1820 Continental

Offered by Charles Plante Fine Arts


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To be executed in gilt bronze; silvered metal dial

The Muse, with an infant on her lap embracing her, is seated on a plinth, flanked by a harp and a vase of flowers. The frieze has medallions of female and male heads in profile, flanking a central scene of a female rocking a cradle 18½in. high

Nine Muses, goddesses of creative inspiration in the performing arts, including poetry, music and dance, attended the god Apollo. In time, each Muse assumed a distinct sphere of influence. Terpsichore, the Muse of dancing and song, had a harp and flowers among her attributes.

The subject of this clock seems to celebrate the royal birth of the duc de Bordeaux in 1820 (see Introduction, p. XXX, above). The infant was born posthumously on September 29th, finally providing childless Louis XVIII with a male heir in the next generation after his two nephews, who until then had had no male children. Without the direct Bourbon succession secured in this way, the crown would otherwise eventually pass away from the princes de sang to Louis duc d'Orleans, the son of the regicide Louis Egalite, the distant royal cousin who had supported not only the Revolution and but also the execution of Louis XVI in 1793.

A clock of this model, 19in. high and signed Lepine - Paris, in the Spanish royal collection, is illustrated in Carvajal, 126, #107, where the subject is mistakenly identified as Napoleon's Empress Marie Louise and her child, the King of Rome. An identical and similarly placed vase of flowers occurs on a realized clock figuring Cupid Unveiling Psyche's Eyes is illustrated in Nieheser, p. 119, fig. 190, the dial signed Canaillon - Paris. Examples of another, realized, clock model celebrating the duc de Bordeaux's birth are illustrated in Ottomeyer & Preschel, I, 5.15.8; Zoilo Ruiz-Mateos, p. 46; and Nieheser, p. 165, fig. 265-67. In that model, ascribed to the famed bronzier Jean-Andre Reiche, the same profile relief portrait bust of a woman with chignon (a knot of hair) occurs on the frieze as in the present design, adding weight to the identification of its theme as the celebration of the birth of the duc de Bordeaux and the identity of the portrait medallions as the duc and duchesse de Berri.
Height 67.40 cm (26.54 inches)
Width 50.80 cm (20.00 inches)
Watercolour and gouache over lithographic line, on laid paper
Inscribed: Imprie Lithographique de C Motte rue des Marais No.13
Charles Plante Fine Arts

Charles Plante Fine Arts
50 Gloucester Street

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