Designed by Jean Charles François Leloy
Clockwork signed: ‘CHAUDÉ Hger du Roi A PARIS AN 1842’
Plaque in centre signed: ‘Moriot 1842 d’apres Beranger’
Bisquit Apollo bust dated 1842
Bronzes marked : ‘JOUIN’ (active in Paris, 1840 as a bronzier)
Silver-plated copper door at the back with engraved dedication:
‘Donnée par LL. MM.
le Roi et la Reine des Français
le 1er Xbre 1842
à Mr le Mis d’Aligre
Pair de France de 1815
Le Mis d’Aligre avoit offert
partie du Terrain
sur lequel repose
le Duc d’Orleans’
The pendulum has clockwork with a fourteen-day running train with a Graham escapement. It has three spring drums- one for the going train, another for the striking and a third for the quarter-hour strikes. They strike three bells and both have a separate locking disc on the rear plate. The clock is signed on the back plate: ‘CHAUDÉ HGER DU ROI A PARIS AN 1842’.
Porcelain dial with indication of the hours in golden Roman numerals. The minutes are indicated by dashes. Two blue Bréguet minute hands.
Although Chaudé used the title Horloger du Roi, little is known about the clockmaker. Chaudé collaborated with Nicholas Matthieu Rieussec (1781-1866) and later continued his business under the name Rieussec-Chaudé. The partnership was known for its extraordinary inventions and timepieces of a very high quality.
Description of the pendulum
A very large pendulum with porcelain plaques from the Sèvres factory. On the front a representation of a "repas antique", a feast in Classical times. The dial above is surrounded by two cornucopias in bas-relief biscuit porcelain on a green background. At the top of the clock a crowned Apollo bust of biscuit porcelain dated 1842. A globe with laurel leaves of gilded bronze crowns the pendulum. On the sides, depictions of Vertumnus and Pomona and Bacchus and Ceres in ormolu frames. The extraordinary high quality of the porcelain shows that the Sèvres factory was still among the best during the 19th century. Moreover, it indicates that neither expense nor trouble was spared for this commission.
The king commissioned this gigantic clock for his own dining hall in the palace of St Cloud, along with two coupes. The first designs (see illustration) were drafted by Leloy in the years 1840-1842. Jean-Charles-François Leloy was designer/ draughtsman and ornemaniste (specialised in the painting of ornaments) for the Sèvres factory between 1818-1844. He designed many pieces for the king, including various dinner services. One of his designs was the Ordinaire Fontainebleau service, a design with a geometric star motif that matched the Renaissance architecture of Fontainebleau. It became so popular that it was produced throughout the 19th century at the Sèvres Manufactory and it was even copied by other porcelain factories.
Leloy was also the designer of the famous "Clodion" vases that are now kept in the Louvre Museum in Paris. In July 1840, Leloy was paid 110 francs for the first design. He received another 60 Francs for several meticulous drawings for the execution of the details in October and November 1841. The design drawing, unfortunately in a poor condition, states: ‘Pendule dite des repas antiques exécuté de la salle à manger du palais de Saint-Cloud’ (executed for the dining hall of palace of Saint-Cloud).
Thus, the objects adorning the clock and the plaques typically depict items that relate to a copious dinner. The cornucopia crowned the dinners of antiquity, at which ancient gods and heroes reclined and dined on fruit and other food and enjoyed wine.
The architectural form of the clock with large semi-circular arch at the top the clock is reminiscent of a church structure or station hall. Around 1840, the latter was a state-of-the-art building; this imposing clock may have been a reference to it.
The plaques were painted by Moriot in 1842 after designs by Beranger.
Nicolas-Marie Moriot (1788–1852) worked in the Sèvres factory between circa 1828 and 1848. He specialized in painting history pieces. The plaques on this clock are typical of his work.
Antoine Beranger (1785-1867) is best known as a designer for the Sèvres factory. As early as 1808, the director Brongniart recommended Beranger to the intendant general of the Emperor as a young man who was perhaps still obscure but very talented and promising. Beranger designed and painted a great deal of porcelain in Sèvres. He also produced paintings that he exhibited in the Paris Salons between 1814 and 1849.
Beranger’s design for the repas antique was not found in the Sèvres archives. Moriot may have painted the scene after a print or painting by Beranger.
The clock was delivered to the factory warehouse on April 15, 1842. Its sales price was 12,000 francs at a cost of 10517 Francs (source: Inventory book (101v0 -15).
The coupes followed to two weeks later and had a sales price of 2,000 francs each.
The coupes were ultimately delivered to the palace of St Cloud on December 17, 1842. Objects often remained in the warehouse for a while, which also served as a shop, in order to encourage customers to order the same items. Which was also the case with the coupes.
However, the clock was never delivered to the king for St Cloud, although the design drawing clearly states that the clock was executed for this specific palace. The silver-plated bronze door at the back of the clock states that this object was offered to the Marquis d’Aligre by the French king and queen. The reason for the offering is also described on the reverse; it is a sad anecdote:
Prince Ferdinand Philippe d’Orleans (1810-1842) was the heir to the throne of France. He was married to Helene van Mecklenburg Schwerin and had two children. One day, he left the Palais de Tuileries to visit his mother and father (the king) in Neuilly-sur-Seine. He chose to ride in an open two-horse carriage. At Sablonville (nowadays the Palais des Congrès in Porte Maillot), he lost control of the horses and fell off the carriage, gravely fracturing his skull. Unconscious, the prince was brought to a back room in a nearby grocery shop. It is here that Ferdinand Philippe died from his sustained injuries a few hours later, in the presence of his hastily gathered family members.
The death of the heir to the throne sent the country into deep mourning. The Marquis d’Aligre gave the piece of land on which the shop stood to France to build a memorial chapel: the Chapelle Royal Saint Ferdinand later renamed Notre Dame de la Compassion. This is where Ferdinand of France was commemorated; he was finally buried in the royal burial chapel in Dreux.
The memorial chapel shaped as a Greek cross was designed by Pierre Francois Fontaine, who was also the architect of the Arc de Triomphe. It is probably no coincidence that the façade of the structure reminds us of our clock. Built in natural stone in the neo-Byzantine architectural style, the chapel was demolished in 1968 and rebuilt 100 meters further on in order to make room for the Palais des Congrès Porte Maillot.