Louis XVI Clock L’Etude et La Philosophie


A Louis XVI mantle clock depicting “L’Etude et La Philosophie” (study and philosophy). The clock is comprised of a circular white-enamelled dial with Roman hours and Arabic quarter marks and a further inner Arabic chapter ring for the day of month; it features pierced gilt hands and a blue steel date hand. The three-week movement strikes the hours and half hours. The circular drum case is rested on a plinth, the front of which is set with an ormolu panel chased with cherubs playing with doves. The whole is surmounted by an eagle and flanked by patinated bronze figures personifying Philosophy and Study, (’La Science’ and ’L’Etude’). The shaped rectangular base with rounded ends is mounted with a central pierced ormolu panel; it is chased with scrolling foliage, flowers and cherubs and centred by a bearded mask. It has two roundels containing female classical masks. The clock is mounted on six circular gadrooned feet decorated with acanthus leaves.


This clock, entitled ”L’Étude et la Philosophie” was an enormously successful and popular model in the late 18th Century. It derives from a drawing in a catalogue produced by François Rémond circa 1785 which incorporates figures designed and supplied to the Sèvres factory for reproduction in biscuit porcelain by the sculptor Simon-Louis Boizot.

Rémond was one of the most celebrated ciseleurs-doreurs during the reign of Louis XVI and counted amongst his distinguished clientele the Comte d’Artois and the Princesse Kinsky. Between February 1784 and October 1787, Rémond sold at least thirty-two versions of this model to Dominique Daguerre, a famous Paris Decorator. In 1788 Daguerre delivered three of these clocks to Louis XVI at the château de Saint-Cloud.

Three virtually identical clocks are in the Royal Collection at Buckingham Palace. A fourth is at Versailles (H. Ottomeyer, P. Pröschel et al., Vergoldete Bronzen, Munich, 1986, vol. I, p. 295, figs. 4.17.5 and 4.17.6.); other clocks of this model are in the Swedish Royal Collection and in the Spanish Royal Collection

Dimensions: 28″W (71cm) x 21″H (54cm) x 6″D (15cm)