This is a lot of the last auction!
Attributed to Pierre-Philippe Thomire à Paris / Nicholas Davrainville à Paris, Movement No. 25, Height 830 x Width 510 mm x Depth 270 mm, circa 1815
A monumental, Empire-style mantel clock originally created for a noble house in England, featuring an exceptional musical movement with a pipe organ playing eight tunes, including the national anthem of the United Kingdom "God Save the King". The pipe organ is either self-releasing or set to release on demand – created by one of the most renowned clockmakers and organ builders of his time, Nicholas Davrainville. In a magnificent ornamental case, which, due to its outstanding level of quality, can be attributed to Pierre-Philippe Thomire (1751-1843), possibly the most important bronzier in the late 18th and early 19th century: "For the Love of Music"
Case: ormolu, green marble. Dial: enamel, radial Roman numerals, gilt Empire hands. Movm.: circular brass full plate movement, 2 barrels, 1 hammer / 1 bell, count wheel, anchor escapement, 8 day-movement, silk suspended short pendulum. Musical movement: heavy brass movement with chain/fusee and governor; brass frame with wooden pinned barrel signed, numbered and dated Davrainville à Paris No 25 1814 , 20 tin flutes playing eight tunes.
The imposing base rests on six bun feet and houses the musical movement, which consists of two green marble plates and a firegilt bronze sound box between them. Corresponding to the motifs on the clock, the front of the base is decorated with exquisitely chased and engraved musical instruments and dancing maidens. The sides are also elaborately embellished with Empire-style ornaments: Winged putti playing trumpets in the company of two squirrels are poised on a bar that is held by a bird of prey on each side. The opulent ornamentation uses naturalistic motifs and combines them with classic style elements. The fittings on the marble plates are similarly decorated with applied winged putti, garlands and lyres in the bottom section, with swans, laurel wreaths and arrows in the top section and musical instruments surrounded by vine tendrils and roses on the side panels. The rectangular marble body with canted corners and relief-type fittings supports the firegilt bronze pendulum clock above. The front of the clock shows a cartouche with a putto hovering in the clouds, surrounded by palmettes, the edges are decorated with Medusa heads and delicate flowers on the sides. The muse Terpsichore with a lyre in her hand looks lovingly at the winged Cupid as they move towards a flower-bedecked altar to light the fire of love. A music rest stands behind Cupid. The clock face rises behind Terpsichore and Cupid, supported by two harps and with musical instruments, sheets of music and arrows on its top.
The pipe organ:
One minute before the hour, the clock activates the organ, which plays one of the eight available tunes. One of them is the national anthem of the United Kingdom "God Save the King", which indicates that this impressive piece was originally created for a noble house in England. Nicholas Davrainville is known to have worked for many aristocratic families.
The tunes can be selected manually with a button on the right side of the case: Leaving the button pushed in changes the tune every hour, if the button remains pulled out, the organ keeps replaying the last tune. To play a tune on demand, a push button just behind the first one must be pushed in and pulled out again – if it remains pushed in, the organ keeps playing to the end of the tune.
Tardy's "Dictionnaire des Horlogers Francais" lists Nicholas Davrainville as working in the Rue Basse-du-Rempart in Paris in the first half of the 19th century. He was one of the most famous makers of timepieces, musical instruments and organs of his time. His earliest known piece is signed with the number 7 and the date 1813, his last one bears the number 498 and dates from 1838.
Several of Davrainville’s masterpieces reside in world-renowned museums such as the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, the Musée des Arts décoratifs in Paris, the Musée des Arts et Métiers in Paris, the Musée de la Musique Mécanique in Les Gets and in the Speelklok Museum in Utrecht.
Pierre-Philippe Thomire (1751-1843) was one of the most important bronziers and ciseleurs of the Empire period. Although he trained as a sculptor, he decided to become a bronzier like his father and by the late 18th and early 19th century, Thomire was one of the greatest and most successful masters of his trade. He was best known for his exquisitely chased, gilded bronzes, many of them commissioned by the king himself. Thomire often worked with merchants such as Simon-Philippe Poirier and his successor Dominique Daguerre and regularly delivered bronze fittings to renowned ébénistes such as Adam Weisweiler and Guillaume Beneman. Thomire apprenticed with Gouthière and set up his own workshop afterwards, producing bronze ornaments for furniture. Later he became assistant to Duplessis, the director of the Manufacture de Sèvres. After Duplessis’ death in 1783 Thomire took over the position of bronzier in the manufactury. In 1809 Napoleon appointed him "Ciseleur de l'Empereur".
Case: very good
Dial: very good
Movm.: very good, capable of running
Dial: very good
Movm.: very good, capable of running