Claude Galle (1759-1815) et Bailly (1780-1821)
Pendule « L’Amitié voilant les heures »
Entre 1806 et 1815
Bronze doré et marbre vert de mer 70 × 40 × 28 cm
Legs Paul Marmottan (1932)
This clock in the form of an antique-style boundary stone is supported by winged, clawed feet. In front of this a young woman with her back to us, dressed in the antique style, is partially hiding the dial with her drapery. A different sized version of the same model was exhibited by Gérard Jean Galle at the Exposition des Produits de l’Industrie in 1819. This clock may have been inspired by a piece made by his father, Claude Galle, which won a prize at the 1806 exhibition, and on which, runs the description, “a woman veils a dial, allowing us to see only the time marked by the clock.” The bronze makers and gilders Claude Galle and his son Gérard Jean, together with the horologist Bailly, who made the movement, were much in demand to furnish the imperial and royal palaces. The collections of the Mobilier National have a second of these “hour-hiding” clocks studied by Bernard Chevallier. One of them is described in the April 11, 1809 issue of Le Journal de Paris: “a woman [with one hand] leaning on the hour circle holds a crown of flowers, an emblem of spring and of life; with the other, she is trying to hide the time with her drapery.” This last model, on sale in the Galle shop, is thought to be by Louis Boizot. “The cold and unfortunate image of the succession of hours would be a sad object in our salons; hence many new clocks of which the dial is not visible,” commented Le Journal des dames et des modes on March 20, 1811.