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Lot No. 505 (89th Auction)
P. A. Caron à Paris (Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais), Height 700 mm, circa 1760

A rare French rococo bracket clock with half hour self strike and date
Case : wood, veneered with green tortoiseshell, firegilt bronze mountings with rocaille ornaments; curved case on four volute feet decorated with acanthus and rocailles. The front with framed aperture for the controlling of the pendulum. The sides are open-worked and ornamented with foliate scrolls and birds on a background of light green fabric, lavishly decorated top crowned by a vase. Matching curved bracket with baroque strap work. Dial : enamel, radial Roman hours, central date letters with Arabic numerals, brass bezel, pierced firegilt hands. Movm. : round full plate movement, firegilt, 2 barrels, keywind, 1 hammer / 1 bell, solid movement pillars, locking plate, anchor escapement.

Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais (1732 - 1799)
He was a French playwright, watchmaker, inventor, musician, diplomat, fugitive, spy, publisher, horticulturalist, arms dealer, satirist, financier, and revolutionary (both French and American).
Born a provincial watchmaker's son, Beaumarchais rose in French society and became influential in the court of Louis XV as an inventor and music teacher. He made a number of important business and social contacts, played various roles as a diplomat and spy, and had earned a considerable fortune before a series of costly court battles jeopardized his reputation.
Beaumarchais was also a participant in the early stages of the French Revolution. He is probably best known, however, for his theatrical works, especially the three Figaro plays.
He was the only boy among the six surviving children of André-Charles Caron, a watchmaker from Meaux. As the only son, he was spoiled by his parents and sisters. He took an interest in music and played several instruments.
From the age of ten, Beaumarchais had some schooling at a "country school" where he learned some Latin. Two years later, Beaumarchais left school at twelve to work as an apprentice under his father and learn the art of watchmaking. He may have used his own experiences during these years as the inspiration for the character of Cherubino when he wrote the Marriage of Figaro. He generally neglected his work, and at one point was evicted by his father, only to be later allowed back after apologising for his poor behaviour.

At the time, pocket watches were commonly unreliable for timekeeping and were worn more as fashion accessories. In response to this, Beaumarchais spent nearly a year researching improvements. In July 1753, at the age of twenty one, he invented an escapement for watches that allowed them to be made substantially more accurate and compact. One of his greatest feats was a watch mounted on a ring, made for Madame de Pompadour, a mistress of Louis XV. The invention was later recognised by the Academy of Sciences, but only after a dispute with Lepaute, the royal watchmaker, who attempted to pass off the invention as his own. The affair first brought Beaumarchais to national attention and introduced him to the royal court at Versailles
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Beaumarchais, as of 02/11/2014.
Estimate  3,000 - 4,500 €
This is a lot of a former auction!

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