Interesting Iron(?) cased French clock by De Lespinasse - Info Welcome

WIngraham

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Hi all, this one just came in. I took a chance, since the pictures were bad. I'm a gambler. Let me know your thoughts. Mine are:

The dial on this clock drew me in, in combination with the case shape. I was expecting wood and/or possible metal mounts. Instead the whole case is iron? Not sure, it is heavy, the front panel adds a lot of the weight. I have not seen a clock case like this before, I think it is a fragment of something larger since there is no bottom. Not sure if the case and movement started life together but they fit together nicely.
On both sides there are doors that open up, pretty interesting. The frame is very well made, is built like a tank. I'm sure it like 40 pounds. There was gold leaf stuck in the spiderwebs inside, but not much left on the outside. The top is the only piece that is wood, it does have some old worm damage. Not sure what to make of this one but it is very striking. The dial is great, nice size at 10.5'' with not much damage. Just needs to be cleaned up a little. The hands are beautifully made.

The movement is all there with its original escapement, both trains function but are extremely dirty. Unfortunately, it didnt come with a pendulum or hammer, so will have to figure that out.
I couldnt find out much on the maker De Lespinasse. The entry in my copy of Loomes just says De Lespinasse - late 18th century. I couldn't find any other examples online, except for passing mention in a journal article about the ébéniste Charles Cressent (which was a fascinating read), where the author noted a clock case of Cressent with a movement by de Lespinasse of Paris. But the clock referenced would be first half 18th century, and with a vastly different case.

If someone has other reference books, like Tardy, maybe you could share. Also, any ideas on the age of movement and its relation to the case are welcome. I find it interesting how the hammer is on the front plate, and the one click spring does double duty. The false plate is also signed faintly Lespinasse, next to a repair signature.

I realized I didn't take a good pic of the whole clock but here's a bunch below. A strange one, but I like it. (Just looked at the time, I'm on vacation and have turned into a night owl!)

Will

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zedric

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Very interesting clock. The multi piece dial and the design of the countwheel both suggest 18th century. How long is the pendulum? Does it fit inside the case, or was this the head of a longer clock. It looks like the design was inspired by the tête de poupée style, like this A Louis XIV period "tête de poupée" clock - Lot 720

Please update us as you find more..
 
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Chris Radano

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Very interesting. I'm not sure the base of the case went down too much further. Perhaps the base was wood like the top, in which case it is now missing? Anyway the case has all the important parts that you can display the clock without much work.
I've never seen anything quite like it, which is why I like to look at auctions.
The closest thing I have is a Swiss bracket clock, but it may help with the pendulum length. And the hammer would friction fit on top of the square arbor.
 

Chris Radano

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The pendulum of mine is 11 3/4" total length. The bob has a diameter of 1 3/8", it is a brass shell only no lead, very light. That should give you something to go on.

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WIngraham

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Zedric, it definitely looks like that shape. I found it in a previous auction where it was listed with that description. It's definitely a beefy clock (30x21), not sure if I'm going to hang it or find a spot. I think I will make a small base so its not wide open.

Thanks Chris for the photos, that helps grease the wheels on finding and/or making something that will work. I will check ebay.fr out, they usually have something if I look long enough. That is a very neat clock.

Will
 

Chris Radano

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I think your clock is interesting. You have a good 18th c. Paris verge movement, it is probably identical to those used in cartel cases. I realized after I posted the pic of the hammer - yours was probably more refined, my hammer is probably a bit rustic. But the pendulum was probably pretty close.
If I didn't know any better I would say your clock was probably intended for some type of commercial or public use, possibly an office or the like. Very unusual to find something like your clock, considering it's age. I would say 3rd quarter 18th c.
 

WIngraham

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I always wonder where something like this was in its first life. Maybe it was in a covered courtyard or somewhere sheltered yet not indoors? Probably not lol maybe? The one piece of wood on it, is pretty deteriorated. The case construction is unusual, I would welcome someone showing me a similar clock. The repair mark for 35/05/31 is probably the last time it was cleaned considering how dirty it is.
Rustic works, that hammer will last forever. I think I've found something that will work. Not sure about the pendulum yet, I will use your reference as a starting point. I have a couple pendulums sitting around that I can temporarily fit to it.
Thank you for the help/info.
I still would like to know if Tardy lists this maker, if anyone reading this has the book.

Will
 

WIngraham

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While disassembling and cleaning the movement, I came across another name and date but this one was scratched inside the plates. Looks like A.J. (?) Silvestre le 17 Aoust 1775 (August 17). Is this another repair mark? I always like to find these, I almost missed it.

Will

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zedric

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It does look to be a repair mark. August is now written Août in French, but aoust is an older spelling so it does suggest it is an original mark..
 

WIngraham

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Hey zedric, did you get that new clock from Canada yet? It does look like a repair mark in old French. Do know what the purpose of this post in the spring barrel is? I have never seen it before. It is in both barrels.

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zedric

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Hey zedric, did you get that new clock from Canada yet?
Not yet - it's arrived in Australia, but is taking its time getting through customs, especially as we are in lockdown at the moment...
 

Ralph

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What Tardy has is :
——————————————————————-
DE L’ESPINASSE, ou LESPINASSE, ou
DELESPINAS Jean - Jacques. Paris,
1772, Rue de Vaugirard, 1777.

—- Voir L’ESPINASSE.
——————————————————————-
Ralph
 
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