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G. Servant

Bronze-caster

(1828-c.1890)

attributed to

Neo-Egyptian clock set

France

Circa 1870

Clock – Height : 56 cm (22 in.) ; Width : 27 cm (10 2/3 in.) ; Depth : 18 cm (7 in.)
Candelabra – Height : 67 cm (26 1/3 in.) ; Width : 26 cm (10 1/4 in.) ; Depth : 24 cm (9 1/2 in.)

Egyptian style clock set, consisting of a black and red marble pyramid shaped clock, surmounted by a patinated bronze figure representing the Egyptian goddess Isis sitting on her throne. Wearing the Hathor hairdress (the solar disc surrounded by the sacred cow horns), she holds in her right hand the Ouadj, the goddesses scepter surmounted by a canopy of papyrus, symbolizing health and eternal youth and in her left hand, the cross of life Ankh, symbol of rebirth and eternity. The ensuite pair of four lights candelabra consists of two patina bronze female figures, representing priestesses of the goddess Isis, dressed with vulture’s wings and holding lotus flowers forming the light arms.

That Egyptian style in fashion since Napoleon the First and his military campaigns in Egypt around 1799 was rediscovered in France in the 1830’s and above all in the 1860’s. Some renowned French artists, such the sculptors and bronze-casters Guillaume Denière (1815-1903), Emile Hébert (1828-1893) et Georges Servant (1828-1890), presented at the 1867 and 1878 Paris Universal Exhibitions, an a-part section dedicated to their Egyptian style production. Their shows drew then considerable attention from the public and the wealthy collectors. During the 1867 Universal Exhibition, one could admire the stand realized by the French silversmith-jeweller Gustave Baugrand (1826-1870), where his works executed in most fine materials took inspiration from the Egyptian Antiques, exhibited then in the Louvre museum.

Biography

Georges Emile Henri Servant (1828-c.1890), who took over his father in 1855 at their foundry, rue Vieille-du-Temple, in Paris, specialized in the production of neo-Egyptian style clocks, very popular in France since 1860’s, and also the making of Greek style decorative objects. He drew considerable attention to the high quality of his bronzes at the 1855 Paris Universal Exhibition and then at the 1862 London Exhibition. At this time Servant exported up to 40% of his production, principally to the United States, where for instance, his clocks were sold with great success by Louis Tiffany Inc. or Hamann & Roche of New York. But his success came really at the 1867 Paris Universal Exhibition, where he was awarded a gold medal for his neo-Greek and Egyptian works (Les Merveilles de l’Exposition Universelle de 1867, t. II, p° 165 & 167). He was even awarded in 1874 the « Ordre national de la Légion d’Honneur », France’s hightest official mark of recognition. Servant participated once again successfully at the 1878 Paris Universal Exhibition, where he not only exhibited vases and small bronze pieces of furniture, but was also a member of the jury for the class of bronze pieces of art. He finally retired shortly before the 1889 Paris Universal Exhibition.

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