A very important and extremely large Louis XVI style gilt and patinated bronze and amethyst revolving dial clock signed by Henry Dasson and dated 1881. The magnificent case, in the form of the Three Graces wearing diaphanous classical drapery, supporting a patinated bronze globe upon a gilded swagged cloth; the globe set with two rotating chapter rings with Arabic minute and Roman numerals painted on enamelled plaques, the time being indicated from above by a gilt arrow hold in the hand of a surmounting putto lying alongside a seated cupid holding his bow. The Three Graces stand on a massive stepped oval amethyst base with acanthus cast gilt bands and resting on four decorative gilt and turned cast foliate feet.
Paris, dated 1881
Dasson's signature appears at the base of one of the figures.
The base on which the clock is displayed is of recent manufacture.
The very substantial and finely executed horizontally mounted two train bell striking movement which, which is numbered on the backplate 5165, employs a lever escapement. It would have been supplied to Henry Dasson by Lefevre, Paris who has signed it between the plates.
Henry Dasson, one of the eminent bronziers and ébénistes of the second half of the 19th century, produced both replicas from the 18th century and also works of art inspired by the finest creations of the previous century and this clock would appear to be one of these. Indications of this are that the figures are less sinuous than 18th century models and more fully dressed and their facial features are gentler and altogether more cherubic. Furthermore, Cupid and the accompanying putto are more stylised than earlier examples, especially in the treatment of their hair and the pose of the prostrate putto.
Henry Dasson, the son of Jean-Baptiste, a cobber, was born in Paris on 10th May 1825. He began his career as a clockmaker at Rue Nonnains-d'Hyêres and by 1854 he married and set up business at Rue Saint-Louis au Marais, a favoured location for craftsmen. By the 1860's he had formed a partnership with Godet as a clock and bronze manufacturer. This continues until he purchased Charles Winckelsein's renowned furniture business from his widow in 1871. This meant that he was able to add the art of the ébénisterie to his production of bronzes and clocks. He was now trading under the name Dasson et Cie, based at the Rue Vielle-du-Temple, where he was to remain until the business closed in 1894.
He was to become one of the most eminent bronze and furniture makers of the second half of the 19th century
specialising in furniture in the Louis XVI style and received many important commissions such as producing a replica of the bureau du Roi made for Louis XV by Jean-François Oeben and completed by Riesener, which was in the Louvre. This was shown at the Exposition Universelle of 1878 and purchased by Lady Ashburton.