An Exceptional and Highly Important Louis XV Style Astronomical Regulator Clock after the model by Passement and Caffieri for Louis XV
An Exceptional and Highly Important Louis XV Style Astronomical Regulator Clock after the model by Passement and Caffieri for Louis XV
An Exceptional and Highly Important Louis XV Style Astronomical Regulator Clock after the model by Passement and Caffieri for Louis XV

FRANÇOIS LINKE (1855-1946)

An Exceptional and Highly Important Louis XV Style Astronomical Regulator Clock after the model by Passement and Caffieri for Louis XV

c. 1900 France

Offered by Adrian Alan

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Linke Index No. 1459.

This extraordinary gilt bronze regulator has an armillary sphere adorned with stars, banded by an equatorial ring, decorated with the signs of the zodiac, the months of the year and foliate garlands to the upper section. The gilt bronze case is richly ornamented with scrolling acanthus, foliate forms and cartouches representing the four seasons. The clock stands on four scrolling cabriole legs, mounted with fronded acanthus and terminating in palmette feet.

Linke first became interested in producing a model based on Louis XV's famous Astronomical Regulator, when a version was made for Lord Hertford at the end of the nineteenth century. Christopher Payne notes that Linke made two examples, the first undated except for a note that the widow Leloutre did some work on 'La Boule' in May 1900 and a second made between 1910 and 1912; both clocks were chased by Goujon and gilded by Picard, (Christopher Payne, p. 210).

In 1905 Linke bought a master pattern for the Regulator from the bronze clock and watch maker Dostal, who was established at Avenue Daumesnil, Paris, and who had himself purchased the pattern from the second sale of Millet's inventory in May of that year. Interestingly Christopher Payne notes that the original catalogue description in the Millet sale included an intriguing annotation: 'Mod. Prov de Caffieri', a contemporary belief was that this was the master pattern from the eighteenth century.

This regulator is based upon the famous astronomical clock by Jacques and Philippe Caffieri, made for the Châteaux de Choisy for Louis XV in 1753, and moved in 1754 to the Salon de Pendule at Versailles. The movement, the result of twelve years collaboration between the engineer Passement and the clock maker Dauthiau, was of such complexity that the regulator not only indicated mean and solar time, information about the sun and moon, orbital position of the planets, but was programmed to function until 9999, and to include adjustments for leap years.

The case of the Versailles Clock is a superb example of the mature rococo style, which was prevalent in the 1750's, and displays the exceptional quality of Caffieri's bronze work. Jacques Caffieri (1678-1755), was the fifth son of Philippe Caffieri (1634-1716), who emigrated from Naples at the request of Cardinal Mazarin to decorate the interiors at Versailles. He was elected to the Académie de Sainte-Luc as a sculptor, and thus created many of the original designs that were proprietary models of his foundry. From 1736, when he was appointed Fondeur-Ciseleur des Bâtiments du Roi, Caffieri remained in the employ of the French Crown. It is certain that father and son worked together on the bronze case of this regulator for Louis XV. The style owes much to the elder Caffieri's imaginative handling of the rocaille, combining boldly articulated forms with an uncompromising quality of finish.

Excluded from the revolutionary sales, the regulator remained at Versailles until it was moved to Paris in 1797. Three years later in April 1800 Passement's masterpiece was entrusted to Antide Janvier who was to undertake repairs of the movement. Unfortunately Janvier, former clockmaker to the King went bankrupt and pawned the bronzes in 1809. Eventually the clock was repaired at the end of the Restauration Period and taken back to the Hotel des Menus-Plaisirs in rue Bergere, Paris. Louis Philippe returned it to its rightful place in the Salon de Pendule at Versailles in 1833, where it remains to this day.
Payne, Christopher (2003), 'François Linke, 1855 - 1946, The Belle Époque of French Furniture', Antique Collectors' Club, Woodbridge, p.207 no. 225, p.210, p.365 no. 405.

Ottomeyer, Hans, Pröschel, Peter (1986), 'Vergoldete Bronzen', Klinkhardt & Biermann Munich; Vol. I, p. 133.

Tardy (1987), 'La Pendule Francaise', Paris; p. 198.
Dimensions
Height 228.00 cm (89.76 inches)
Width 72.00 cm (28.35 inches)
Depth 46.00 cm (18.11 inches)
Stock Code
B68112
Medium
Gilt-Bronze
Signed/Inscribed
The bronze stamped 'Vve Leloutre' and 'GF'
Adrian Alan

Adrian Alan
66/67 South Audley Street
London
W1K 2QX
England

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