Dalva Brothers Antiques, Antique Furniture, New York

French 18th century furniture, clocks, lighting, paintings, porcelain, sculpture and tapestries


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Louis XVI ormoulu pendule-cage by Sotiau
Fine and rare Louis XVI ormoulu, glass and Cararra marble pendule-cage by Sotiau with superb original gilding. The clock rests on a beaded stepped Cararra marble base with indented corners mounted with ormoulu matte-gilded scrolls on highly burnished plain grounds. The glazed ormoulu cage enclosing the movement is raised on an ormoulu plinth with the central frieze decorated with a relief of putti representing the Four Seasons. The sides are decorated with matte gilded scrolls centered on roses and cornflowers, Marie-Antoinette’s favorite flowers, also on burnished back-plates; the rear with a panel of vertically striated “textile” ormoulu. The clock dial has a ribbon mount above and a mount of a female mask framed by oak boughs below. A balustrade sits on top composed of 78 separately cast balusters.

The compensated brass and steel grill pendulum, hung from a large ormoulu plate separated from the movement, has the bob in the form of Apollo in a sunburst. The complicated five-hand movement by Renacle-Nicolas Sotiau shows seconds, the hour, days of the week and the day of the month. [Some beading on the marble base replaced. Panel glass replaced. Fleur-de lis on hour hand clipped.)

There are two nearly identical Sotiau clocks at Versailles; one in Marie-Antoinette’s Cabinet doré, and the other in the petite salle à manger in the Petit Trianon. The second clock is thought to have been in the Council Chamber of Louis XVI at Saint-Cloud. Both Versailles clocks have less complicated movements, telling only the time.

Height (ins.): 21.5 (54.6 cm.)      Length/Width (ins.): 9 (22.9 cm.)      Depth (ins.): 15 (38 cm.)
Origin: France, late 18th century     Period: Louis XVI



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