Lot 20
  • 20

A Louis XVI ormolu cercles tournants table clock, Gabriel Courieult, Paris, circa 1780

100,000 - 150,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • gilt and enamelled bronze
  • 58cm. 23in. high
the re-painted sphere amidst billowing clouds and applied with silvered stars, the gilt hours and minutes rings inset with enamel numerals, flanked by the figure of Chronos with Cupid seated below indicating the time with an arrow and symbolising the triumph of love over time, two further winged putti relieving Chronos of his sand glass and scythe, the stepped breakfront base signed Courieult A Paris and containing a similarly signed bell striking movement with numbered outside count wheel, anchor escapement with silk suspension,   


Private Collection, Paris

Catalogue Note

Gabriel Courieult became Maitre in 1767 and was working at Rue de Grenelle between 1769 and 1783.

There is a very similar clock in the Wallace Collection, London, Fig 1, described in great detail by Peter Hughes The Wallace Collection Catalogue of Furniture, Vol.1, 1996, Pages 491-498.  Hughes attributes the case of that clock to Etienne Martincourt working to a design by the sculptor Augustin Pajou as a larger version with a musical base, made circa 1780, is similarly attributed in a sale in 1824.

Augustin Pajou (1730-1809) was an exceptional student sculptor maintained by Louis XV at the Ecole Royale des Elèves Protégés. In 1752 he travelled to Rome arriving back in Paris four years later.  He accepted the Académie Royale in 1759. Obtaining both Royal and private commissions he is particulalry known for his portrait sculpture. During the revolution he was appointed to a commission charged with preserving monuments. 

It would appear that, to date, only four examples of this attractive model have been identified and that the present clock is previously unrecorded. It differs slightly from the other known examples in having a plain gilt plinth rather than one inset with a plaque and further marble base. However, it is the only example to be signed on both the case and movement and one of only two to have an ormolu rather than patinated figure of Chronos.