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Details & Cataloguing

Masterworks of Time: George Daniels, Visionary

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London

Charles François Bouvier, Paris
A GOLD AND ENAMEL SINGLE CASED VERGE WATCH WITH EARLIER ENAMEL PANELS DEPICTING SCENES OF THE LIFE OF ANTHONY AND CLEOPATRA IN THE BLOIS STYLE CIRCA 1780
Movement: gilded full plate, verge escapement, decoratively pierced balance bridge engraved with geometric foliate scrolls, silver regulation plate, square baluster pillars, fusee and chain, signed Chs. Frs. Bouvier, Paris
Dial: white enamel chapter ring with raised roundels carrying Roman numerals, outer Arabic 5-minute indications, the dial centre with earlier Blois style enamel panel depicting Cleopatra and the Asp, decoratively pierced gilded hands
Case: the outside back with earlier Blois style polychrome enamel painted scene depicting the Meeting of Anthony and Cleopatra, the inside back similarly decorated with Anthony's Suicide, gold bezels with engraved wave-form decoration, stirrup pendant and bow
diameter 52.5mm
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Provenance

Chester Beatty Collection
Sotheby & Co. London, The Property of Sir. A. Chester Beatty, Part I, 3 December 1962, lot 37

Literature

Antiquarian Horology, November 1962, Vol. 104, No. 1250, p.706
P.W. Cumhaill, Investing in Clocks and Watches, Corgi, 1971, p.92

Catalogue Note

Enamel watches of the 17th century with cases painted to all surfaces, including the band, were highly susceptible to damage from the slightest blow. However, appreciation for the beauty and quailty of enamel painted scenes meant that it was not unusual for older enamel panels to be removed from damaged watch cases, the broken parts cut away and the remaining panels set into a later case that was then fitted with a new movement.

Interestingly, however, it was conjectured at the time of this watch's sale at the Sotheby's auction of 1962 that the panels may in fact have been contemporary to the watch's case and movement and simply made to appear as if they had been removed from an earlier watch. It was pointed out that an enameller by the name of Guillaume Bouvier was working contemporaneously with Charles François Bouvier and there was a suggestion that the pair may have been relatives and therefore perhaps worked on the watch together. Further comment on the watch was made in an article for Antiquarian Horology (vol.104, no.11, p.706) in November 1962 where it was noted: "although the composition is in the early manner, the colours are much brighter, brighter even than the Huauds. Also the dial centre is separate from the chapter ring, with its numerals painted on raised bosses. Perhaps the Bouvier of Paris was related to the...enameller of the same name and this watch was their joint production. Whatever the explanation, it is a fine watch in splendid condition."  

Masterworks of Time: George Daniels, Visionary

|
London