Richard Mühe and Horand M. Vogel, “Alte Uhren. Ein Handbuch Europäischer Tischuhren, Wanduhren und Bodenstanduhren”, 1976, p. 184, pl. 340, illustrating a slightly smaller cartel of similar design without animals and with less flowers and foliage by an unknown maker in the Museum für Kunsthandwerk in Dresden. Pierre Kjellberg, “Encyclopédie de la Pendule Française du Moyen Age au XXe Siècle”, 1997, p. 102, pl. A, illustrating a clock with movement by Pierre Le Roy à Paris and case of a very similar design but without the lamb while the dog sits more erect between the two figures. And front cover illustrating the upper details of the former case.
An extremely fine Louis XV gilt bronze grand cartel clock of eight day duration, signed on the white enamel dial and also on the movement Henri Voisin à Paris, the dial with Roman and Arabic numerals with a very fine pair of pierced gilt brass hands for the hours and minutes. The large rectangular movement with anchor escapement, silk thread suspension, striking on the hour and half hour on a single bell, with outside count wheel.
The superb Rococo case attributed to Jean-Joseph de Saint-Germain of asymmetrical cartouche outline decorated overall with roses and other floral and foliate scrolls surmounted by a pair of lovers in contemporary dress making music beneath a leafy arbour, the man standing as he plays the flute and leans toward the woman who sits holding an open music score upon her knee while raising a baton in her left hand, to the left at the gentleman's feet sits a dog who scratches his ear with his back paw while to right beside the lady sits a lamb, below the dial an asymmetrical shaped glazed pendulum aperture above a foliate scrolled boss
Paris, date circa 1755
Height 118 cm, width 60 cm.
Clock cases of the same or very similar designs are known; in addition to the one cited above housing a movement by Pierre Le Roy (1687-1762), clockmaker to Louis XV are those with movements by the Parisian makers Nicolas Brindeau (d. after 1788), Berton and Jean-Baptiste-Marie Colin de La Glizière (d. 1767). As testament to its beauty P. Kjellberg illustrated the upper details of the comparable example on the front cover of his book on French clocks.
The attribution to the esteemed fondeur-ciseleur Jean-Joseph de Saint-Germain (1719-91) as the case maker is not only based on its quality but also its overall design, delicacy as well as playful inventiveness especially the dog scratching his ear which appears quite unique. St. Germain, who worked ouvrier libre from 1742 and was received as a maître in 1748 was one of the most important bronziers of his day. He was also one of the main exponents of the Rococo style and having studied both botany and animals, often integrated them into his designs. Dogs often appear as an allegory of fidelity while the lamb can symbolise gentleness and patience, thus together they here allude to the relationship between the two lovers.
The maker of the movement was also one of the finest makers of his day. Antoine-Henri Voisin known as Henri (1733 d. after 1815) was the son of another esteemed clockmaker Charles Voisin (1685-1761) with whom he became associated with in 1758, three years after being received as a maître in 1755; then in 1760 he succeeded his father's business to make it one of the most important in Paris up until the Revolution.
As a mark of his standing Voisin was appointed Garde-Visiteur of his guild 1765-7 and 71-73 and then Député 1778-89. In addition to Saint-Germain he used cases by R. Osmond, B. Lieutaud, A. Foullet and others. Examples of his remarkable career can be seen at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs Lyon, the Residenzmuseum Munich and the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague.