PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE NORTH AMERICAN COLLECTOR
By repute, formerly in the collection of the Floersheim family, Chicago
Private North American collection, acquired privately early 2000s
Tardy, Dictionnaire des horlogers français, Paris, 1971-1972, pp. 182-183.
At over six feet tall the present clock is impressive in scale and rare in Detouche’s oeuvre. While other large clocks were produced by the firm, few of this scale are so overtly decorative and usually incorporate greater mechanical complication. For example, a gilt bronze astronomical regulator clock of 185 cm height, dating from circa 1855-60 and with a very similar pendulum to the present example, that sold ArtCurial, Paris, 11th December 2007 ($218,625 including premium), and a tall mahogany-cased electric regulator clock of the same date from the Paul Garnier collection that sold Christie’s London, September 15th 2004 ($86,909 including premium). Another comparable large case clock, dating from 1863, one of several donated by Detouche to the Conservatoire Impérial des Arts et Métiers de Paris (Musée des Arts et Métiers inv. 07179-0000), appears to be currently disassembled.
The present clock corresponds very closely to a description given by a critic commenting on the Detouche exhibit at the Nimes exhibition of 1862, who remarked:
“M. Detouche has already received the most prestigious awards; I will just mention: the gold medal at the Exposition Universelle d'Horlogerie at Besançon in 1860, and the gold medal in London in 1862. He was awarded La Croix de la Légion d'Honneur for his contribution toward the progress in horology that resulted from his work, the Croix de Dannebrog was awarded to him by the King of Denmark for his electric clock. Such items deserve to be described in a few details. They present improvements worthy to be known and appreciated by every clockmaker who has benefited from M. Detouche's work and true service… The jury noted secondly a rocaille style regulator in gilt bronze of a remarkable taste, measuring 1m, 90… All of the items shown by this company are to be noted for their modest prices, their elegance, their rich ornamentation and precision, and their skilled workmanship. The jury awards to M. Detouche a diplôme d'honneur." [translated from the French, op. cit.]
Among Detouche’s most celebrated works is one of two spectacular astronomical regulators with fourteen subsidiary dials showing indications of the days, months and dates, sunrise and sunset time, the equation of time, moonrise and moonset, lunar phases, barometer and thermometer, and the time in several cities, which once stood at the corner of the rue Saint-Martin and the rue de Rivoli but is now housed in the showroom of François-Paul Journe SA Manufacture in Geneva.
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