A French Empire ‘portefaix’ bon sauvage mantel clock, circa 1800
8-day movement with half hour striking, finely cast and chiseled ormolu and patinated bronze case.
8-cm enamel dial with Roman numerals signed à Paris and blued steel Breguet hands, 8-day spring-driven movement with anchor escapement and silk suspended pendulum, countwheel half hour striking, fitted in a ‘bale’ case carried by a finely cast and chiseled ormolu and bronze porter with cane and letter, on an oval base with pierced reliefs incorporating parrots and a monkey on palm leaves, the whole raised on bun feet.
At the end of the 18th Century the concept of the ‘noble savage’ (bon sauvage) was introduced by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. In the novels Paul et Virgine by Bernardin de Saint-Pierre and Atala by Chateaubriand which were bestsellers these noble savages also appeared. In this way the bronziers were inspired to design the ‘au bon sauvage’ mantel clocks.