Lot 27
  • 27

A Louis XVI ormolu mounted ebony veneered month-going equation longcase clock, Ferdinand Berthoud, Paris, circa 1770, the case attributed to Balthazar Lieutaud

400,000 - 600,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Ebony, brass, steel, enamel
  • 7ft 11in high
the enamel dial signed Ferdinand Berthoud, with ormolu serpent bezel, annual calendar aperture, centre seconds and equation hand, the five pillar movement signed on the backplate Ferdinand Berthoud A Paris, the five wheel timekeeping train with indirect weight drive, deadbeat escapement, maintaining power, fine beat adjustment on the crutch, and massive nine-bar grid iron brass and steel pendulum with temperature arc, suspended from a knife-edge secured to the backboard, the striking train with 2x12 countwheel and going barrel geared to the year calendar disc and equation kidney located beneath the dial, the case surmounted by an urn with ring handles and laurel swags beneath a ball, decorated at the front with a torch between feathered wings, the glazed trunk door richly mounted with tapering interlaced borders, cast and chased with stiff leaf, beading and berried laurel, the upper section of the door with a laurel wreath framing the oval barometer dial, the lower border cast with tongues framing pierced sprays of seed pods and foliage, the panelled plinth centred with a five-point star and the convex base-edge applied with beaded laurel


Descended to the Earl of Stair via the marriage in 1846 of 10th Earl of Stair (1819-1903) to Louisa Jane Henrietta Emily de Franquetot, eldest daughter of August-Louis-Joseph-Casimir-Gustave, duc de Coigny (1788-1865).  The Duke was himself the grandson of François, duc de Coigny (1737-1821), Marshal of France, confidant of Louis XV and Louis XVI and intimate friend of Queen Marie-Antoinette.

Sold Christies 6th April, 1978

Mr & Mrs Jack Bailey

Catalogue Note

Ferdinand Berthoud (1727-1807) was born in Plancemont, Switzerland and, at the age of fourteen, was apprenticed to his brother, Jean-Henri a clockmaker, for three years.  During this time both brothers moved to Paris and it is believed that Ferdinand spent some time working for the famous clockmaker, Julien Le Roy. A brilliant horologist, he specialised in regulators and chronometers. His reputation spread far and wide and he was appointed a member of the Royal Society in 1766. Berthoud used the best cabinet makers and bronziers for his clocks and, amongst others, is known to have worked with both Balthazar Lieutaud and Philippe Caffieri.

Balthazar Lieutaud became Master in 1749 and is particularly known for his clock cases, although he also made other items of furniture such as commodes and secretaires. Lieutaud worked with many of the great Parisian clockmakers such as Robin, Lepaute and particularly Berthoud. He is recorded as working in Rue de la Pelleterie and, after 1772, in Rue d'Enfer. He died in 1780.

A very similar clock with virtually identical dial and movement is in the Wallace Collection, London, Fig 1, and is described in great detail and compared with this clock in P.Hughes, The Wallace Collection, Catalogue of Furniture, London 1996, Vol. I, P.444-451. Further similar regulators by Berthoud and Lieutaud are in the Frick Collection, New York; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and Chateau de Versaille, Paris.