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Artist: Basile Charles Le Roy (1765-1839; active Paris, France 1788-1825)

Maker: Le Roy & Fils (Paris, France; active 1828-1888)

Date: c. 1850
Medium: Gold, enamel
66.7 x 50.8 x 9.5 mm
Markings: Movement: incuse lozenge enclosing "coq de France, 2997" Case: "2997, neuchatel chevron for 18K" Interior edge of band: "LE ROY A PARIS / ENCHAPPEMENT A CYLINDRE, ROUE, TREMPEE, HUIT TROUS EN RUBIS"
Credit Line: Proctor Collection, Thomas R. Proctor Watch Collection
Object number: PC. 298
Text Entries

The French firm of Le Roy and Fils has a long and illustrious history of supplying clocks and watches to royalty and important personages almost from its beginnings in the eighteenth century. Basile-Charles Le Roy (1765-1839) made timepieces for King Louis XVI (1754-93) and Queen Marie Antoinette (1755-93) and most of the French elite at the time, including Napoleon Bonaparte and his family; at one time he was appointed clockmaker to Madame Mere (1750-1836), Napoleon’s mother. Le Roy exhibited in the Paris Exhibitions of 1798, 1819, 1823, and 1834, after which the firm was appointed Horloger du Roi. When his son entered the business in 1828 the firm became known as Le Roy and Fils, a name it retained even after its 1845 sale to Casimir Halley Desfontaines (1794-ca. 1883).

Le Roy and Fils produced fine watches, often with enameled cases supplied from a Swiss workshop. This watch is an example. It is decorated with architectural elements, the cuvette with a Chinese pagoda and the case with a Gothic arch. By the mid-nineteenth century, chinoiserie decoration and revivials of Gothic architecture were both in vogue. The cuvette features champlevé enamel polygons in lime green, green, blue, pink, yellow, and black upon which is superimposed a white enamel Chinese pagoda. Within the pagoda is a woman looking out a window at an oblique angle, which leads the eye deeper into spacef beyond the surface of the painting.

The case is engraved with gold leafy scrolls against a black champlevé-enamel ground surrounding a polychrome Gothic portico; in the foreground is an oblique view of a building, water, and two Viking-style ships. A caption reads “Academie des Arts.” The band and pendant are chased with foliage and shells.