The French Revolution brought numerous changes and influences to the world of art. Amongst the avant-garde movements in the late eighteenth century, Neoclassicism and Rococo styling flourished. The influence of the Revolution did not stop with visual arts, but also shaped the world of literature. Jacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre’s 1788 short novel Paul et Virginie (Paul and Virginia) is a romantic tragedy that is regarded as one of the most historically significant pieces of 18th century French literature. The novel recounts the story of two youths raised as brother and sister on the Ile de France, the modern day island of Mauritius. As they age, their Island paradise fades away as their growing love for one another complicates their teenage years. In opposition of Paul and Virginie’s relationship, Virginie’s mother sent her to Europe in hopes of ending the young love. Virginie’s return to Mauritius was stopped short when her ship was caught in a storm ending her voyage and life. Awaiting the return of his love, Paul witnessed the demise of Virginie from the coastline. This tragic but powerful love story later found itself the topic of many visual and decorative arts in France.
Bruneau & Co. Auctioneers is proud to offer this rare and important French early nineteenth century Charles X Romantic ormolu and silvered bronze clock. The bright ormolu clock topper of the shipwreck sits in beautiful contrast of the silvered bronze ocean wave base. The rim of the clock body is decorated with a repeating Rococo stylized shell pattern in high relief. The corners of the body are decorated with stylized open work cornucopia patterns with gilt highlighting. The base is decorated with swirling floral patterns with a central crest depicting a dragon and phoenix. The clock is supported by curled feet adorned with Rococo shells. The dial is silvered with black Roman numerals. The movement has an impressed maker’s mark “P.C”.
When we first received this clock at our gallery, it displayed over 150 years of neglect with it’s bright ormolu being masked by numerous layers of soot, grime, and dirt. With a little tender loving care, here at Bruneau & Co. we were able to bring the story of Paul and Virginie back to life. This is the type of care and service that is extended onto all of our clients because here we pride ourselves on customer care and service. This wonderful clock along with over five-hundred other lots will cross the auction block on Saturday, July, 23rd at noon at our gallery. Preview will be Thursday, 21st 9:00-5:00, Friday, 22nd, 12:00-5:00 then that night join us for wine and cheese during our preview party from 5:00-9:00. For more information call 401-533-9980.
Post Written by Travis Landry