A Louis XVI Ormolu and Patinated Bronze Clock by Jean-Baptiste Baillon and Attributed to Saint-Germain
The white enamel dial is set within an ormolu drum-shaped case with a bead and reel border and signed Baillon à Paris. The drum is raised on scrolls, above a shaped rectangular base with a pierced ormolu grill, with a lion’s mask holding golden swags of fabric falling across and around the base with reeded sides and rosette corners. The clock is surmounted by a fabric-draped sphere, with masks to the sides.
This model draws its inspiration from the clock known as "à l'Emploi du Temps", offered by Madame Geoffrin to Diderot (cf. C. Baulez, "La Pendule à la Geoffrin, a successful model" in L'Estampille - l' Object of Art, n°224, April 1989, pp. 34-41). The success of the so-called "Geoffrin" clock was not denied throughout the second half of the 18th century and certain bronziers did not hesitate to adapt it by reinterpreting it, such as Jean-Joseph de Saint-Germain who returned the dial in the center of the composition and slightly straightened the figure of the Etude (cf. J-D. Augarde, "Jean-Joseph de Saint-Germain" in H. Ottomeyer and P. Pröschel, Vergoldete Bronzen, Munich, 1986, vol. II, p.532, Fig. 12). The figure of the Study adorning the clocks of Saint-Germain is undoubtedly inspired by the work of the sculptor Louis-Félix de La Rue or Louis-Claude Vassé from the collections of Ange-Laurent Lalive de Jully (cf. C. Baulez, op.cit., pp. 40-41). A very similar one but with not such a good dial was donated in 1929 by Ogden Mills to the Metropolitan Museum in New York (inv. 29. 180.3)