A Renaissance style wall-clock
Signed on the dial F. Barbedienne à Paris
Height : 50 cm (19 2/3 in.) ; Width : 41 cm (16 in.) ; Depth : 15 cm (6 in.)
A gilt-bronze wall-clock decorated with Renaissance style motifs, such as scalloped scrolls, pomegranates, a faun head and putti framing the dial.
In decorative arts, the « cuir découpé » motif (cut leather) recalls a cut leather or metal piece, wound like stylized volutes. This decorative motif is characteristic of the French Renaissance as showed in the inner decoration of the Galerie François I (1535) at the Château de Fontainebleau. Used by artists on tapestry and engravings, this motif was back into fashion in the nineteenth century.
Louis-Constant Sévin (1821-1888) designed as soon as 1839 silver-smith’s objects for famous firms like Denière, Froment-Meurice, Morel and Duponchel. During the Revolution in 1848, he joined Morel in London, as workshop manager and designed pieces that Morel exhibited in 1851. Back in France, he worked in 1855 for Ferdinand Barbedienne as sculptor-ornemanist until the end of his life. Sévin’s works are considerable, he designed furniture bronzes for the « hôtel de La Païva ». At the London Exhibition in 1862, he was awarded a medal for the artistic excellence of the furniture he designed and which was exhibited by F. Barbedienne. He won a second class medal at the Union centrale des Arts décoratifs Exhibition in 1863 and was awarded a gold medal as « cooperator ». F. Barbedienne said that posterity would remember Sévin’s compositions. The most extraordinary object designed by C. Sévin for F. Barbedienne, was a Renaissance style gilded bronze monumental clock, four metres high, for which C. Sévin won a gold medal as well as was awarded the Légion of Honour at the Universal Exhibition in 1878. His triumph was still valid at the 1889 Universal Exhibition.
Born in 1810, Ferdinand Barbedienne started one of the most famous 19th century artistic bronze casting companies. He died in 1892. In addition to his personal production, he worked for famous artists such as Clésinger, Carrière-Belleuse and Guillemin. Barbedienne’s production was always highly esteemed and he was, himself admired by contemporary art critics who compared him during the 1878 Universal Exhibition to a « prince of industry and the king of bronze-casting ». He was there awarded the « Grand Prix » as well as 28 cooperator medals. His glory did not decline with the passage of the time for at the Universal Exhibition of 1889 the critics thanked Barbedienne for the example he set for other bronze-casters by the perfection of his bronzes.