Astronomical clocks were a specialty of Lépine. One of the most innovative Parisian clockmakers, he supplied unique and elaborate clocks to the French court and foreign clients, including Marie-Antoinette, Louis XVI's brother, and the king of Spain. The finely chased gilt-bronze laurel branches, ribbons, lyre, pine cone finial, and bas relief of putti playing musical instruments represent the unprecedented refinement of French design at the end of the eighteenth century.
Artist Jean Antoine Lépine, French, 1720-1814
Artist Étienne Martincourt, French, 1763-1791
Maker Claude-Pierre Raguet, called Lepine, French, 1753-1810
Title
  • Mantel Clock
Date ca. 1784
Medium Marble, ormolu
Dimensions Overall: 24 7/8 × 27 1/4 × 8 inches (63.2 × 69.2 × 20.3 cm)
Credit Line Bequest of Mrs. Horace E. Dodge in memory of her husband
Accession Number 71.215
Department European Sculpture and Dec Arts
On View Fashionable Living: Kanzler Room S330, Level 3 (see map)
Inscriptions Inscribed, on the central dial: LEPINE | HGER DU ROI
Inscribed, on the left dial: INVENIT
Inscribed, on the right dial: ET FECIT
Inscribed, on the mechanism: LEPINE | HGER DU ROI, A PARIS NO4052
Inscribed, on the back of each subsidiary dial: G. MERLET
Inscribed, on the gilt-bronze mount: EU
ordered by Mesdames de France, Adélaïde and Victoire from Lepine for the Summer Reception Room at the Château de Bellevue (Meudon, France);
July 15, 1786-until at least January 16, 1795, Château de Bellevue (Meudon, France).
by 1808, Napoléon Bonaparte [1769-1821];
1808, gift to Napoléon's archichancelier and Duke of Parma, Jean-Jacques-Régis de Cambacérès [1753-1824] (Hôtel d'Elbeuf, Paris, France and later Hôtel Molé, rue Saint-Dominique, Paris, France);
1816, sold to the dowager duchesse d'Orléans, Louise Marie Adélaïde de Bourbon [1753-1821];
by descent to her son, Louis-Philippe [later King Louis-Philippe I] [1773-1850](Château d'Eu, Eu, France);
by descent to his son, the duc de Nemours, Louis d'Orléans [1814-1896];
by descent to his son, the duc d'Alençon, Ferdinand d'Orléans [1844-1910];
by descent to his brother, the duc de Vendôme, Emmanuel d'Orléans [1872-1931];
December 4, 1931, sold by (Galerie Georges Petit, Paris) estate sale of duc de Vendôme, lot 95;
(Remion-Samary, Paris, France);
1931-1932, acquired by (L. Alavoine) on behalf of Anna Thomson Dodge (Grosse Pointe, Michigan, USA);
1932-1971, Anna Thomson Dodge (Grosse Pointe, Michigan, USA);
1971-present, bequest to the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
Maze-Sencier, Alphonse. Le livre des collectionneurs: Les ébénistes, les ciseleurs-bronziers, les tabatières, 2nd ed. Paris, 1885, pp. 262, 282.

Sales cat., Galerie Georges Petit. Paris, May 10-14, 1886, lot 309.

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Sales cat., Galerie Georges Petit. Paris, December 4, 1931, lot 95.

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"Recent Acquisitions of American and Canadian Museums." The Art Quarterly 34 (Winter 1971): pp. 494-508, pp. 500, 505.

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Ottomeyer, Hans and Peter Pröschel. Vergoldete Bronzen, 2 vols. Munich, 1987, vol. I, p. 252.

Dumonthier, Ernest. Les bronzes du mobilier national : Pendules et cartels. Paris, no date, pl. 18, no. 1, pl. 22, no. 2, pl. 24, no. 1.

Les collections du musée de l'Union central des arts décoratifs, series 6. Paris, no date, pls. 33, 34.

Tardy. La pendule française, 2 vols. Paris, no date, p. 115.

Dell, T., et al. The Dodge Collection of Eighteenth-Century French and English Art at the Detroit Institute of Arts. New York and Detroit, 1996, no. 31, pp. 127-130 (color ill.) p. 129.