An Important Louis XVI Style Gilt-Bronze Mounted Parquetry Regulateur
An Important Louis XVI Style Gilt-Bronze Mounted Parquetry Regulateur, After The Model By Balthazar Lieutand and Philippe Caffiéri, By François Linke. The...
DimensionsHeight: 252 cm (100 in)
Width: 56 cm (23 in)
Depth: 36 cm (15 in)
An Important Louis XVI Style Gilt-Bronze Mounted Parquetry Regulateur, After The Model By Balthazar Lieutand and Philippe Caffiéri, By François Linke.
The dial signed ‘F. LINKE / A PARIS’, the door signed ‘Linke’
Linke Index Number ‘768’.
Surmounted by Apollo’s horse-driven chariot amidst swirling clouds, above a square clock case centred by a circular dial within a bezel cast with Zodiac symbols, the dial signed ‘F. LINKE / A PARIS’, with twin-barrel movement, deadbeat escapement and quarter striking to two bells, with nine bar gridiron pendulum, the movement stamped ‘ETIENNE MAXANT / BREVETE PARIS’ under a ship and ‘20519’, the side panels each with a hinged door, over a glazed front applied with a ribbon-tied laurel wreath and enclosing a pendulum, raised on a stepped plinth with berried-laurel band over relief panels emblematic of the Four Seasons applied to the front and sides, the moulding to the door signed ‘Linke’.
Linke produced three versions of this regulator clock, based on the celebrated eighteenth-century model by Balthazar Liéutaud (d. 1780) and Philippe Caffièri (d. 1774), now in the Frick Collection, New York. The present version, which features Apollo in his horse-drawn chariot and three bas-relief plaques of the seasons to the plinth base, a second version with Léon Messagé’s celebrated enfant guerrier as the surmount, with a single bas relief plaque to the front of the clock and a third version also incorporating the enfant guerrier, but with a newly designed front bas relief panel.
The present model, with the Apollo surmount, was exhibited at the 1905 Salon du Mobilier in Paris (see Payne, op. cit., p. 187, pl. 203); while the second version with the enfant guerrier, was shown at the 1902 ‘Salon des Industries du Mobilier’ in Paris (see Payne, op. cit., p. 170, pl. 184). The third version incorporating the enfant guerrier and the new classical bas relief plaque, is not recorded as being exhibited but features prominently in two photographs of Linke’s Place Vendôme showrooms taken after 1903, (see Payne, op. cit, pp. 160-1, pl. 171-2).
The regulator is based upon the eighteenth-century model by Balthazar Lietaud with mounts by Philippe Caffieri, dated to 1767, now housed in the Frick Collection, New York. Other eighteenth century examples can be found in the Wallace Collection, the Palace of Versailles and in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
Towards the end of the nineteenth century a number of these celebrated clocks were included in popular public loan exhibitions possibly inspiring distinguished ébénistes, such as Linke and Alfred Beurdeley, to create their own versions. The enormous cost of producing the bronze mounts meant that only very few examples were created as items of haut-luxe.
An eighteenth-century model veneered in ebony, and now at Versailles, was exhibited at the ‘Exposition rétrospective de l’union centrale des arts décoratifs’, Paris 1882, by the Musée Conservatoire national des arts et métiers. The example now in the Frick Collection, was exhibited at the Hotel de Chimay, Exposition de l’art français sous Louis XIV et sous Louis XV in 1888, and again at the Petit Palais Musée Retrospectif, at the Exposition Universelle of 1900.
The clock maker Etienne Maxant was located at 4 Rue Saintonge, Paris between 1880 and 1905 and is known to have supplied movements for most of François Linke’s long case clocks (Payne, p. 131).
France, Circa 1900.
The dial signed 'F. LINKE / A PARIS', the door signed 'Linke'
François Linke (1855 – 1946) was the most important Parisian cabinet maker of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and possibly the most sought after cabinet maker of his period.
He was born in 1855 in the small village of Pankraz, in what is now the Czech Republic. Records show that Linke served an apprenticeship with the master cabinetmaker Neumann, then in 1875 at the age of 20 he arrived in Paris where he lived until he died in 1946.
It is known that the fledgling Linke workshops were active in Paris in the Faubourg St. Antoine as early as 1881, and during this time he supplied furniture for other more established makers such as Jansen and Krieger.
The quality of Linke’s craftsmanship was unsurpassed by any of his contemporaries and reached its peak with his spectacular stand at the Paris Exposition Universelle in 1900, where his Grand Bureau took the gold medal. He gambled his fortune and reputation on this stand, exhibiting several breathtaking items of furniture with sculptural mounts of the most exceptional quality and proportion. His gamble worked and his reputation was established to such an extent that Linke continued to be the pre-eminent furniture house in Paris until the Second World War.
As the Art Journal reported in 1900 on Linke’s stand:
‘The work of M. Linke … was an example of what can be done by seeking inspiration amongst the classic examples of Louis XV and XVI without in any great sense copying these great works. M. Linke’s work was original in the true sense of the word, and as such commended itself to the intelligent seeker after the really artistic things of the Exhibition. Wonderful talent was employed in producing the magnificent pieces of furniture displayed….’
The formation of Linke’s distinctive style was made possible by his collaboration with the sculptor Léon Messagé. Together Linke and Messagé designed furniture for Linke’s 1900 exhibition stand, with exuberant allegorical figures cast in high relief, that exemplified Linke’s ability to seamlessly merge the different mediums of wood carving, bronze and marquetry into a dynamic unified whole.
Today Linke is best known for the exceptionally high quality of his work, as well as his individualism and inventiveness. All of his work has the finest, most lavish mounts, very often applied to comparatively simple carcasses. The technical brilliance of his work and the artistic change that it represented were never to be repeated.
Payne, Christopher. François Linke, (1855 – 1946), The Belle Époque of French Furniture, Antique Collectors’ Club, (Woodbridge, UK), 2003.
Meyer, Jonathan. Great Exhibitions – London, New York, Paris, Philadelphia, 1851-1900, Antique Collectors’ Club, (Woodbridge, UK), 2006; pp. 298 – 300.
Ledoux – Lebard, Denise. Les Ébénistes du XIXe siècle, Les Editions de l’Amateur, (Paris), 1984; pp. 439-43.
Revue Artistique & Industrielle, (Paris), July-August 1900.
Coral Thomsen, D. (ed), The Paris Exhibition 1900, The Art Journal, 1901; p.341.