A Louis XVI style gilt bronze mounted walnut régulateur "au char d'Apollon" the gilt bronze after a model by Jacques Caffieri fourth quarter 19th century
The movement stamped H. BERGES CONSTr / 5 R. DEBELLEYME PARIS height 112in (284.5cm); width 20 1/2in (52cm); depth 13 1/2in (33.5cm)
The gilt bronze sculpture of the chariot of Apollo or Phaëton at the summit of this regulator clock is based on a model signed by Philippe Caffieri (1714-1774) from 1767, in the Frick Collection, New York. The design of the Frick clock case, which differs significantly from the present work, was by Balthazar Lieutaud (d. 1780), and the movement by Ferdinand Berthoud (1727-1807).
Despite being one of the rare bronzes actually signed by Caffieri, it is improbable that the actual modeling and casting of this large and complicated work were done by him, but rather by a sculptor used to creating figures in the round. Evidence of this is given by the fact that the group appears again on a clock in the Wallace Collection with a different case, made circa 1780, well after Caffieri's death. A further clock, very similar to the one in the Frick, is in the collection of the Château de Versailles. The model ultimately derives from the sculptural group of Apollo's chariot rising from the waters of the Apollo Basin at Versailles, by Jean-Baptiste Tuby.
The Apollo clock was reproduced several times during the latter part of the 19th century, most notably by Alfred Beurdeley (an example of which was sold in the 1895 sale of Beurdeley's collection) and François Linke. The present model is unusual for its case, which follows neither the Frick nor the Wallace Collection models. The more sober lines of the present model serve to set off the rich gilt bronze mounts in a very pleasing manner.
Literature: Theodore Dell, French Furniture in the Frick Collection, Vol. V, The Frick Collection, 1992, pp. 314-332
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