PASSEMENT - IMPORTANT LOUIS XV TELLURIAN ORRERY CLOCK Invanté par Passemant Ingenieur du Roy au Louvre A Paris. Made circa 1765. Highly important and extremely rare, painted and gilt-wood, two-week going, hour and half-hour striking table clock with Tellurian Orrery showing relative motions of the Sun, Earth and Moon with an option for manual demonstration.
Overhaul recommended, at buyer's expense
NotesThis Orrery clock is a very rare surviving example made for the court of Louis XV. The movement and fully signed Orrery movement are of very good quality, the clock geared to drive the Orrery. The combination of highly decorative case and technically complicated scientifi c instrument shows that this impressive piece was intended for display both as an object d’art and for serious scientifi c study in the home of a very rich and probably aristocratic patron. Exhibited: Musée des Arts Decoratifs, Paris, 1932. Provenance : The Beyer Museum, Zurich. Sold Antiquorum, Geneve, The Private Collection of Theodor Beyer, November 16th, 2003, lot 23.
Passemant – “The King’s Engineer” C. S. Passemant was evidently a very advanced clockmaker and specialized in highly unusual and complicated clocks with astronomical complications. A clock made by Passemant for Louis XV for Versailles between 1746 and 1749 is recorded, described as “A moving sphere for the King, the case made by Caffi eri father and son”, this was shown in 1749 and kept by the King in 1750. Passemant published a work on the conical pendulum in 1746 and in 1749 a description of the “moving Sphere”. From 1763, Passemant’s clocks were signed in the manner of the present clock.
The Orrery The fi rst modern Orrery was built circa 1704 by George Graham and Thomas Tompion. Graham gave the fi rst model (or its design) to the celebrated instrument maker John Rowley of London to make a copy for Prince Eugene of Savoy. Rowley was commissioned to make another copy for his patron Charles Boyle, 4th Earl of Cork and Orrery, from which the device took its name. This model was presented to Charles' son John, later the 5th Earl. Its importance was partially in that a mechanical model of the universe, correctly named a planetarium now gained the name Orrery. An Orrery should properly include the sun, earth and the (earth's) moon plus optionally other planets. A model that only includes the earth, its moon and the sun is called a tellurian, the name deriving from the latin “tellus” meaning earth. A tellurian shows the earth with the moon revolving around the sun. It uses the angle of inclination of the equator to show how it rotates around its own axis and shows the earth’s moon, rotating around the earth.