Louis XVI's vase-clock
Dating from 1775, this lovely blue-ground vase-clock whose dial is signed by Roque à Paris was acquired by Louis XVI from the Manufacture Royale de Porcelaine de Sèvres (Sèvres Royal Porcelain Factory) in the year 1777. It was used to decorate the mantelpiece in his Bath Chamber, which had just been installed on the first floor. Transferred to the Tuileries Palace in January of 1792, it was probably sold during the Revolution. All trace of it was lost until 1927, when it turned up at an auction of the Anthony de Rothschild collections with a quadrangular base, probably added during the 19th century, as was often the case with Sèvres porcelains of the previous century.
The acquisition of this vase-clock, with its extremely rare shape and its royal provenance, is exceptionally important for the wealth of the collections at the Palace of Versailles. It is in keeping with a policy that has been followed for several decades, consisting in systematically buying pieces of Vincennes-Sèvres royal porcelain that had been at Versailles in the second half of the 18th century. These porcelains can be identified thanks to the Palace inventories drawn up at the beginning of the Revolution and the sales records at the Manufacture Royale. The clock’s acquisition adds to what we already knew of Louis XVI’s true appreciation of the productions of the Manufacture Royale founded at Vincennes in 1740, under his grandfather’s reign.