A Louis XV Allegory of Water mantel clock signed Saint-Germain

A Louis XV gilt bronze mantel clock representing
the Allegory of Water signed Saint Germain,
the dial signed Lepaute H du Roi à Paris – circa 1750-1755

Jean-Joseph de Saint-Germain (1719-1791, maître in 1748)

Height: 50 cm. (19 ½ in.)  Width: 36.5 cm. (14 ¼ in.)  Depth: 20.5 cm. (8 in.)


The signed enamel dial has Roman numerals for the hours and Arabic numbers for the minutes indicated by gilt and engraved brass hands. The circular movement has an anchor escapement and silk thread suspension. The clock chimes on the hour and half hour by means of a count-wheel mounted on the backplate.

The case is decorated with numerous motifs emblematic of Water. Cupid lies on a bed of reeds with his left hand on a vasiform water source, his right on a tree trunk. The movement is in the centre of the work and is surrounded by scrolls and rushes. Below this is a knotted ribbon adorned with acanthus leaves, a rudder and a trident. Four dolphins support the clock at its corners and rest on a pedestal decorated with acanthus leaves and rocaille with a large cartouche in the centre.


Comparative Literature

An identical clock, signed de Chevrau à Paris, is reproduced and described in H. Ottomeyer and P. Pröschel, Vergoldete Bronzen, Munich, 1986, p. 128, no. 2.8.16.

Another identical clock was sold at Christie’s London, 24 June 1971, lot 36, from the collection of Anne Thompson Dodge, wife of the automobile magnate Horace Elgin Dodge. Part of her collection is now in the Detroit Institute of Arts.

A similar later example from circa 1760-1765 signed Alexis Huau à Paris (Cupid is replaced by a Greek vase) was sold at Versailles, Martin and Desbenoit, 29 May 1983, lot 131 and subsequently with Maurice Ségoura, exhibited at the Biennale de Monaco in 1983.