A Louis XVI Marble and Gilt Bronze Directoire Clock by Deverberie


This is a classic Directoire period clock by the famous clock maker Deverberie. The drum-shaped clock is surmounted by an ormolu basket of flowers with festoons of foliage and flowers trailing down its sides. The clock rests on an ormolu plinth with incurved sides, the front of which has an oval aperture to accommodate the pendulum; and which is flanked by laurel branches, and acanthus rising from each side. The top section resting on four lions’ paw feet; the white marble plinth applied with a central musical trophy on lower four turned ormolu feet. The face has black Arabic numerals, inscribed: a Paris; gilt hands; eight day movement striking the hours and halves on a bell. A design for the case of this clock survives in the Bibliotheque Jacques Doucet, Paris. It is inscribed ‘Invente par De Verberie’ and ‘C.gnie/Tout se fait dans leur Manufacture le Bronze Dorure’ etc.

The Directoire period in French History covers a fifteen year period between 1789, six years after King Louis XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette were guillotined; this fifteen year period was the most troubled in French history. Everything associated with the old regime – royal luxury, aristocratic power and privilege- was condemned. The revolutionaries of this time suppressed the furniture guilds, which could no longer guarantee the level of craftsmanship.

On the other hand, the growing number of personal fortunes led to an increase in demand. However the limited sophistication of the new clients made them less than exacting: they were often satisfied with surface glitter and placed a high priority on rapid execution. This explains the ‘simplicity’ of this clock. Only after Bonaparte’s seizure of power would France again cultivate the emerging grand French Empire Period.

Dimensions: 21″H (53cm) x 17″W (43cm) x 4.5″D (11cm)