Carriage clock, Paris, 18th century, white and black marble, bronze
The hands of this remarkable carriage clock are decorated with a fleur de lys, the symbol of French royalty.
The work is signed on the dial “Piolaine à Paris”.
This is a reference to Michel-François Piolaine, a Parisian clock-maker at the end of the 17th century.
This tiny decorative detail is important, as it enables the clock's manufacture to be dated to a relatively short period: between 1787 and 1790.
Michel-François Piolaine earned the title of Master Clock-Maker in 1787; this means that he was only allowed to sign and sell his works from that date onwards.
As for the date 1790...
It was a bold move to publicly display a fleur de lys at that time!