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Extraordinary quality french empire mantel clock inspired by madame recamier. dial signed by vaillant, case almost certainly by claude galle, napoleon's favourite bronzier, and now with early 19th century english double fusee movement. without doubt one of the most beautiful and stylish french empire clocks ever made. the lovely female figure in classical dress sits upon the superb day bed with a pier glass behind her. the inspiration for the composition could have come from an elegant salon or from a fine painting. proportion with space and elegance makes this clock one in 10,000 in terms of design. over engineered as the best of galle's clocks were, with heavy castings and the use of bolts rather than threads and nuts. the wax cast applied mounts are 1st quality in terms of their delicacy and crispness, much of the fire gilt ormolu has had a double thickness applied, is entirely original and probably has not been cleaned for many years.
the convex white enamel dial is clear and simple with original blued steel breguet style moon hands. it is signed vaillant, a famous maker, although the french movement has been replaced with a superior english double fusee movement. ( this was commonplace in england in the early 19th century when the clockmakers of the wealthy routinely replaced the inferior french movements with ones of their own manufacture. vulliamy is famous for having replaced the majority of french clock movements in the royal collection with movements bearing his own signature. in fact the only other model of this clock i have ever seen had an english single fusee movement in it by maurice of london). the movement has a count train that allows the large pendulum bob to run in a position just behind the trellised frieze below the day bed giving a steady whoosh of gold back and forth, back and forth. the lovely movement retains its original chains for the two fusees.
the mirror glass behind the seated figure appears to be original and although it has a small crack i have decided to keep it as the only other model that i have ever seen had lost it's glass completely.
this superb clock almost certainly first came to england immediately it was made, in about 1805 to french royalist expatriots or to english aristocracy.
france circa 1805.
21.25 inches by 17.25 inches wide ( 53 cms by 43 cms).
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