Drocourt: A Fine & Rare Giant Panelled Carriage Clock with Full Provinence
A quite stunning and rare porcelain panelled giant engraved carriage clock by Drocourt of Paris, with a wonderful provenance.
The eight-day duration movement strikes the hours and half-hours on a gong, with a push button repeat of the last hour at will. The backplate is stamped with the Drocourt trademark along with the serial number 24988, which is repeated to the original large winding key as well as to the base of the travelling box.
The giant gorge case is decorated with fine engraving on a matt ground and has porcelain panels to each side matching the decoration to the dial. The side panels depict couples with cherubs within a woodland setting. The dial has black Roman numerals, blued steel spade hands and is decorated with a celestial scene incorporating a young male lying on a chaise-lounge and dreaming wistfully of love as cherubs and a Venus-like figure hover above. Interestingly the decoration is interwoven with the numerals. All three panels are surrounded by a deep blue border highlighted with gold decoration.
Larry Fabian has undertaken research on these panels and concludes that:
The Drocourt images are from well-known Fragonard sources in which he painted, or authorized engravings to be done for, a series of depictions of allegories of love.
A panel fixed to the front of the case reads: Presented to Miss Neave by the Tenantry of the Llysdulas Estate and well-wishers of the neighbourhood on her 21st Birthday. 24th August 1893.
Further research by Larry Fabian concludes that:
Miss Neave was Mary Gertrude Catherine Neave. Her twenty-first birthday party was a much-heralded affair, which took place at one of the two Neave family ancestral estates, Dagnam Park in Essex and not Llys Dulas in not the one at Llys Dulas in Anglesey. However, the Tenantry & well-wishers were principally those who were associated with the Anglesey estate. She received a large number of extremely handsome presents, among them a carriage clock of exquisite workmanship, value 50 guineas, from the tenantry and well-wishers… at the Llys Dulas estate in Anglesey, which was presented to Miss Neave by a four-person delegation from there who came to Dagnams to present gifts for the occasion. On the day of her coming-out, there was a celebration at both LLys Dulas and Dagnams with lighted grounds, much rejoicing, and a local band, and a specially composed ode to Miss Neave, read in the Welsh dialect. Mary Neave lived until 1951 with The London Gazette giving her as “a spinster’ who resided at a fashionable Mayfair address at the time of her death.
An article by Larry Fabian giving the history of both this clock and the Neave family is being published in December 2018 by the Antiquarian Horological Society in the journal Antiquarian Horology which where he will also discuss the in-depth historical research undertaken on the paintings depicted on the porcelain panels, including the relationship with the artist Fraganord.
Reference: 'Drocourt’s porcelain tributes to Romantic Love and Royal Victory. Art-historical appreciation of rare carriage clocks', Antiquarian Horology; Vol 39, No. 4, December 2018, pp. 513 to 527.
Derek Roberts notes: This giant superbly engraved and gilded gorge cased carriage clock by Drocourt is undoubtedly one of the finest we have had the pleasure of handling.
Leigh Extence notes: For further details of Drocourt see my 2014 Exhibition catalogue: Pierre & Alfred Drocourt: An Exhibition of Carriage Clocks, available via the Catalogue link above.
Provenance: Derval Antiques: The Derek Roberts Collection