Cartel Barat a Paris

Gilt bronze clock

Louis XV Paris, 1745-1749


Cartel clock from the Louis XV period in gilded and chiseled bronze.
The clock has a marked asymmetrical structure, typical of the Louis XV era.
The dial is circular, in enamel painted in shades of blue and black, and is signed “Barat à Paris”; two hands, also in gilt bronze, indicate the hours in Roman numerals and the minutes, at intervals of five, in Arabic numerals.

The mechanism, also signed “Barat Paris” on the back plate, works with an anchor escapement. On the back plate is marked (as in use) a revision intervention on the mechanism, “Thevenet à Artenay le 7-9bre 1881”.
The dial is inserted in a case made entirely of gilded bronze, chiseled and punched.
The case is extensively decorated with rocailles, enriched with floral elements (flowering branches, wreaths, flowers, leaves) and an extensive use of asymmetrical and curved lines without interruptions. In the upper part it is embellished with a female figure and in the lower part by two winged cherubs.

The clock bears the hallmark of the crowned “C”, which corresponded to the payment of an exceptional tax on gilded bronzes introduced in France by an edict of March 1745 and then suppressed in 1749. This hallmark, visible on several parts of the case, is a precise dating element.

Dimensions: 66 x 39 x 12 cm

Historical-stylistic analysis:

Wall clocks fixed directly on the wall or placed on a base / console are called “Cartel”.

Typically French, they began to be produced from the early 18th century. These are short pendulum clocks, in most cases with a richly decorated gilded bronze case. Generally the author’s signature appears both on the dial and on the back plate of the movement.

In the wall clocks the precious sculptural execution often prevails over the refinement of the movement: the predominant element is in fact the decoration of the case. The decorative refinement made these watches complex works, for the execution of which it was necessary the participation of different skills (draftsmen, sculptors, founders, gilders, watchmakers).

In the era of Louis XV, the “cartels d’applique”, that is clocks fixed directly to the wall, in gilded and chiseled bronze, designed in the rocaille style and characterized by an asymmetrical structure and widely decorated with volutes and countervolutes, became widespread. The chests are often surmounted by statuettes depicting hunter scenes, hunting or floral motifs.

In the upper part of the clock we find a female figure seated on a cloud, perhaps Flora, an Italic and Roman divinity who presided over the flowering of crops and fruit trees; she in classical iconography she is represented as an always very attractive young woman, who carries a bouquet of flowers – or a cornucopia – and often appears with one or both breasts naked, to symbolize fertility. Or perhaps Fortuna, goddess of favorable outcomes in life’s cases. Fortuna, called Primigenia, was conceived as a primordial mother, in the double aspect of generator of the world and of matrix of every reality, present, past and future.

Philippe Barat, appointed maitre horolger in Paris in 1742, was an apprentice to Nicolas Brodon, acclaimed watchmaker of the royal court.


Articolo che parla di: Journal du Loiret-  1887-07-14

Presso Bibliothèque Municipale d’Orléans

Artenay . — Le sieur Thévenet , horloger à Artenay , s’ est plaint qu’ une montre à lui confiée par un de ses clients , lui avait été soustraite dans sa boutique ; mais il ne peut fournir aucune explication sur ce vol qui soit de nature à faire connaitre le voleur . Seul , le signalement de la montre pourra amener ce résultat 

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