Cartel Clock

signed: Nicolet Au Louvre

Paris, circa 1770


Height: 79 cm (31 inch)
Width: 41 cm (16.1 inch)
Depth: 12 cm (4.7 inch) Ref No: 1442

A fine French Louis XVI ormolu cartel clock. The circular white enamel Roman and Arabic dial signed Nicolet Au Louvre (took over the workshop from C.S. Passement in 1774), with finely pierced and engraved gilt hands, the waisted case modelled with central lion mask below the dial and draped with a lion’s pelt, the dial flanked by tapering pilasters with rams’ masks below a twin handled and swagged flambeau urn finial. Movement with 15 days duration with countwheel strike on a bronze bell for the hours and half hours.

The design of this cartel clock is by the celebrated French architect and ornemeniste Jean-Charles Delafosse. Delafosse’s drawing, demonstrating different options for the left hand and right hand sides of the case, is conserved in the Rothschild collection at Waddesdon Manor.

Delafosse’s ornamental designs ‚à la grecque’ for trophies, cartouches, clocks, decorative objects and architectural details were first published as part of his Nouvelle Iconologie Historique in 1768 and reedited in expanded versions in the 1770s and were extremely influential in disseminating the neo-classical style throughout Europe.