Monsieur Lecluse, purchased from Sully Lepaute 28th May 1812. Sale Paris, 31st January 1949. Purchased by Professor Guy Ledoux-Lebard, Paris.
A superb Empire gilt bronze mounted burr elm and ebony petit regulator by Pierre-Basile Lepaute, known as Sully Lepaute, signed on the white enamel dial Lepaute Place du Ps Royal à Paris, the dial with Roman and Arabic numerals and blued steel pointer for the hours and minutes. The movement with compensated pendulum and knife-edge suspension. The rectangular pedestal elm veneered case with ebony banding centred by a gilded bezel flanked either side by gilt bronze Classical female caryatids on tapering pilasters with palmette mounts terminating in gilded feet on rectangular bases mounted with winged Victories, the whole on a stepped base
Paris, dated by its accompanying letter 1812
Height 46 cm, width 29 cm, depth 18 cm.
The clock is accompanied by a letter from Lepaute, which translates as "Supplied to Monsieur Lecluse by Lepaute, Horloger de l'Empereur, 28th May 1812, an elm wood clock of architectural style with ebony inlays. On the front are two caryatids decorated with matt gilt bronze mounts, the movement has the most perfect chime, the wheels and clock are designed to withstand the effects of heat and cold: knife-edge suspension and fourchette brisée. It carries the name of Lepaute and is protected by a gilded case on a dark wooden base. Clé de 13. Price agreed 530 F. Received Paris 6th June 1812. S. Lepaute".
A clock of identical model with its dial signed Galle appeared in a sale at Versailles (Palais des Congrès 19th November 1989, lot no 94). Another with a mahogany veneered case is conserved in the Spanish Royal Collection (illustrated in J. Ramon Colon De Carvajal, "Catalogo De Relojes Del Patrimonio Nacional", 1987, p. 138) and yet another with slight variations was in the collection of Monsieur Cristobal Balenciaga (sold Monaco 4th December 1983, lot 64).
Pierre-Basile Lepaute, known as Sully-Lepaute (1750-1843) belonged to an important family of master clockmakers. The son of Joseph and Marie Collignon, he joined his uncles and cousin in business in Paris, circa 1766 and served his apprenticeship in the family workshop. From 1774 he became an associate of J.B. Lepaute and his cousin Pierre Henry and with the latter purchased his uncle's business in May 1789. Following his cousin's withdrawal in December 1795, Sully Lepaute took his nephew Jean-Joseph Lepaute, called Collignon, into partnership. This concern, known as Lepaute Oncle & Neveu lasted until 1811 when they separated and Sully took on his own son Pierre-Michel (1785-1849). Their business was renamed Lepaute et Fils but their clocks continued to be signed Lepaute à Paris. During the Empire the firm was the main supplier of clocks to the Garde-Meuble and flourished as Horloger de l'Empereur and subsequently under the Restoration as Horloger du Roi de Rome.