Eight day clockwork with going- and striking train. Dial with minutes, hours and dates. The dial is signed: Etienne Le Noir à Paris. The exterior is attibuted to Robert Osmond.
This urn shaped mantel clock with lions heads on a pedestal shows all the characteristics of the early French Classisicm [‘goût grec’ or ‘goût à l’antique’]
The urnshape itself is a typical example of the classisist motive, as are the lions heads with their loose hides that are suspended from nails and the wreath of bundled laurel that serves as a base for the urn.
The pedestal is decorated with oak-leaf and acorn garlands that spring from rosettes. The clock is topped by a pinecone.
About the bronzework
Two generations were active in the workshop of Osmond; Robert Osmond [Canisy 1711- Paris 1789], who was recorded as master bronze founder in 1746 in the register of the Parisien bronze founder guild, and, from 1756 forward as a juror [juré]. He worked at the Rue de Canettes from 1746 to 1761 and after that date he worked from the Rue Macon. His nephew Jean-Baptiste Osmond was recorded maître-fondeur in 1764. The two worked in tight cooperation.
Robert Osmond was very much aware of the importance of the intelectual property rights of his models, and in 1766 was one of the juré to sign the declaration on property rights that was drafted by the bronze-founders guild.
From about 1755-1760 we recognize an initial movement towards the austere, early classisist style of the goût grec. This mantel clock with the lions heads, that probably dates from between 1760 and 1795, is one of the most balanced examples of this new style.
Pierre-Etienne Le Noir (1724-?), how came from a family of clock- and watchmakers, had a workshop at the Quai des Orfèvres in Paris, together with his father, Etienne Le Noir, from 1743 onwards. They both signed their clocks; Etienne Le Noir à Paris. This makes it virtually impossible to distinguish between the work of the two.
Etienne Le Noir supplied clocks and watches to the French Court, especially to Mme. De Pompadour and Mme. Du Barry.
Another urn shaped mantel clock of Robert Osmond, with a clockwork by Julien Le Roy, is to be seen in the Musée Condé in Chantilly.