PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION (LOT 95)
The chapter ring flanked by ormolu feathered wings and enameled with hours, minutes, day of the week and Republican date ring, in polychrome on a white ground surmounted by a phase of the moon arch enameled in dark blue with gilt stars, perched by an ormolu displayed eagle, the curved supports also enameled in dark blue with gilt stars centering a circular medallion with an enameled portrait of Cupid and joined by a stretcher with an oval panel enameled en grisaille with a warrior; the supports fitted on the backs of addorsed griffons each seated on a marble plinth fitted on three sides with enameled plaques incorporating portrait medallions, birds and floral swags; raised on a rectangular white marble breakfront base on flattened ormolu feet. Together with an associated giltwood base and a protective glass case.
Joseph Coteau was one of the pre-eminent enamellers of the day. After the abolition of the guilds in 1791, enamellers were allowed to sell complete clocks without being required to include the name of the clockmaker. At the same time, a decimal system of measuring time was introduced. The system divided the day into ten hours and the hours into 100 minutes; the year also was divided into ten months, each of which was divided into three decades, thereby giving each month exactly 30 days, as reflected on the date ring of the present example. The system, which became compulsory in 1794, was very short-lived and lapsed with the rise of Napoleon and the establishment of the Empire. Thus, clocks which incorporate this feature are extremely rare.
A very similar clock enamelled by Coteau, which incorporates a subsidiary dial with Republican hours and minutes in the place of the medallion painted on the present clock, is illustrated, J.-D. Augarde, Les Ouvriers du Temps, Geneva, 1996, p. 103, pl. 66. Another example, attributed to Coteau was sold, Sotheby's, London, December 8,1995. Each of these clocks has an identical phase of the moon arch and each is decorated with similar motifs; each incorporates oval medallions enamelled en grisaille and all are of virtually identical dimensions.
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