A fine and rare giant grande-sonnerie carriage clock by Drocourt, with excellent provenance.
The eight-day duration movement has a large silvered platform lever straight-line club-tooth escapement with a Breguet overcoil to the hairspring, and strikes the hours and quarters on two gongs, with each being sounded at each quarter; grande-sonnerie strike.
To the underside of the case is a lever allowing for the full striking, quarter striking or silent. The backplate is stamped with the Drocourt trademark along with the serial number 17468, with the gong block stamped F.D. for the gong maker.
The silvered dial is beautifully engraved with floriate decoration, with the inset ring having black Roman numerals and further engraving to the dial and has blued steel spade hands.
The substantial case is reminiscent of those made at this period for English carriage clocks with pillared corners which have ringed capitals standing on further blocks and a moulded frieze, and retains its original gilding.
Complete with the original numbered box and large winding key.
The previous owner, a collector from the London area, originally bought the clock from Maurice Pitcher of E. Pitcher & Co. in 1968 at a cost of £1,600.00. Maurice Pitcher was probably the foremost carriage clock dealer of the time having taken over the business from his father Ernest in 1915 on his return from the war; Ernest having died in 1914.
The firm was founded in 1880, as wholesalers of French clocks imported into Britain, and are known to have been the sole importer of clocks manufactured by the Parisian maker V. Blanpain, being a interesting connection as Blanpain shared a workshop with the young Pierre Drocourt at Rue Limoges 8, having been there a couple of years before Drocourt joined him from his own workshops at Rue Coutures-St-Gervais in 1856.
At one point, circa 1900, E. Pitcher & Co were importers into Britain of carriage clocks made by a number of other French makers including E. Maurice; Couaillet Freres; Margaine; Hour and Le Chevallier, the latter most likely being Auguste Lechevallier, the workshop manager for Alfred Drocourt.
See Allix & Bonnert; Carriage Clocks, Their History & Development, Appendix (c) for a personal recollection of the French carriage clock industry by Maurice Pitcher.