Made for Elisabeth Auguste, Electress of Bavaria and the Palatinate (1721-1794).
A rare and important Louis XVI gilt bronze cartel clock of eight day duration, the white enamel dial signed Causard Hgr du Roy, SuivtLacour with Roman and Arabic numerals and a very fine pair of pierced gilt brass hands for the hours and minutes. The movement with silk thread suspension, anchor escapement, striking on the hour and half hour on a single bell, with outside count wheel. The superb case surmounted by a crown held aloft in the hands of two classical naked female torsos, issuing from fluted scrolls encircling the clock drum, each holding in their other hand a berried wreath encircling the bezel and joined below the pendulum aperture where there are two winged putti holding a medallion bearing the monogram E A, for Elisabeth Auguste
Paris, date circa 1775
Height 70 cm, width 33 cm.
The importance of this clock not only rests upon its maker Edmé-Jean Causard (b. circa 1720 d. 1780), who was appointed Marchand Horloger Privilégié du Roi but also that it was made for Elisabeth Auguste, Electress of Bavaria and the Palatinate and as such bears her monogram.
Causard, who worked ouvrier libre before 1750, was elevated to the position of Marchand Horloger Privilégié du Roi in circa 1753 and as here generally signed his clocks Hgr du Roy, Suivt Lacour or La Cour. On his death his role at the royal court was succeeded by his nephew and pupil Jean-Baptiste Royer (d. after 1812), whom he had brought up under his own roof. Edmé-Jean and his brother the clockmaker Georges Causard (d. after 1789) were born in Audeloncourt. By 1770 Edmé-Jean was recorded at rue Saint-Honoré at the Hôtel d'Angleterre. He made a number of Louis XV and XVI clocks of the very finest quality housed in some of the most sumptuous cases of the day, of which 105 were listed in the inventory of his stock made at the time of his death in 1780. His case suppliers included many of the leading bronziers such as Jean-Joseph de Saint-Germain, the Osmonds, René-François Morlay and Nicolas Bonnet as well as the ébénistes Antoine Foullet, Jean-Pierre Latz, François Goyer and Nicolas-Jean Marchand.
Though he tended to specialise in the production of clocks, Causard also created a limited number of watches and used cases for these made by J de La Feuille; in addition his springs were supplied by Richard. In addition to the present example his work was enjoyed by a number of other important figures including the marquises de Langeac and de Massiac, the maréchal de Duras and Monsieur Blondel de Gagny.
The present clock was commissioned for Elisabeth Auguste, daughter of Prince Joseph Karl Emmanuel, and maternal granddaughter of the reigning Elector of the Palatinate. In 1742 Elisabeth Auguste married her cousin Carl Theodor (1724-1799) and as a couple succeeded as rulers of the Palatinate. However the marriage proved far from happy and though she bore a long awaited son twenty years after their marriage he survived only a day. Thereafter she and her husband led separate lives. In 1767 Elisabeth Auguste purchased Schloss von Oggersheim, and thereafter only spent winters with her husband in Mannheim. In 1777 she and her husband were appointed rulers of Bavaria, but the Electress only visited Munich once and cultivated a role as 'mother' of the Palatinate. She led a lavish lifestyle at Oggersheim; it had a personal household of 82 and 2,000 members of staff and was filled with many fine works of art. However the outbreak of the French Revolution put an end to her time at Oggersheim; in the face of advancing French troops toward the end of 1793 she fled her home which was subsequently sacked and burned by the French in 1794, shortly before her death later that year in Weinheim.