The eye of the collector by Jean-luc Ferrand


Friday 26 February 2016, by Barbara Cogollos

All the versions of this article: [English] [français]

Large bronze clock finely chased and original gilt (gold matte and glossy) with four Corinthian columns. The base is decorated on front with five laurel wreaths and flowers intertwined. The clock is based on four square feet. Movement annular metal dial with Roman numerals. The clock is signed COMMINGES PALAIS ROYAL No. 62, compensating pendulum.


As indicated by the signature on the dial, Comminges was a watchmaker installed at the Palais Royal N°62 from 1820 to 1830.

The prestigious address where was Comminges is a guarantee of success. At this time the Palais Royal is a big monument with palaces, gardens, galleries, theater ... north of Le Louvre in the 1st district of Paris. This place in Paris is the necessary step of foreigners and provincials. There is gathered in an enclosed space, communicating with the outside by galleries or colonnades, all that the capital has to offer in luxury and pleasures .

Success comes from the abundance and variety of goods offered. The density of shops is amazing: nearly 400 stores throughout the Palais-Royal. There are luxury shops, especially clocks and watches in the gallery of Peter, but also tailors, three reading rooms, a bathhouse ...

"All it is possible to find in Paris is at the Palais-Royal," says the Russian historian Nikolai Karamzin in 1790, "Paris is the capital of France, the Palais Royal is the capital of Paris. "Likes to tell Lamothe-Langon in the book The Province to Paris in 1825.

The animation of the Palais Royal stop abruptly in 1836, when Louis Philippe orders the closure of gambling halls and gambling dens. The galleries will sink into oblivion. Under the Second Empire, the Palais-Royal will be abandoned by the bourgeoisie and the working class in favor of the grand boulevards.

Chasing and gilding of this clock are definitely the mark of a great Parisian workshop. We think of Pierre-Philippe Thomire (1751 - 1843), who gave an industrial boom in the production of high quality of bronzes in creating one of the most renowned companies of the century. He used to employed 120 workers in 1830. We can also think of Lucien-François Feuchère (- 1841) sculptor-gilder, also manufacturer of bronzes, son of Pierre-François Feuchère (1737-1823) whom he succeeded at the head of a famous company of bronzes.

We find a similar work, but still less advanced in the royal collections of the Spanish crown. Indeed, the version of the national spanish heritage specifies that the clock has lever escapement while that the one we offer has an exhaust anchor usually designed for regulators, and the guilloché central show a know-how more refined and therefore more advanced.

Also discover