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Pendule au Manège by Jean-François de Belle, estimated at €30,000-40,000 at Hampel.

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It is signed on the enamel dial De Belle, rue St Honoré à Paris. Jean-François de Belle was a well-known Parisian clockmaker who became a master in 1781.

During the French Revolution he was a member of a commission responsible for the introduction of the short-lived decimal time system.

While the identity of the clockmaker is known, one cannot say who was responsible for the design of the distinctive gilt bronze case. The octagonal base is decorated with reliefs of griffons and satyrs, flanked by two horse’s heads. Surmounting the case is an automated carousel, which is activated on the hour. Three cherubim ride on swans, one as Cupid, one as a youthful Mercury and one as a jester.

Above a laurel wreath, mounted on a standard to the left of the main case is a banner bearing the inscription Prix du vainqueur.

Several examples of this model are known, fitted with movements by various clockmakers. Not surprisingly, many of the owners were members of the European aristocracy, among them the Marquis of Tweedale and the Austro-Hungarian Count Nicolaus Esterhazy.

It is not known how much these clocks cost in the early 19th century. The guide in Munich is €30,000-40,000.

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