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
Log in to view results
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 Fran├žois, 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


Dial has minor hair cracks between VII & VIII and X & XI, chips around both winding holes, minor star crack to the centre, good original hands. Movement is much in need of a clean but retains the original wheel work throughout. The case in very good condition and retaining original gilding to the mounts, the enamel barometer dial has some hair cracks around the edges, glass tube probably replaced and does not have mercury. With pendulum, brass-cased weight and case key but no winder.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. All dimensions in catalogue descriptions are approximate. Condition reports may not specify mechanical replacements or imperfections to the movement, case, dial, pendulum, separate base(s) or dome. Watches in water-resistant cases have been opened to examine movements but no warranties are made that the watches are currently water-resistant. Please note that we do not guarantee the authenticity of any individual component parts, such as wheels, hands, crowns, crystals, screws, bracelets and leather bands, since subsequent repairs and restoration work may have resulted in the replacement of original parts. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue. In particular, please note it is the purchaser's responsibility to comply with any applicable import and export matters, particularly in relation to lots incorporating materials from endangered species.NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."

**Please be advised that bands made of materials derived from endangered or otherwise protected species (i.e. alligator and crocodile) are not sold with the watches and are for display purposes only. We reserve the right to remove these bands prior to shipping.

Important Notice regarding importation into the United States of Rolex watches
Sotheby's cannot arrange for the delivery of Rolex watches to the United States because U.S. laws restricts the import of Rolex watches. The buyer or a designated agent may collect the property in the country of sale."

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.