Versailles Acquires a Louis XVI Clock and Sèvres Vases

Louis XVI Clock
Clockmaker : Charles Leroy (1709-1771)
or Etienne-Augustin Leroy (1737-after 1792)
Gilded Bronze, Marble - 45.9 x 32.4 cm
Versailles, Musée et domaine national du Château
Photo : Château de Versailles

15/5/13 - Acquisitions - Versailles, Château - The château de Versailles pre-empted a Louis XVI clock decorated with an Offering to Cupid depicted by bronze figures, at an auction in Metz on 24 March 2013. It was probably produced by Charles Leroy or his son Etienne-Augustin who became clockmaker to the king and signed with his father’s name. Its low sale price, 4000€, is due no doubt to the fact that it had an undentified provenance. However, as pointed out by Bertrand Rondot, it corresponds to a description found in the 1787 inventory : "A mantelpiece clock in gilt bronze, as for the ornementation, the body and the base in white marble, the subject of the piece is a prayer to Cupid, represented by a woman whose attitude shows the plea she makes to Cupid, atop the clock, h. 17 inches by 12 inches wide, by Charles Leroy. -Petite bibliothèque."
The Metz clock is decorated with a subject corresponding to the desciption in the inventory, the measurements also appear to be the same ( 45.9 cm x 32.4 cm) and it shows the name Leroy on the dial. The latter however, seems to have been redone in the 19th century and the mechanism will have to be examined to see if there is the clockmaker’s mark. This work will therefore join the collections at the château of Versailles, in the library above the Cabinet du Conseil.
There are other clocks similar to this one, as the theme and composition were popular at the time ; one of them, in fact placed on deposit by the Mobilier national at the château of Versailles, represents Cupid crowned with a female figure. The subject was produced in other materials, for example the Sèvres factory made a surtout.
As for the other Leroy clocks, the Getty owns a beautiful one with the figures of Astronomy and Geography.

Three Vases with Green Background
Sevres Factory, 1772
Soft-paste porcelain - 39.5 x 21.6 cm for side vases
and 44.5 x 27.9 cm for central vase
Versailles, Musée et domaine national du château
Photo : Château de Versailles
RMNGP/Christophe Fouin

Charles Nicolas Dodin (1734-1803)
after François Boucher
The Charms of Country Life.
Photo : Château de Versailles
RMNGP/Christophe Fouin

The museum also acquired three Sèvres vases with green background, from a private collector. The pastoral and amorous scenes were executed by Charles-Nicolas Dodin, a famous painter of figures for the Sèvres factory and whose talent was highlighted in an exhibition at Versailles in 2012. Here he was influenced by engravings after François Boucher. Two of the vases "with laurel leaves" illustrate, The Lovers Surprised after an engraving by Demarteau and The Charms of Spring after an engraving by Daullé which is a replica of one of the four paintings residing today in the Frick Collection, while the central vase "with baguettes" praises The Charms of Country Life based on a painting by the master in 1737. The ensemble, acquired by Madame Victoire in 1772 for her apartments on the ground floor of the château in Versailles, will return to its original setting. Initially, it was made up of five pieces but the two missing "flacon" vases are held at the Metropolitan Museum in New York which has accepted to leave them on deposit in Versailles.

Version française

Bénédicte Bonnet Saint-Georges, mercredi 22 mai 2013

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