Cedric Jagger, "Royal Clocks", 1983, p. 130, pl. 176, illustrating an almost identical Sèvres beau bleu lyre clock with movement by Dieudonné Kinable and dial by Dubuisson, which was delivered by the Parisian marchand Lafontaine on approval to George IV at Carlton House on 12th October 1828 and subsequently purchased by the king; and p. 131, pl. 178, illustrating another almost identical clock with movement by Jean-Antoine Garrigues, both in the British Royal Collection. Pierre Verlet, "Les Bronzes Dorés Français du XVIIIe Siècle", 1987, p. 41, illustrating another Sèvres beau bleu lyre clock with Coteau dial of 1787, originally at Versailles and now in the Musée du Louvre. Tardy, "Les Plus Belles Pendules Françaises", 1994, p. 81, illustrating an almost identical Sèvres lyre clock with movement by Kinable in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Jean-Dominique Augarde, "Les Ouvriers du Temps", 1996, p. 258, pl. 203, illustrating another Sèvres beau bleu lyre clock with movement by Garrigues and dial attributed to Coteau probably made for the duc d'Orléans (later Philippe-Egalité), with reference to an identical clock with movement by Courieult owned by Louis XVI. Pierre Kjellberg, "Encyclopédie de la Pendule Française du Moyen Age au XXe Siècle", 1997, p. 230, pl. A, illustrating an identical bleu turquoise Sèvres porcelain lyre clock with movement by Kinable and pl. B, illustrating another identical Sèvres lyre clock with movement by Garrigues and a Coteau dial, in the Musée de Sèvres. Elke Niehüser, "Die Französische Bronzeuhr", 1997, p. 261, pls. 1256-1259, illustrating variations of the present model.
An important Louis XVI gilt bronze mounted Sèvres beau bleu porcelain lyre clock of eight day duration, the beautifully painted polychrome enamel dial signed Kinable and also signed lower left Dubuisson, with Arabic numerals for the inner calendar ring numbered 1-31 and for the hours and minutes and outer calendar ring with names and numbers of the days in the month, surrounded by wonderful miniature vignettes representing the signs of the zodiac set within ovals with delicately jewelled designs between, with a very fine pair of pierced gilt brass hands for the hours and minutes and a pair of blued steel pointers for the calendar indications. The movement with knife edge suspension, pin wheel escapement, striking on the hour and half hour, with outside count wheel. The beautiful lyre-shaped case with beaded gilt bronze borders and applied gilded laurel wreath, surmounted by a fine gilt bronze Apollo mask within a sunburst above a pair of rosettes from which suspend fruiting swags, with a mock fixed nine rod grid-iron pendulum with a beaded ring surrounding the free swinging dial movement, on an stepped elliptical pedestal hung with floral garlands and mounted with rope-twist and stiff-leaf borders on bun feet
Paris, date circa 1785-90
Height 61 cm.
The Sèvres Royal Porcelain Factory began producing lyre clocks from about 1785 although the case shape dates much earlier when in 1724 Jacques Thuret supplied a clock with a carved gilt wood lyre-shaped case to the Académie Française. However, it was not until the later part of the century that such clocks became really fashionable, as one of a number of decorative cases inspired by antiquity. While Sèvres produced them in a variety of colours, from turquoise blue, green and pink, those in beau bleu (formerly known as bleu nouveau) proved the most popular.
The Parisian clockmaker Dieudonné Kinable (d. after 1815) was one of the more important makers to be associated with such clocks and was in fact the largest buyer of Sèvres lyre clock cases, to the extent that between 1795 and 1797 he purchased 13 such models. Based at Palais Royal no 131, Kinable also specialised in skeleton clocks, many of which were also housed in elaborate enamelled cases and boasted dials supplied by the two leading enamellists namely Joseph Coteau (1740-1801) but more especailly Etienne Gobin, known as Dubuisson (b. 1731 d. after 1815). Born in Lunéville, Dubuisson worked as a porcelain painter in his hometown, in Strasbourg and at Chantilly. Like Coteau, he was employed at Sèvres, where from 1756-9 he worked as a flower painter specializing in enamelling watchcases and clock dials. During the 1790's he was recorded in the rue de la Huchette and later circa 1812 at rue de la Calandre. His name is associated with the finest clockmakers of his day who in addition to Kinable included Jean-Simon Bourdier andRobert Robin.
In addition to the Kinable lyre clocks cited above was one from the Hodgkins Collection, now in the Walters Art Gallery Baltimore. Another from the Good Collection was sold at Christie's, London 17th July 1895 while that owned by Lord Tweedmouth (d. 1894) was sold at Christie's, London 25th May 1932.