking on the hour and half hour on a single bell with outside count wheel. The waisted Rococo gilt bronze case and bracket both stamped with a C-couronné poinçon and elaborately ornamented with scrolling acanthus and floral sprays, surmounted by a reclining putto and applied with two flying dragons below the dial placed diagonally either side of the asymmetrical glazed pendulum aperture above a tapering foliate bracket
Paris, date circa 1745-49
Height of the clock 51 cm. Height of the bracket 24 cm.
Literature: Pierre Kjellberg, “Encyclopédie de la Pendule Française du Moyen Age au XXe Siècle”, 1997, p. 91, pl. F, illustrating a very similar clock with bracket signed on the dial Etne Baillon à Paris, the case likewise stamped with a C-couronné poinçon, with additional surmounting foliage, below which the case is of almost identical design except that it has only one dragon which is in a slightly different position. And p. 119, pl. C, illustrating a clock lacking the lower bracket which is identical to the present model and significantly is signed Saint-Germain; the dial being signed D. Robert l’Aîné à La Chaux-de-Fonds.
The movement was made by one of the leading Parisian makers Louis Jouard (d. before 1773) who was responsible for a number 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. It is probable that Jouard 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 and where Jouard was also listed in September 1724 when he was received as a maître. When Jean-Baptiste Cogniet died Jouard then 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 had moved to the cloister Saint-Germain de-l’Auxerrois. Jouard is known to have 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 the supreme bronzier 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.
The fact that Jouard is known to have been supplied by the eminent bronzier Jean-Joseph de Saint-Germain (1719-91), as well as the close comparison with another case by him (as cited above) and the presence of a C-couronné poinçon (proof of a tax payment imposed between March 1745 and February 1749) - which also appear on other of Saint-Germain’s bronzes -leaves little doubt that this case and bracket were also the creation of this great master. Though he worked ouvrier libre from 1742, Saint-Germain 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. Jean-Joseph de St. Germain created a number of clock cases of similar inventiveness and quality for which he gained great renown. He was also one of the main exponents of the Rococo style that dominated the arts during the reign of Louis XV. Typical elements include the asymmetrical form, the abundance of foliate scrolls and finely detailed floral sprays combined with exotic animals such as dragons.