166. An important Empire mantel clock ‘The Astronomy Lesson’
An important Empire mantel clock ‘The Astronomy Lesson’
France, circa 1810
After a design Jean-André Reiche (1752-1817), bronzes attributed to Claude Galle (1758 – 1815) depicting a governess and her pupil sitting at a table with an astrolabe, both sitting on fine Empire chairs, eleborately decorated with applied mounts, fine white enamel convex dial with hands, original hands included, black Roman numerals, signed Paris. With eight day going train, countwheel strike on full- and half hours on a single bell, timekeeping regulated with silk suspended pendulum.
H. 35.7 x W. 38.2 x D. 12.4 cm
– H. Ottomeyer, P. Pröschel, Vergoldete Bronzen, Die Bronzearbeiten des Spätbarock und Klassizismus, 2 Vol., München, Klinkhardt und Biermann, 1986, p. 375.
– Kjellberg Pierre, Encyclopedie de la Pendule Francaise, Du Moyen Age Au XXe Siecle, Paris, Les Editions De L’Amateur, Paris, 1997, p. 398.
– Elke Niehüser, Die französische Bronzeuhr: eine Typologie der figürlichen Darstellungen von Göttern, Helden, edlen Wilden, München, Callwey, 1997, p. 220.
One of the most important Parisian bronziers of the Empire period, Reiche was originally from Leipzig and settled in Paris during the reign of Louis XVI, becoming a master founder in June 1785. His workshop moved to the rue Notre-Dame-de-Nazareth. At first designated as a bronzier and marble specialist, he was listed as a ‘marchand-fabricant de bronzes’. Reiche often used women as the subject in clocks where learning or technology was involved indicating the feeling of emancipation for women in the new France after the revolution.
This clock was made after the largest and most impressive of the genre of clock designs that Jean-Andre Reiche made for the Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte in 1807.
Another example in the collection of the George F. Baker Houses, a complex of several adjoining residences once owned by the Baker Family on the corner of Park Avenue and East 93rd Street in New York. The carriage house for this complex, 69 East 93rd Street, is now headquarters for the Classical American Homes Preservation Trust.