Drocourt, Paris - A Fine & Rare Engraved Giant Panelled Carriage Clock
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 dancing in a woodland setting alongside whom are children playing. The dial has black Roman numerals, blued steel spade hands and is decorated with a celestial scene incorporating a young lady lying on a chaise-lounge and day-dreaming wistfully as she looks to cherubs within the sky above surrounding a depiction of herself ‘in love’. 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. The huge and complex “parent” paintings from which the entire series derives are in in the famous Fragonard Room of the Frick Museum.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.Further additional research is due for publication by Fabian in the near future, throwing further light on the Neave family and the Llysdulas Estate, along with in-depth historical research undertaken on the paintings depicted on the porcelain panels, including the relationship with the artist Fraganord. Please email for further details.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 Extence website.Height: 10 inches (handle up)Please click on images to enlarge: Any additional images are shown below
Pierre and Alfred Drocourt
Pierre Drocourt, born 1819 & his son Alfred, born 1847, were one of the top maker's of carriage clocks in the mid to late Victorian period, having a factory at Saint-Nicolas-d'Aliermont, the most important town for carriage clock manufacture at the time, as well as premises in Paris at Rue Debelleyme 28, previously named Rue de Limoges prior to 1867, where he joined the well-known maker Blanpain. They made superb carriage clocks which were often decorative and were awarded numerous medals at exhibitions, such as the Bronze Medal at Paris 1867, the Silver at Paris 1878 and the gold at Paris in 1889. Alfred succeeded his father Pierre in circa 1871, with the latter’s retirement when he returned to his home village with his wife Marie and daughter Melanie.For further details on the Drocourt family and their clocks, see my 2014 Exhibition catalogue available to view from the catalogue section above, where there is a summary of my research.