Rare Louis XVI French Musical Mantle Clock.

Collections > Sold
Rare Louis XVI French Musical Mantle Clock.
Inv. #: p156

Le Brun à Givet


This musical mantle clock has an exceptional case with pillars surmounted by patinated sphinxes and adorned with several ormolu mounts that include urn form finials, female terms, beading and foliate appliqués. Below the drum cased clock is an ormolu drapery while above is a black marble pedestal surmounted by an ormolu eagle atop a rockwork base with a patinated snake. The whole sits upon a breakfront base with cast feet, inset ormolu female masks and an inset freeze that depicts putti in various pursuits of work and play.


The finely lettered porcelain dial is signed by the maker, ‘LeBrun à Givet’, has superbly cast and finished ormolu hands and bezel, Roman numerals for the hours and Arabic numbers for the 31-day calendar with the days indicated by a steel calendar hand.


The superior quality eight-day flat-bottom twin-barrel movement has finely turned pillars, large triangular end cocks, finely spoked wheels with heavy collets and large steel pinions, a countwheel with a particularly finely cut center star and great steelwork that includes a shaped arbor for the lift arm that activates the music. The tic-tac escapement still retains its original silk-thread suspension that is regulated off the backcock. A separate wheel off the motion work, not merely an arm off the spring barrel, advances the 31-day calendar hand.

Of equally fine quality is the manually adjusted 6-tune musical movement that is activated by the clock each hour. The finely lettered semi-circular porcelain selection dial is signed by the maker, ‘Le Brun à Givet’, shows the six tunes and also the dial’s function, ‘Changement des Aires’. The movement has skeletonized plates, Geneva stops, finely crossed out wheels, twin spring barrels, an adjustable flywheel and a pinned cylinder that triggers 18 hammers on 9 bells.
The veins of the flywheel are not merely friction set, but have small spring set clicks that positively lock the vanes in pre-determined positions. The mechanism also has a stackfreed arrangement to regulate the speed of the tunes as the springs unwind. There is a cam mounted to the stopwork with an adjustable arm riding along its edge. Resting on that arm is another adjustable arm that at its end has a steel spring resting against the next arbor off the flywheel. As the spring runs down and the Geneva Stop turns, less pressure and in turn less friction is placed against the train.

The 7 5/8 inch pinned cylinder has adjustments for both up/down and side-to-side. It activates the eighteen hardened steel hammers that are suspended between steel tension springs mounted to the brass plates by steel screws with large conical washers


The Geneva Stops control which portion of the springs entire power output is to be used, the vanes on the fly control the speed at which the mechanism plays and the stackfreed compensates for the differences in the springs force as it unwinds.


It plays one of six tunes every hour for an entire week.
This clock was sold at: Sotheby’s London, Clock and Watch Sale, Thursday June 11, 1998, Lot 294.


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Size: 25.25in. high
19 in. wide
7 in. deep

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Tel: 631-757-9521
Email: info@sundialfarm.com

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