Clare Vincent, "Northern European Clocks in New York Collections", catalogue for an exhibition held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 4th January-28th March 1972, p. 24, no. 73, featuring an almost identical pendulette de voyage or small travelling clock by I. Têteblanche, numbered 325. Winthrop Kellogg Edey, "French Clocks in North American Collections", Frick Collection exhibition catalogue, November 1982-January 1983, p. 59, cat no. 58, listing an almost identical small travelling clock, described as a 'pendule miniature' numbered 206, by I Têteblanche, and also cat no. 59, listing another almost identical clock by the same maker, numbered 325, both of which were lent to the Frick Collection exhibition from private collections. Jean-Dominique Augarde, "Les Ouvriers du Temps", 1996, p. 95, pls. 57 and 58 illustrating an almost identical travelling clock by I. Têteblanche, numbered 206.
A very rare and important Louis XV gilt bronze and silvered quarter striking and repeating miniature travelling clock of short duration by I. Têteblanche, signed on the two inch white enamel dial I:Teteblanche à Paris and also signed and numbered on the backplate A Paris/I. Teteblanche/No. 389. The dial with inner Roman chapter ring for the hours and outer Arabic chapter ring for the minutes with a very fine pair of pierced gilt brass hands. The fusee and chain movement, numbered 389, with balance wheel verge escapement and an exquisite foliate pierced balance bridgecock planted on the backplate below the regulation dial marked Retarde and Avance, striking on the hour on a single bell and quarter striking on two bells with repeat. The beautiful waisted Rococo style case surmounted by a foliate and cockleshell cartouche beneath the carrying handle and further decorated overall with crisply chased shell and foliate decoration on splayed scrolling feet, the sides pierced with glazed rectangular arched occuli, complete with its original engraved winding key and housed in its original velvet-lined fitted leather travelling case, stamped on the front with a French royal coat of arms centred by what appears to be a lion and also bearing on the inside of the travelling case a small French royal crown surmounted by a sceptre and cross
Paris, date circa 1750
Height 17 cm, width 8.5 cm, depth 6 cm.
This petite travelling clock is not only exceptionally rare and important in the history of French clock making but is a beautiful work of art of the very highest quality. Furthermore, it is one of the earliest known travelling clocks to have repeat quarter striking and also one of the very few pendules de voyage that still comes in its original travelling case. Because of that, the clock has been perfectly preserved since its creation over two hundred and fifty years ago. The leather travelling case is stamped with a French royal insignia or coat of arms centred by what appears to be a lion that would have originally have been gilded. In addition there is a small crown attached to the interior of the travelling case. From these, one can assume that the clock itself was most probably made for a member of the French royal family. Because of the clock's delicacy and small size one can assume that it was made for a lady so perhaps its original owner was one of Louis XV's eight daughters, referred to as Les Mesdames, who like their father were great connoisseurs of art and of clockmaking.
Dating from circa 1750, this clock belongs to one of the earliest types of travelling clocks which in itself adds to its importance. No expense has been spared in its creation, so that in addition to its striking mechanisms, it boasts the most finely chased gilt bronze and silvered case, complete with a matching engraved key. Likewise the back of the clock is very beautifully decorated to include the finely pierced bridge plate. As J-D. Augarde notes, when discussing another almost identical clock by I. Têteblanche in "Les Ouvriers du Temps", the name of the case maker for this particular model is not known. It would however have been made by a craftsman of infinite skill. Interestingly little is also known of the clockmaker I. Têteblanche, though he like the case maker would have been a craftsman possessing the very finest skills.
Only two other clocks by Têteblanche and of this model are known, both of which have been exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum, New York and one also at the Frick Collection, New York. In itself, this is testament to the importance of such exquisite small clocks. The model no. 206 was once in the Frederick P. Victoria collection, the well reputed New York art and antiques gallery that was founded in 1933 and is still being run by Frederick Victoria's son and grandson. The other known comparison model, no. 325, was until recently, in the renowned Abbott-Guggenheim Collection, formed by the connoisseurs and collectors Dr. Peter Daniel Israel Guggenheim (1927-2012) and Dr. John Abbott (b. 1925), whose collection boasted highly important Renaissance and Baroque sculptures, clocks and works of art. Of Jewish birth Dr. Peter Guggenheim was born on May 1st 1927 in Konstanz, Germany, the son of Lene and Richard A. Guggenheim, M.D. Following his family's emigration to America in 1938 he was raised in Islip, New York, where his father practiced pediatric medicine. He attended Cornell University, earning a BA in 1949 and a medical degree in 1955, and served in the US. Navy as a Lieutenant in 1955-56. As a psychiatrist, Dr. Guggenheim was in private practice, and was medical director of the New York City Family Court Mental Health Clinic, and at Valley Behavioral Medicine in Warwick, NY. At New York University, he co-founded the Forensic Fellowship Program, and was an associated professor of Psychiatry. He lived in New York with his partner, John Abbott, for 46 years, before the two moved permanently to Warwick, NY in 1998. They celebrated their 60th anniversary as a couple in 2011, and were legally married in Toronto in 2007.
Peter Guggenheim began a lifetime of collecting when aged six years old he was given a cuckoo clock by his grandfather, Daniel. Peter then continued the Guggenheim family's great legacy of collecting in the traditional Kunstkammer manner and for more than sixty years, together with Dr. John Abbott, cultivated a renowned collection and generously loaned works to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Frick Collection, the Smithsonian, the Louvre and the Royal Academy, London, among others. Many of their works of art boasted prestigious provenances that were linked to the collections of J.P. Morgan, Robert von Hirsch, William Randolph Hearst, as well as Queen Marie and Prince Nicholas of Romania and the Berwinds. Both leaders in the field of Psychiatry, Drs. John Abbott and Peter Guggenheim were true connoisseurs and assembled their collection in the old-world tradition, without using advisors and by relying on their instincts. The Abbott-Guggenheim Collection has been displayed for decades at their horse farm in New York's Hudson River Valley and includes clocks by celebrated makers as Têteblanche and Schmidt the Younger.