A very fine Restauration gilt bronze and green and black marble mantle clock of eight day duration signed on the white enamel dial Le Paute et Fils Hrs du Roi, the dial with Roman numerals and a pair of blued steel moon hands for the hours and minutes. The movement with anchor escapement, silk thread suspension, striking on the hour and half-hour with outside count wheel. The imposing case with break arch top with a foliate and rosette bezel surround flanked below by two outward facing sphinxes above a central vase supported by winged females terminating in foliate scrolls, supported on winged paw feet on a three-sided concave black marble base with canted corners
Paris, date circa 1820
Height 41 cm, width 33 cm, depth 21 cm.
The Lepautes formed an important dynasty of Parisian clockmakers from the eighteenth century onward. From 1795-1811 Pierre-Basile Lepaute, known as Sully-Lepaute (1750-1843) was assisted by his nephew Jean-Joseph Lepaute (b. 1768) and then in 1811 formed a new association with his son Pierre-Michel (1785-1849) under the name of ‘Lepaute et Fils’. During Napoleon’s reign the firm, who was the main supplier of clocks to the Garde-Meuble, was appointed Horloger de l’Empereur and after the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy as Horloger du Roi. Control of the business based at rue Saint-Thomas du Louvre was ceded to Pierre-Michel in 1816. Among a number of commissions, in 1828 he supplied a clock, costing 30,000 francs to the newly built Bourse de Paris. His firm also showed at the Exposition des Produits de l’Industrie in 1819 and 1823. Following Pierre-Michel’s death the business was run by Henry Lepaute.
The case reflects the interest in Egyptian art and decoration, largely promoted by the designs of Charles Percier (1764-1838) and Pierre François Léonard Fontaine (1762-1853) for Napoleon Bonaparte.