Derek Roberts, "Continental and American Skeleton Clocks", 1989, p. 62, pls. 48 a & b, illustrating this regulator and an image of its movement. F. B. Royer-Collard, "Skeleton Clocks" 1969, p. 79, pls. 5-14 &5-15, illustrating a very similar weight driven skeleton clock by Lepine numbered 4417, then owned by Mr S. P. Lehv, M.D. of New York.
An extremely fine and high quality Directoire gilt brass weight driven skeletonised table regulator clock of fourteen day duration by Lépine à Paris, signed on the white enamel dial Lepine Place des Victoires No 12 and further inscribed and numbered on the frame below the dial Lepine à Paris No 4394. The dial with outer Arabic numerals for minutes, Roman numerals for the hours, with the number I encircled and inner Arabic numerals 15/30/45 and 60 for the seconds, with a pair of blued steel hands for the hours and minutes and blued steel pointer for the sweep centre seconds. The movement with double weights riding over pulleys and the lines from the two weights feeding into a common central barrel, with dead beat escapement employed with relatively long teeth escape wheel and thin adjustable pallets, knife edge suspension and a nine rod gridiron pendulum with a large brass bob. The inverted Y-shaped frame on turned feet supported on a rectangular octagonal white marble base
Paris, date circa 1800
Height 49 cm, width 25.5 cm, depth 16.5 cm.
The name of Lépine is synonymous with precision clockmaking. This eminent firm was founded by Jean-Antoine I Lépine (1720-1814) but at the time that this clock was made, it was in the hands of the latter's son-in-law Pierre-Claude Raguet-Lépine (1753-1810), who was in many respects equally successful and renowned. Born in Dôle, Pierre-Claude married Jean-Antoine's daughter Pauline in 1782, having already invested 16,000 livres in his future father-in law's business. He then purchased a third share in 1783 and finally took over the concern at Place des Victoires No 12 in June 1784 at under the name of Lépine à Paris, Horloger du Roi and either signed his clock dials as such or simply as here without reference to the king. Prior to this he had worked as a compagnon to Jean-Antoine I Lépine and then in 1785 was received as a maître. Lépine-Raguet not only became prosperous from his clock productions but also dealt in diamonds and precious stones. His clocks and watches were of the highest quality and as such were supplied to the cream of society, including the comte de Provence and Louis XV's daughters at Château de Bellevue. He was also a member of the jury responsible for deciding upon a new Republican time system (1793); during the Empire he was appointed Horloger breveté de Sa Majesté l'Impératrice-Reine, 1805 and four years later was titled clockmaker to the Empress Joséphine while his other clients included Napoleon I, Jérôme King of Westphalia, Charles IV King of Spain, the princes Talleyrand, Kourakine (the Russian Ambassador) and Schwarzenberg (the Austrian Ambassador).
Such was his success that he needed a large workforce which included a number of his relatives including Jean-Antoine II Lépine, who managed the workshop as well as Jean-Louis Lépine in Geneva and Jacques Lépine in Kassel, Germany. His cases were supplied by the leading bronziers of the period including P.-P. Thomire and by other renowned bronziers such as F. Rémond, F. Vion, E. Martincourt, the Feuchères and Duports while some of his veneered cases were supplied by the cabinet maker Gruber. Other suppliers included the gilders Leprince and Ponton, the spring manufacturer Montginot, the pendulum maker Porcher while his dials were supplied by such fine enamellists as Jacques Anspach, Coteau, Dubuisson, Cave, Merlet and others. Today Raguet-Lépine's work can be admired in such collections as the Musée du Louvre, Château de Compiègne, the British Royal Collection, Musée International d'Horlogerie at La Chaux-des-Fonds, Deutsches Uhrenmuseum Furtwangen, Schloss Wilhemshöhe Kassel, the Patrimonio Nacional in Spain, the Hermitage Saint Petersburg as well as the Detroit Institute of Arts and Minneapolis Institute of Arts.