Empire Pendulum Clock “Pegasus and Perseus” Lesieur à Paris, c. 1815


Figures and frame in gilded and patinated bronze on an Egyptian red porphyry base, attributed to Luopis-Isidore Choiselat. (Choiselat-Gallien). Golden dial with Roman numerals and Breguet hands in burnished steel, marked “Lesieur à Paris”. Movement with eight-day winding, branded Lesieur, anchor escapement and silk thread suspension, striking for the hours and half hours.

Dimensions: 51 x 42 x 22,5 cm ( 20 x 16,5 x 8,8 in )

Historical-critical analysis:

The composition of the clock taken from the Greek myth of Perseus and Andromeda, here describes the hero Perseus with the winged horse Pegasus.

The standing figure of Perseus made of chiseled and gilded bronze holds with the right the oval shield with a classic decoration of palmettes, in which the dial and the clock mechanism are inserted, with the left holding the head of the winged horse Pegasus, made for contrast in burnished bronze.

The hero wears a lorica, winged shoes and his head is surrounded by a winged helmet with crest, a dagger over his shoulder and a large cloak on his shoulders.
The composition rests on a magnificent Egyptian red porphyry base inserted in a chiseled and gilded bronze frame with a meander motif supported by four winged lion paw supports.
Our watch probably the result of a particular commission, as the use of the precious Egyptian red porphyry base would seem to indicate, is the work of the mechanical part of the renowned Parisian watchmaker Lesieur active since 1806 in the “Vieille rue du Temple” and in the period that concerns us, ie 1812-1820 in the “rue de la Verrerie”

Despite the fame he achieved under the Empire and the Restoration, little is the information we have received concerning his life, he is probably to be identified with the watchmaker François-Eugéne Lesieur, whose inventory was drawn up following his death on the 29th. August 1848 in 43 rue de Romainville in Belleville near Paris, is kept in the Archives Nationales. Lesieur is the author of mechanisms for Impero figured clocks, we mention the clock with Jason and the golden fleece, kept at the Malmaison in the apartments of Josephine Beauharnais, of several specimens kept in Palazzo Pitti in Florence, as well as of complicated mechanisms for astronomical clocks. of a particular desk model with double plinth designed by Percier and Fontaine.

A particular version with an Egyptian red porphyry base of this watch signed by Lesieur and dated 1826 appeared years ago at Sotheby’s in London (L13301, 10 July 2013 London, lot 226).
The collaboration between Lesieur and the bronze worker Choiselat-Gallien is known, both active in the same period in Paris in rue de la Verrerie. It is to the style and execution of the bronze sculptor Choiselat-Gallien that the figures on our watch seem to fully correspond.

The Choiselat-Gallien company was founded by Louis-Isidore Choiselat (1784-1853), who completed his apprenticeship and who later collaborated with the bronze worker Baptiste-Mathieu Gallien (born in 1753), whose daughter Ambroisine Marie (1794) -1861) in 1812.
He will then succeed his father-in-law in running the business, from 1813 to 1847 at number 93, rue de la Verrerie in Paris.

Choiselat-Gallien is a supplier of watches for Garde-Meuble, as well as for the Count of Artois, brother of Louis XVI and future Charles X.

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