Maker: Case attributed to André Charles Boulle (French, Paris 1642–1732 Paris)
Artist: After a design by Jean Berain (French, Saint-Mihiel 1640–1711 Paris)
Maker: Clock by Jacques III Thuret (1669–1738) or
Maker: more likely his father, Isaac II Thuret (1630–1706)
Date: ca. 1690
Culture: French, Paris
Medium: Case and pedestal of oak with marquetry of tortoiseshell, engraved brass, and pewter; gilt bronze; dial of gilt brass with white enameled Arabic numerals; movement of brass and steel
Dimensions: 87 1/4 x 13 3/4 x 11 3/8 in. (221.6 x 34.9 x 28.9 cm); Other (clock and crest): 24 1/2 in. (62.2cm)
Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1958
Accession Number: 58.53a–c
The eight-day, spring-wound movement originally had a shorter bob pendulum (now a Brocot-type replacement of the late nineteenth century) and hour and quarter rack striking (now mostly missing). Although it is the product of a member of a distinguished family of Parisian clockmakers, this clock is more important for its case and pedestal. Both the inlay and mounts of the case are thought to have been made in André-Charles Boulle's workshop. Boulle was by far the best known cabinetmaker of the Louis XIV period; like the Thurets, he was granted the use of a royal workshop in the Louvre. Many of the decorative motifs seen here are based on ornament engravings by Jean Berain, including the flaming urns on the crest, the four sphinxes supporting the clock, the female mask set on the front of the pedestal, and the acanthus scrolls that flank it. Above the mask, the five inscriptions describing weather conditions indicate the perimeter of what must have been a barometer dial. In fact, the pedestal door is perforated behind the mask to accommodate the spindle of a pointer.
This clock and pedestal are part of a small series that derive from an original model that Boulle supplied the marquis de Louvois (d. 1690), the French king's minister of war and the arts, and it may have been one of those offered as a prize in a lottery organized in Paris by Isaac Thuret in May 1691.