Rare blue and white hard-paste biscuit clock in the style of Wedgwood, model "with children reading and drawing", sitting against a central terminal receiving the clock surrounded by gilt-bronze and surmounted by a covered urn, the part lower decorated with a frieze of neoclassical scrolls in three cartridges, each bordered by a gilt-bronze frieze. It rests on eight baluster feet with foliage decoration in gilt-bronze (one replaced).
By the factory of Dihl & Guerhard, former manufacture of the Duke of Angoulême in Paris (unsigned).
Consulate period (1799-1804).
Enamel dial with Arabic numerals and seconds signed "Schmit à Paris" (Jean-Nicolas Schmit, died in 1820, one of Dihl's watchmakers in Paris).
Overall good condition, movement without guarantee.
H. 34 x L. 40 x D. 10 cm.
Collection of the curator Thierry-Nicolas Tchakaloff.
The two subjects of the Reading Child and the Drawing Child were produced by Charles Gabriel Sauvage said Lemire (Lunéville, 1741-Paris, 1827), sculptor and modeler who trained in Niderviller from 1781, then in the service of Dihl from 1802 (or even 1793, when Niderviller was bought by the French State). The Reading Child appears in the portrait of Christopher Dihl (1753-1830) by Charles-Étienne Le Guay (1762-1846) in the National Ceramics Museum of Sèvres (ill. 5).
One finds in the sale after death of Dihl in 1830 all the models belonging to the manufacture, among which are mentioned "Figures of Mr. Lemire (...) a child reading", and among the clocks of Lemire "A child who draw ". A second sale took place in June 1831, which featured "figures of children reading and drawing from Dihl's models".
Hard-paste porcelain factory established on 25 February 1781 in the rue de Bondy, Paris, by Christophe Dihl, an expert colourist and modeller of German birth, (1752-1830), Antoine Guérhard (d.1793) who supplied the capital, and his wife Louise-Françoise-Madeleine Croizé (1751-1831) who ran the business side of the company, the factory has been registered in November 1781, under the protection of the duc d'Angoulême (1775-1844), aged only five. Royal protection enabled the factory to make and sell coloured and gilt porcelain despite the monopoly granted to Sèvres in 1766. The factory moved to new premises in rue du Temple in 1789. Guérhard died in 1793, and the factory was henceforth run by Dihl with Guérhard's widow, whom he married in 1797. It enjoyed considerable success in the 1790s, rivalling Sèvres in quality, but the loss of export markets during the Continental blockade led to financial problems, and Dihl had to borrow large sums in 1807 and 1809. Eventually the business was wound up in 1828. Dihl died a ruined man in February 1830, and his wife died in July 1831.