Antique French Empire clock of "La Laitiere" in patinated bronze and ormolu.

A very rare and unusual French Empire clock known as “ The Milk Seller” or “La Laitiere”. This very stylish clock is on the same theme as the series of clocks designed by Jean - Andre Reiche such as “La Lecon” and “Astronomie” which illustrate women in important roles, not necessarily leading roles, but ones considered fundamental to the well being of the new young French Republic. Her elaborately coiffured hair and Empire style dress indicate that this is an idealized view of women rather than realistic. However this is believed to be a model designed by the bronzier Croutelle in about 1807. The quality of the clock is outstanding, the base is of very heavy cast bronze and far heavier than one usually finds. The clock stands upon four well cast low profile bun feet and are attached to a lower base. The front of the main base is applied with three very high quality mounts. The large mount is of a cow in a verdant meadow while the mounts on each side of this relate to the Milk seller herself. The one on the right shows her churning butter while the one on the left seems to show her tasting the cream from the top of the milk. Attached to the base by two feet is the patinated bronze horse, he is a very fine model and has a fine gait. Between his feet it is possible to see the lozenge shaped cut out in the top of the base to allow the pendulum to run. The clock housing is formed by the very characteristic wicker basket saddle that was used extensively in Mediterranean Europe by peasants taking their wares to market. In the top of the basket can be seen the milk churn with two handles and behind the milkseller are a group of hens eggs. The horse has very finely cast and gilt reins and bridles with leaf patterns. The reason why the original reins etc. have not been lost can be attributed to the fact that they actually pass through the horses head in some cases. The horse also has fine enamel eyes. The Milk Seller herself is dressed in a fine Empire dress and has her hair up. The bezel surrounding the dial is of very fine quality and is decorated with a fern design between two concentric circles of beading. with an outer ring of fine beading. The dial is of white convex enamel over copper with Roman hour chapters and Arabic minute numerals at the quarters. The hands are of blued steel and of Breguet moon form. The movement is of eight day duration and is regulated by a silk suspended pendulum and strikes the hours and halves on a bell by means of the countwheel system of striking. Catalogo de Relojes del Patrimonio National, pp 372. Faszination Uhr Munich 1996., pp 125. Museo del Reloj Antiguo - Grassy, pp4. ottomeyer and Proeschal Vergoldete Bronzen Vol I pp377. Tardy - Clocks the World Over VolII pp 361. France circa 1810. Height 16 inches by 11.75 inches wide and 4.375 inches deep ( 40 cm by 29.375 cm by 10.94 cm).

Stock Number: 5234

Price: £12,250

Availability: In Stock

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