Hans Ottomeyer and Peter Pröschel, "Vergoldete Bronzen", 1986, p. 193, pls. 3.11.4 and 6, respectively illustrating an identical clock case by François Vion circa 1770, signed on the dial Gudin à Paris, made for the Ministère d'Etat, now at the Ministry of Finance, Paris, and a design for this and the latter from an album in the Bibliothèque Doucet. Jean-Dominique Augarde, in "Les Ouvriers du Temps", 1996, p. 389, pl. 283, illustrating a mantle clock with skeletonised movement by Pierre-Antoine Regnault with an extremely similar cut-out glass dial, painted numerals and paste brilliants hands; that clock with case portraying The Battle of Fontenoy attributed to J-J de Saint-Germain. Pierre Kjellberg, "Encyclopédie de la Pendule Française du Moyen Age au XXe Siècle", 1997, p. 278, pl. E and p. 279, pl. F illustrating two similar pendules 'au lion', both with the lion facing to the left and surmounted by a swaged covered urn, one with a movement by Jacques Panier à Paris, the other with a musical box signed on the dial D.F. Dubois. Elke Niehüser, "Die Französische Bronzeuhr", 1997, p. 239, pl. 843, illustrating a clock of the same model.
An extremely fine Louis XVI gilt bronze Pendule 'Au Lion' of eight day duration, housed in a case attributed to François Vion with movement attributed to Pierre-Antoine Regnault. The very rare glass dial with inner painted Roman numerals and outer Arabic chapter ring and a very fine pair of pierced gilt brass hands decorated with paste brilliants for the hours and minutes. The dial cut-out to expose the extremely fine and rare skeletonised movement, with silk thread suspension, anchor escapement, striking on the hour and half hour on a single bell, with outside count wheel. The gilt bronze case featuring the clock with a paste brilliants bezel on the back of a lion, the drum case surmounted by a covered urn hung with a laurel swag, the lion facing to the left with flowing mane and serpentine tail on a rectangular base with canted corners and running guilloche frieze hung with a looped laurel swag on bun feet
Paris, date circa 1770
Height 31 cm, width 17.5 cm.
François Vion (1764-c.1800) was one of the leading bronziers of his day who became a maître in 1764. Apart from a few decorative gilt bronze accessories, such as plinths for statuettes, he appears to have specialized in clock cases. As here, a number of these were supported by animals and in particular by a lion, such as the pendule 'au lion' made for the Ministère d'Etat, now at the Ministry of Finance, Paris. A clock of this same model was delivered to Louis Joseph, Prince de Condé which was included in an inventory of the Palais Bourbon, 1779 as being in the 'cabinet donnant sur la terrasse'. Another almost identical model is housed at Pavlovsk, St. Petersburg. Vion also made a number of cases with classical figures.
Among his finest sculptural cases is one housing a movement by Lepaute à Paris, representing the Three Graces (Musée
du Louvre, Paris) made for the comtesse du Barry at Château de Fontainebleau. The Musée Municipal, Besançon also owns a clock housed in a case by Vion surmounted by Venus and putti after a design by E-M Falconet, while the Wrightsman Collection in the Metropolitan Museum, New York owns a biscuit porcelain figure of Cupid by Falconet placed on a gilt bronze base by Vion.