Stunning louis xvi mantel clock signed by dubuc.

May 28, 2019. 19:15 UTC
Stunning Louis XVI Mantel Clock signed by Dubuc.
United States of America


Acquired from

For sale

LOUIS XVI GILT BRONZE AND WHITE MARBLE FIGURAL MANTEL CLOCK French, Last Quarter18th Century Maker: Dubuc; Enamel face signed: Coteau Size in inches: 12.5 H x 10.5 W x 5 D With two winged amorous putti and a young maiden flanking a pedestal of oval section inset with a circular enamel clock face painted with polychrome floral swag border on a white ground; the works and the face inscribed Dubuc a Paris; the face also with painted signature, Coteau Height: 12 1/2 inches (32 em) Width: 10 1/2 inches. Note: "Dubuc, aine. Paris, about 1780-1819. Clockmaker. Supplied American market; mantel clock, Palais de l'Elysee." "Coteau, Jean. Sevres. Born about 1739, died after 1810; painter on enamel; dials in Mobilier Nat., Carnavalet Museum and Dijon Museum." -\from Britten, Frederick James, Old Clocks and Watches and Their Makers. 7th edition, E.P. Dutton & Co. Inc., NY, 1956.


in the family since mid 18 century

$10,000 - $15,000 (United States Dollar)
Answered within about 2 hours
May 28, 21:21 UTC
By David

Updated June 4, 2019:
Hello Stephen,
Thank you for sending further high resolution photos which confirm precisely what you originally said about this particular clock. I have reworded the appraisal for you and updated the value.
Louis XVIth, Gilt bronze, ormolu and variegated white marble, double spring driven, eight-day time and strike, figural mantel clock, theme of a young maiden with two playful putti, made by ‘Dubuc of Paris’, made in Paris, France circa 1790-1800.
Case – 12.5” X 10.5” X 5” Fire gilt bronze figural mantel clock case with a variegated white marble architectural base with its rounded façade projecting forward and ornamented with ormolu rosette mounts to either side and, in bas relief, there is a panel of mythological figures (? putti) at the center flanked by two gilt rectilinear panels. The base sits on toupie brass feet. A vertical cylindrical plinth of white marble holds the clock movement/dial and sits on the flat surface of the platform while surrounded by the polished golden bronze figures of a Classical female (‘Amor’) in a diaphanous garment playing with a winged cherub above the dial while a second gilt cherub looks quizzically at the dial. A laurel wreath sits above the bezel centrally above the knurled edge glazed bezel. Golden foliage is draped around the upper part of the dial. The back of the case has a circular aperture for access to the movement compartment.

Dial – Circular white porcelain dial with Arabic hours which are scalloped to the inside with colorful wreaths of flowers, open dotted minute ring with Arabic days of the month from 1-31 around the dial perimeter for the calendar function of the dial. A small round aperture is seen above the twelve for a silk thread suspension. The gilt skeletonized hands are very much in the style of Louis XVIth. There is a rather broad steel calendar hand which is likely a replacement (these were usually quite thin and delicate). The lower dial center is signed ‘Dubuc a Paris’. The base of the dial is signed in red for the dial painter, Coteau (Joseph Coteau- 1740-1801).

Movement – A round solid brass plate movement connected with tubular pillars which are pinned at the back plate, anchor escapement, steel cut pinions, steel arbors, and short pendulum rod with attached small brass bob hangs from what originally was a silk thread suspension, now rope. The movement is powered by a two barrel-springs of eight day duration and strikes with a countwheel (seen on the backplate) on the hour and half hour on a silvered bell. The movement is signed ‘Dubuc, Paris’.

Case – There is chipping along the upper edge of the white marble platform. The case and figures are in overall very fine condition but do have some oxidative speckling. The figures are well executed. The facial characteristics lack the extreme detail of most Dubuc 18th century clocks. These are well done gilt bronze figures. When one looks at the body of work by Jean-Baptiste Dubuc (1743–1819) it becomes clear that he worked with cases that were primarily fire gilded bronze, and his figures have extraordinary features and facial expressions. The clothing, the carts and all the paraphernalia that stood on his clock platforms were golden bronze and expertly executed. Most of the bases used for his clocks were also finely detailed fire gilt bronze rather than marble.

Dial – The dial is in very good condition with no hairline fractures, but few chips along its edges. The use of colorful floral wreaths scalloping the hours from the inside is not usually found during the late 18th century French clocks, but it is certainly in this example. This is generally NOT seen during the 18th century in France and much more common a century later.
The presence of a small aperture above the twelve was seen during the 18th century (before the invention of the aperture used by Achille Brocot in the 1840s with spring suspensions). It was not commonly seen on Coteau dials but I have found other examples signed by Coteau that used such an aperture.
During the 18th century a small hole is sometimes seen in that position to wind a silk thread suspension, thereby altering the speed of a movement (such I the case here). At this point having examined the dial with high resolution photos I have no reason to doubt that this IS a dial made by Joseph Coteau, the most renowned enameler of his time. (Coteau is known to have worked with most of the best contemporary Parisian clockmakers.)

Movement - All Dubuc movements were made with silk thread suspensions, many had rectilinear rather than round brass plates and all were usually signed with large script signatures or simply printed at the base of the movement, as seen here. His movements all had outside count-wheels for striking.

Overall condition is very fine to excellent and although I believe the figures are not Dubuc on his very best day, it remains a very fine example of French clockmaking and would do well on the auction market. I believe that such a clock, signed by the bronzier/clockmaker, Dubuc, and the dial painter, Coteau, would sell in the $10,000-$15,000 range if put at auction today and on a retail basis you could easily double or triple those figures
At last you present me with some clearly visible evidence to back up your original statements about this clock. The close-up photos make it clear that this mantel clock was made at the end of the 18th century in Paris, France, and made by two of the best artisans in their field.
Thank you for following up and providing me with answers to the questions I originally had about this clock. Best of luck with it and I hope you continue to enjoy it.
My best,

Hello Stephen,
Thank you for sending in this lovely mantel clock. In the interest of accuracy, I will have to ask you a few questions about your clock, your description of it, and the photos you have supplied which are not of high enough resolution to satisfy my curiosity.
(1) - The Movement - You state, "the works and the face inscribed 'Dubuc a Paris' ". Could you supply me with a close up of the signature or the mark on the rear plate that says Dubuc? Please take off the bell from its post when you take your photos. In addition, can you tell me if there is a silk thread suspension on the back plate or is it a spring type of suspension? A close up view of the pendulum suspension at the upper part of the back plate would really help.
(2) - The Dial: You State, "Enamel face signed: Coteau". Can you send me a photo of the signature of Coteau on your dial? In addition, am I correct in assuming the aperture over the twelve on the dial is a Brocot aperture for changing the speed of the movement?
(3) - Could you show me the pendulum and its bob? They are currently hidden by the bell. Simply unscrew the bell.
(4) - Could you send me a good photo of the face of the female figure?
Once I receive an answer from you I will proceed with my appraisal of your clock. If you are unable to supply the photos requested just attempt to answer the questions I posed and i will try to be of help in doing this appraisal.
Thank you for your cooperation.
My best,

Stephen gorgey May 28, 21:45 UTC

OK i'll do

David May 28, 23:46 UTC

Thank you, I will await your response and photos before proceeding with the appraisal.

David May 30, 20:38 UTC

Hi Stephen,
Are you making any progress on obtaining the information and/or the photos of the French clock?

David Jun 01, 13:25 UTC

I have not received any response from you to my last message.
If I do not hear from you today, I will proceed to do your appraisal with the photo you originally supplied. That means that I will describe only what I can see, i.e. no signed movement and no name of the dial painter on the dial since I cannot see it clearly, etc.
It is my hope that you will send me the information I had requested several days ago.

David Jun 04, 13:14 UTC

Thank you for supplying the photos necessary to appraise a clock such as this. In response I have rewritten the appraisal and revalued the item.

Stephen gorgey Jun 14, 06:36 UTC

Hi David thank you for your very meticulously description. You mentioned that the clock could be easily sell on the retail market for 45K. So Isince I want to sell it it would be helpful to appraise it to what you think the clock could sell fo. 45K.

Here are your words below:

"I believe that such a clock, signed by the bronzier/clockmaker, Dubuc, and the dial painter, Coteau, would sell in the $10,000-$15,000 range if put at auction today and on a retail basis you could easily double or triple those figures "

Stephen gorgey Jun 14, 06:38 UTC

I meant meticulous. and also very masterfully worded. You are quite a wordsmith and you are obviously very knowledgable.

David Jun 14, 11:33 UTC

Thank you for your very kind words. I appreciate your comments very much.
English can be a very difficult language because there are so many words that have more than one meaning. My words, "I believe that such a clock, signed by the bronzier/clockmaker, Dubuc, and the dial painter, Coteau, would sell in the $10,000-$15,000 range if put at auction today and on a retail basis you could easily double or triple those figures", indicates that you can sell this clock to a friend, to a retail dealer, to an auction house, actually to anybody for $10-$15000. It also means that you could sell this clock for much more than those figures IF YOU WERE A RETAIL DEALER, WHICH YOU ARE NOT. A retail person would sell this clock to you for $20-$30,000 or more. The word 'you' could mean you personally and the word 'you' can also indicate someone else or anyone. The retailer buys the item for fair market value (10k-15k) and sells the same item for 20k-30k, the difference is that he is in the business of selling clocks to make a living while you are not.
To make this completely clear, my job as the appraiser is to provide you, the client, with a FAIR MARKET VALUE. The higher prices I quoted are RETAIL VALUE, which means the price a DEALER would charge a CUSTOMER.
I hope this explanation is helpful to you.
With best wishes.

Stephen gorgey Jun 16, 19:28 UTC

Hi David:

What you say makes total sense. However since the rapid evolution of the Internet, the game has changed somewhat and the lines once clear between wholesale and retail have blurred somewhat. Business/owners/manufacturers often reach out to the end user directly. Ebay, craigslist, Facebook marketplace are examples of such channels. Also anyone can launch a site using Woorank, Shopify or Oberlo. Midddle men are being gradually cut out.

Being myself an Internet professional for the last 20 years see the link below:
I usually bypass the middle man and go directly to the end consumer using digital marketing techniques such as SEO.

I could actually massively increase Mearto's and your consulting practice's business by raising your profile on the first page of Google generic terms pertaining to your business if you are interested. I already figured out a way.

Mearto is ranking for some generic terms like "art appraiser" but they are missing many more. I feel confident that I could probably double their business within a year. (few people would believe that). but this is true.

All this to say that I intend to market directly to the end user and sell them the clock at the retail price. Knowing that, it feels only fair to me if you could assign to the clock its retail value. Otherwise I will have to get an other appaisal.

I thank you for your consideration.

David Jun 17, 02:13 UTC

1- Regarding your suggestions for marketing, I appreciate what you have said but I am not part of the administration and have nothing to do with that. If you want to follow up on that matter you should contact one of the owners, Johan Laidlaw or Mads Hallas Bjerg through their administrative office at: [email protected]
2 - Regarding pricing, I have been well aware for many years now, of the puzzling relationship between fair market and retail values as they relate to the newer technological possibilities of sales, and I try to keep those in mind when I do my appraisal work. I can quote to you what the Appraisers Association of America defines as fair market value , but it would sound very boring. My job is simply to provide you with the AAA definition of fair market value (it has not changed) in today's market place. My job is NOT to determine Retail Value and I only mentioned it as a passing comment since I know clock dealers around the globe who would elevate the price of this clock way beyond what it is truly worth. I only mentioned a Retail Value to point out that any retailer can ask pretty much whatever they want. Your clock is worth, in my opinion only, the value I placed on it and I still feel the same way. Trying to sell it, you are free to ask whatever you wish, but my job was to give you some idea of what I think it is worth today. So, I am going to leave the value as is, and if you feel you need to get a second opinion you should do that. And just to let you know (so that you do not make a mistake in seeking a second opinion) that you should not use either Barnebys or since I appraise all of their clocks as well.
I wish you the best of luck with your French clock, but I do think we should end this discussion at this point as I am bound by my employer's rules to all appraisers that we supply each client with a range of Fair Market Values.
My Best,

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