Empire period clock “La Liseuse” Gilt Bronze Claude Galle Attributed


Magnificent Empire period clock “La liseuse” after a model by Jean-André Reiche (1752-1817).
Bronze gilded with mercury in matt and shiny and bronze with medal patina, attributed to Claude Galle (the close collaboration between Reiche and Galle is attested in the archives).
This pendulum, known as the reading light, depicts a young woman seated in what appears to be a luxurious study given the richness of the armchair, the table where she reads and the oil lamp. Inspired by Antiquity, this scene shows a young woman dressed in the Greek way absorbed in the reading of a work, other books placed behind her. A whole symbolism of learning appears in this work: the youth of the young woman, ready to acquire new knowledge, and the oil lamp, figure of light and prudence. The circular dial takes place in the center of the piece of furniture on which it leans, covered with a very beautiful drape finished with lion claws. The set rests on a sea-green marble plinth, finished with four spinning feet.
This model of pendulum takes its source in a drawing by Jean-André Reiche published in a sales catalog of bronzier and dated 1806. It knew a considerable success because it takes again perfectly the great aesthetic canons of the Empire, borrowings of rigor, of wisdom and measure. The staging, the precision and the care taken in rendering the details magnified by the matt and shiny are to be noticed. The decor is applied to the front and back of the clock so that the equally ornate back is reflected in a fireplace mirror. The movable objects reproduced present the characteristics of those produced in the last years of the 18th century and the first ones of the 19th century. This is the case with the base of the table with lion’s paws and the seat with front legs still fluted and Etruscan for the hind legs.

An identical clock signed by Bailly was delivered in 1806 for the Secretary of State of the Kingdom of Italy in Fontainebleau, room of Mr. Aldini (Pendulums and furnishing bronzes entered [in Fontainebleau] under the First Empire. Jean Pierre Samoyault, figure 15 page 58).

Given the success of this model, variations were made in the arrangement of objects and furniture, while respecting the staging and iconography as can be seen in the one kept at the Mobilier National, or the one where the stack of books is replaced by a dog. This type of pendulum is also represented in the reference work Encyclopédie de la pendule française by Pierre KJELLBERG, Les Éditions de l’Amateur, Paris, 1997, p. 398.

Email of the dial signed Blanc Fils Palais Royal, Parisian watchmaker installed from 1803 to 1820 at the Palais Royal in the Galerie de Pierre. Wire suspension. Original gilding and patina.

On request, the clock is delivered completely revised by a specialist watchmaker.


Base cm 29 x 14
Height cm 33

1 in stock


All the objects are accompanied by an invoice, a certificate of authenticity and, according to the cases, a technical sheet and an expertise.

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Packing in customized wooden box.

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