A rare Louis XIV gilt mounted ebonized pendule religieuseSigned François Desbans à Amiens, circa 1669
Lot 16
A rare Louis XIV gilt mounted ebonized pendule religieuseSigned François Desbans à Amiens, circa 1669
Sold for US$ 5,625 inc. premium
Lot Details
A rare Louis XIV gilt mounted ebonized pendule religieuse
Signed François Desbans à Amiens, circa 1669
The one day timepiece movement with narrow rectangular plates, four tapered baluster pillars, going barrel to four wheel train, three spoke wheels, verge escapement with thread suspended pendulum, (lacking cycloidal cheeks), iron dial plate backed with silk and faced with later black velvet covering the pendulum aperture, gilt chapter ring with roman chapters and 1 – 60 arabic minute numerals, above cast gilt signature cartouche flanked on either side by herald angels, pierced and engraved foliate scroll hands, the dial and movement secured in the molded rectangular case by four latches, the door of the case applied with pierced foliate scroll corner mounts, arched glazed side panels, surmounted by cast gilt cresting with coat of arms, coronet and lion supporters amid profuse foliate scrolls 45.5 cm (18in.) high


  • The present clock is a very well preserved example of the earliest form of the French pendulum clock or pendule religieuse. The original design for a clock regulated by a pendulum was proposed by Christiaan Huygens in 1657 and made to his order by Salomon Coster of The Hague later that year. Housed in a simple ebonized wood rectangular case, the pendulum movement revolutionized clocks by making accurate time keeping possible.

    Domestic clocks had been made since the early 1500's. In their most developed form they were complicated calendar machines capable of calculating a variety of celestial events. However, despite their sophistication, these clocks lacked any means to reliably regulate their rate of going. Incapable of accurately measuring intervals of time, they carried merely an hour hand. The pendulum gave clocks a minute hand and within a decade rendered all previous clocks obsolete.

    By 1659, clocks based on the Coster prototype were being made in Paris and shortly thereafter elsewhere in France. The present clock is one of a small number surviving from the first decade after the Coster clock and closely follows its design. This earliest form of the pendulum clock quickly evolved into more elaborate forms such as seen in the previous lot.


    Plomp, R. Early French Pendulum Clocks, 1658 -1700, Scheidam (2009)

    Van den Ende, H. et al. Huygens' Legacy, The Golden Age of the Pendulum Clock, (2004)
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