An early Louis XVI Mantel Clock with Urania seated upon a decorated plinth with books, celestial globe and scientific instruments of astronomy
Date: Paris around 1770
Louis XVI period
Horloger, signed on dial: VERNEAUX à Paris (François Vernaux, Maître 1747 and François-Henry Vernaux, Maître 1757)
Original clockwork with spring driven eight-day-movement, thread suspension, countwheel strike to bell on half and full hour
Material: Ormolu and patinated bronze
Measurement: 40 cm (high), 44 cm (wide), 22 cm (deep)
The clock is closely related to a circa 1760 sketch by ébéniste Pierre-Antoine Foullet in his „Livre de desseins“ now in the Bibliothèque Doucet, Paris. Describing the model as a Piece de Bureau costing 341 livres, this sketch is one of the earliest documented neo-classical designs. (Lit. Ottomeyer)
The movement was made by eminent Horlogers François Verneaux (maître 1747) and his son François-Henry Vernaux (maître 1757), who worked in Paris for French high aristocracy like the ‚Duchesse du Mazarin‘ and others.
H. Ottomeyer & P. Pröschel, Vergoldete Bronzen, Vol. I, Munich, 1986, p. 162, figs. 3.3.6 and 3.3.7; Catalogue, no. 90; p. 10 )
J.-D. Augarde, Les Ouvriers du Temps, Geneva, 1996, p. 305, fig. 230 (clock Saint-Germain); p. 405 (Horlogers VERNEAUX)
E. Niehüser, French Bronze Clocks, 1700-1830, Atglen, 1999, p. 82, fig. 124-126, p. 216,
Tardy, French Clocks-The World Over, Vol. II, Paris, 1981, p. 25
Tardy, Dictionaire des Horlogers Français, Paris 1971-72, p.639
A very similar model signed by ciseleur-doreur Jean-Joseph de Saint-Germain and dated 1769. (Lit. Augarde)
Other related examples of the Urania are in major collections as the Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon and the Bouvier Collection at the Musée Carnavalet, Paris (further see literature Ottomeyer).