The drum barrel surmounted by a simulated fountain, flanked by dolphins issuing jets of stylised water forming the handles, above a double headed lion mask holding bull rushes in its mouth, on a shaped marble base mounted with low relief plaques of scrolling arabesques and centred by a caduceus, the white enamel dial with jewelled hands and signed 'Dd.Fc. DUBOIS / A PARIS', the twin barrel movement with verge escapement, silk suspension and rack striking to bell, the strike work mounted on the backplate, inscribed 1778 between the marble base and plinth.
The present model derives from the celebrated Sèvres vase pendules à dauphins, a model of which, originally from Cabinet des Bains, Château de Versailles, was sold Christie's, London, 4 July 2013, lot 22. With conforming water jets and dolphins it has been suggested the design concept is by either Jean-Claude Duplessis or Etienne-Maurice Falconnet.
P. Kjellberg, L'Encyclopédie de la Pendule Française du Moyen Age au XXe, Paris, 1997, pp. 176-177, fig. D. A clock of the same design by Dubois executed in white marble, with Maurice Segoura, Paris.
R. Savill, The Wallace Collection, Catalogue of Sèvres Porcelain, London, 1988, p. 282, note 4.
Tardy, French Clocks The World Over Part II: From Louis XVI style to Louis XVIII-Charles X period, Paris, 1981, p. 41. Another by Musson, from the 'Au Balancier de Cristal Collection'. Tardy further lists another by Lepaute at Fontainebleau.
David-Frédéric Dubois (b. La Chaux-de-Fonds, d. bf 1789), received as maître on 7 August 1780. Established Rue Saint-Honoré by 1781.
Whilst the present lot is not signed, a design for an almost identical case by Beaucour exists and is listed as N° 101 in an album preserved in the Bibliothèque Jacques Doucet in Paris.
Victoria and Albert Museum in London