Bronze Dore George Washington Allegorical Mantel Clock
ca. 1815-1830, Paris, the case with an enamel dial, flanked by a standing figure of George Washington grasping his sword in one hand, a scroll in the other, the case surmounted by an eagle modeled after the one on the "Great Seal of the United States", the period silk thread suspension now converted to the later steel spring suspension.
h. 12-1/2", w. 8-3/4", d. 4-1/2"
Provenance: By family repute, the clock was acquired by Indiana farmer and War of 1812 veteran William A. Hart (1789-1858); his son, Samuel McHenry Hart (1816-1898), who is interred in Magnolia Cemetery, Baton Rouge, Louisiana; his son Robert A. Hart (1858-1939), who became a land developer and eventual mayor of Baton Rouge. In 1904, Hart purchased the French Creole house Magnolia Mound, now a house museum maintained by the city of Baton Rouge; Magnolia Mound, along with its contents (including the clock) was sold in 1929 to Hart's niece Marie Blanche Duncan (1876-1958); the clock descended to her cousin Anna Belle Hart (Mrs. John T.) Anderson (1907-1996); her nephew Winder Hart Dunbar (1930-2015); Private collection, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Notes: The present clock, after a design by Parisian bronzier Jacques Nicolas-Pierre-Francois Dubuc, is part of a group of commemorative clocks created for the American market that celebrated the new republic and the recent conclusion of the War of 1812. An 1815 letter from Dubuc to an American discussed his intention to produce these clocks in two sizes. There are a number of variations of the Dubuc clock, most of which are either approximately 15" or 20" high (both are larger than the present clock).
The figure of Washington is based on John Trumbull's 1792 painting, "Washington Before the Battle of Trenton". The banner declaring "First in War, First in Peace, First in the Hearts of his Countrymen", and the eagle perched atop the works, appear to be common elements to all.
Examples of this smaller-scaled clock rarely surface. Period correspondence by Dubuc indicates that his intention was to make this clock in two sizes. It is unclear whether this third, smaller clock is a later form by Dubuc, or the work of a competing bronzier, who sought to capitalize on the success of the model. Similar examples to the present clock are, or have been, in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Chrysler Museum, New York, and The White House, Washington, D.C.
Examples of the larger forms are conserved by several institutions, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Winterthur Museum, Delaware; White House, Washington, D.C.; and the U.S. Department of State DiplomaticReception Rooms, Washington, D.C.
Kenny, Peter. "Going for the Gold - Two French Ormolu Washington Clocks at Classical American Homes Preservation Trust". Classical American Homes Preservation Trust, Winter 2015. Web. 6 July 2018; "Recent Discoveries" (discussion of recent scholarship by Lara Pascali on the Dubuc clocks); Winterthur Museum Collection, Undated. Web. 1 July 2018; Snellenburg, Jonathan, "George Washington: A Survey of Memorial Clocks", Antiques and Fine Art, Winter 2001. Web. 1 July 2018.