Pierre Lagisse, Geneva (watchmaker) and Pierre Huaud I, Geneva (enameller), Diameter 33 mm, circa 1660-1670
An important gold and enamel verge watch of museum quality, painted with a portrait of Anne d'Autriche, Reine de France, after Pierre Mignard
Case: gold enamel, the border raised in high relief with a design of flowers and foliage painted in pastel shades, with a similar rope-twist frame surrounding the portrait which is painted in a color spots style. The interior with a turquoise ground and centred with a gentleman in classical dress (possibly alluding to Louis XIV in theatrical costume), within a grisaille frame. Dial: white enamel chapter-ring, black Roman numerals and half-hour divisions, the centre with floral scrolls following the design of the case border. Single blued-steel hand with turned button ends. Movm.: full plate movement with gilt plates, fusee with early chain, worm-and-wheel set-up, and verge escapement with plain steel balance without spring. Oval pattern balance cock pierced and engraved with foliage within pellet border. Worm-and-wheel set-up, with pierced blued-steel brackets and engraved silver setting disc.
Pierre Lagisse, almost certainly Pierre Didier Lagisse, Geneva and Ispahan, died 1679
He is recorded in legal documents in 1660 and 1664 as based in Geneva. It seems likely that he settled in Ispahan after this date, but continued to order watches and clocks, possibly through the intermediary of his son Pierre (Le jeune). Another example of his work, a watch in a gilt-metal and enamel case, a likely made for the Persian market, bears close similarity to pieces attributed to Pierre Huaud I.
Pierre Huaud I (Le Pere), Geneva (1612-1680)
Born in Chatellerault, France, son of French goldsmith Jean Huaud, refugee in Geneva in 1630 at the age of 18 (indicating that he may well have begun his training under his father or another French goldsmith. Some sources suggest that this may have been in Blois, and that his subsequent full apprenticeship under Legere was required in order to be received as Maitre in Geneva). Apprenticed to Laurent Legere in the same year, Compagnon in 1634, Maitre in 1636. Married in 1643, Francoise Mussard and amongst their children, three sons who became enamellers - Pierre II (1647-1698), Jean-Pierre (1655-1725) and Ami (1657-1724). In 1671, Pierre I and his three sons were made "bourgeois" of the city or Geneva.
To date there appears to be only one watch case actually signed by Pierre Huaud I; this is the watch in the form of a cross preserved in the Dr. E. Gschwind collection at the Kirschgarten Museum in Basle.(Illustrated and described in "Montres de Geneve", 1978, catalogue for an exhibition in Geneva, No 7). The signature reads "P Huaud pinxit a Geneve". However, there are a number of characteristics that typify his work, and in combination with the dates and names of contemporary watchmakers, enable a positive identification in most cases.
A synopsis of the techniques employed by Pierre I would include the following:
a) Small flowers as minor or major decoration
b) Use of turquoise enamel as a ground colour
c) Translucent green or blu enamel over a flinque ground
d) Occasional use of an "en plein" or a high relief enamel ground
e) champleve opaque or translucent enamel within an engraved field. In addition he appears to have frequently used a vivid orange pigment, and to have favoured a border or framing in black and white around some of the subjects.
There exist a number of cases by his eldest son, Pierre II, which incorporate some of the above but there is no doubting that this is the work of the father on account of the quality and early date.
Collection Ralph Bernal, London, before 1855. Paul Van Cuyck, Paris, before 1866.
Sold at Christie and Manson. Catalogue of the celebrated collection of works of art from the Byzantine period to that of Louis Seize of that distinguished collector Ralph Bernal, Esq., Deceased
(Messrs Christie & Manson at the Mansion, No 93 Eaton Square commencing on Monday,
March the 5th 1855. Lot 3933. Thursday April 26th, 1855, Twenty-ninth day's sale,
Bought for 11 guineas by Van Cuyck from Paris. Almost certainly Paul Van Cuyck, who died circa 1865 and whose collection was sold in Drouot, Paris in February 1866. This watch did not form part of the sale, which did include a number of timepieces and a wide range of works of art.
Ralph Bernal was a British politician and one of the greatest collectors of the 19th century; following his death in 1854, many of the objects from his collection were purchased at the auction by the British Museums.
Born in Colchester on 2 October 1783, Bernal was educated at the Reverend John Hewlett's school at Shacklewell, Hackney, and at Christ's College, Cambridge, where he graduated BA in 1806 and MA in 1809. Bernal was admitted to Lincoln's Inn in 1804 and was called to the bar on 8 February 1810. He chose instead to pursue a political career and was elected to the House of Commons in 1818. Over the years, Bernal represented several different constituencies (Lincoln, Rochester, Weymouth) as a Whig MP until he lost his Rochester seat in 1852. He was a prolific collector of glass, plate, ceramics and miniatures; his fortune derived from estates in the West Indies which he had inherited in 1810. In 1853, Bernal became president of the British Archaeological Society. Twice married, he died at 93 Eaton Square, London, on 26 August 1854.
Bohn, H.G. "A Guide to ...Pottery, Porcelain and other Objects of Vertu etc.", London 1857.
Includes a full copy of the Sale catalogue with prices and the names of the buyers. Lot 3933 is the present watch .
Following Bernal's death, the British Government had declined an approach by the Society of Arts to purchase the collection in its entirety; instead it was sold at auction in 4294 lots by Christie and Manson in 1855.
A total of 136 early watches and clocks were included in the sale, of which 28 were bought by Marlborough House, the national collection that was to be renamed the Victoria & Albert Museum in 1899, and where they remain today. In total the Museum acquired some 730 lots, with further objects sold to the British Museum.
The portrait can be identified with certainty as being that of Anne d'Autriche, Queen to Louis XIII, after Pierre Mignard I.
Several paintings of Anne, in similar costume and pose, were painted by Mignard and his circle and subsequently reproduced as engravings. It is very unlikely that the enameller would have had access to an original painting and would therefore have worked from one of these. Although there are engravings by different artists, the most likely to have been used is one by Robert Nanteuil (dated 1660) or Antoine Masson (dated 1665), both working in Paris. The significant detail reproduced on both engravings is the large pearl and ribbon drops embellishing the shoulders and centre of the gown. Clearly the example by Nanteuil is a mirror image (not unusual if the printing plate was engraved as an exact copy of the painting) whereas Masson's would have been cut in reverse to print in the same projection as the painting. The engraving by Masson includes further pearl work down the front of the dress, not reproduced on the watch. Of course, there may have been several versions of re-workings of the printing plates. In any case, the enameller would have chosen the elements he wished to include.
On the interior of the watch, the classical bust of the gentleman is executed with greater flamboyance than is usually seen on watches by the Huaud family. This may simply be a result of Pierre Huaud I's particular skill, or possibly a reference to Anne's husband, Louis XIII or her son, Louis XIV, both of whom were passionate performers in theatre and dance. The elaborate feather plumed headwear is not dissimilar to known engravings of the Kings, dressed in theatrical costume.
Case: very good
Dial: very good
Movm.: very good, capable of running
Dial: very good
Movm.: very good, capable of running