A very fine Empire gilt bronze figural clock of eight day duration, signed on the white enamel dial Galle, Rue Vivienne à Paris. The arched top of the dial flanked by two Cupids and surmounted by Cupid's bow and quiver arrows. Below the dial stands a beautiful classical maiden, who most probably represents Truth. She looks into a mirror, which stands upon an Empire table supported upon winged caryatid legs with a pair of griffins below. The base ornamented by a plaque portraying Prudence, personified as a woman with a snake and mirror. The plaque flanked on either side by wreaths ornamented by Cupid's arrows. The clock striking on the hour and half hour on a bell.
Paris, date circa 1810
Height 55 cm
Galle was born at Villepreux near Versailles; during his youth he moved to Paris to begin an apprenticeship under the fondeur, Pierre Foy at rue du Four. In 1784 Galle married Foy's daughter, Marie-Elizabeth, when Foy died in 1788 Galle was required to pay off the elder's debts before taking over the workshop, which he built up into one the finest of its kind, eventually employing about 400 craftsmen. Galle moved the business to Quai de la Monnaie (renamed Quai de 1'Unité) and from 1805 operated from 60 Rue Vivienne, close to fellow fondeur, Pierre-Victor Ledure. From 1784 Galle began appearing in the trade registers; he became a maitre-fondeur in 1786 and in the same year received the first of many commissions from the Garde-Meuble to furnish the royal palaces, which in addition to Fontainebleau included the Châteaux de Saint-Cloud, Compiègne and Rambouillet, Le Palais des Tuileries, Les Trianons, as well as Monte Cavallo Rome and Stupinigi near Turin. Today Galle's work can be found amongst the world's finest collections, which in addition to the above include the Musée National de Chateau de Malmaison, the Musée Marmottan in Paris, the Museo de Reloges at Jerez de la Frontera, the Residenz Munich and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.