CA1003 Important L'Ecole d'Arts et Métiers Retour d'Egypte Clock
An extremely rare, if not unique, French Empire 'Retour d'Egypte' ormolu mounted mahogany clock in form of an Egyptian temple. The circular dial signed 'Ecole Rle d'Arts & Métiers / Chalons / Fernbach', the back plate signed 'Ecole Royale / d'Arts et Metiers de Chalons sur Marne / No 126 - et 'Fernbach heureaux'. In 1806 the Imperial School of Arts and Crafts set up by Napoleon moved from its home in Compiègne to Chalons sur Marne. The first director of the school was Jean Joseph Labate a former military surgeon from Napoleon's Egyptian Campaign and part of the commission to complete the exploration of Upper Egypt. Fernbach was the head of horology at the school. It seems highly likely that Fernbach and the school made this clock specifically for Jean Joseph Labate as a representation of the first pylon at the Temple of Isis on the island of Philae, which he is known to have visited. The griffin mounts represent the granite lions statues at the entrance and the central figure a representation of the goddess Isis who stands either side of the entrance the dial is her orb. The sun pendulum represents the light shining through the doorway. The shape and decoration on the clock also mirrors pieces of furniture made to hold collections of prints and specifically the Napoleonic medal cabinet by Biennais. An intriguing clock and potentially an important slice of Napoleonic history. France, circa 1806.
H40cm x W21cm x D12m
H15 3/4" x W8 1/4" x D4 3/4"