The Name Says it All: The Augustus III Clock by Jean-Pierre Latz

  • December 14, 2013 16:14

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The Augustus III Clock by Jean-Pierre Latz, circa 1745, stands nearly nine-feet high
M.S. Rau Antiques, New Orleans
The original mercury-gilded bronze envelopes the entire clock and is rendered in a stunning hunting motif
M.S. Rau Antiques, New Orleans

Few things in the fine art and antiques world get the heart racing quite like provenance. Imagine touching an object that once belonged to a king, or even a celebrity. Now imagine the thrill of actually owning that precious object! Important maker, rarity and quality are immensely important, but when you have a fantastic provenance, you have something truly special–a tangible piece of history.

Created for King Augustus III of Saxony and Poland by the great French ébéniste Jean-Pierre Latz, this astonishing clock is arguably one of the greatest and most important French timepieces to ever come on the market.

Considered among the premier ébénistes of the 18th century, Latz counted numerous members of royalty throughout Europe as patrons. His incredible creations can be found in world’s most prestigious museums and collections, including the J. Paul Getty, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the British Royal Collection Trust and the Staaliche Kunstammlungen Museums in Germany.

According to articles and documentation authored by former Cleveland Museum of Art Curator Henry H. Hawley, the renowned authority on Latz’s work, this clock bears all of the hallmark traits of the famed ébéniste’s workmanship and was almost certainly created for Augustus III. The tremendous quality of this timepiece and its slightly later base are identical to the Latz clock held in the former King’s residence, Schloss Moritzburg. This indicates that our Latz clock was made for the King and is the pair to the Mortizburg timepiece. The King was an important art collector and a great patron of the arts. According to Hawley, the ébéniste often referenced in official documents Augustus III’s personal agent in Paris, Monsieur Leleu.

The clock and its matching pedestal are masterfully crafted of ebony and enveloped in the most spectacular polychrome Boulle marquetry comprising mother-of-pearl and dyed horn inlaid into golden brass of the absolute highest order. Stunning, original mercury-gilded bronze mounts of exceptional quality adorn the pedestal and the clock. The design of both the bronze and marquetry highlights the theme of hunting. The goddess Diana, with bow and arrow drawn, tops this majestic timepiece, while stags support the clock atop the pedestal, and images of boar heads flank either side.

Owned by one of the most powerful men in the world, and handcrafted by one of the greatest ébénistes of the 18th century, this clock is a profound work of art of incredible historical importance.

Boulle marquetry of mother-of-pearl and dyed horn cover the entirety of this royal timepiece
M.S. Rau Antiques, New Orleans

Click here to view more items of important provenance in M.S. Rau Antiques’ selection.

About M.S. Rau Antiques:

M.S. Rau Antiques has spent over 100 years earning the trust of discerning collectors world-wide. Located in the heart of New Orleans’ historic French Quarter, our peerless showroom houses one of the world’s most extensive and stunning collections of important fine art by artists such as Monet and van Gogh, rare 18th-and 19th-century antiques and breathtaking jewelry, including rare colored diamonds.


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Beauty, Rarity, History: The M.S. Rau Blog

A New Orleans institution for over 100 years, M.S. Rau is among the premier fine art and antiques galleries in the world. Located in the heart of the French Quarter, our gallery overflows with incredible antiques by names including Tiffany & Co., Paul Revere and Fabergé. Our unparalleled selection of important, original paintings and sculpture spans the 16th through the 21st century, including legendary artists such as Brueghel, Monet and Rockwell, while our diverse selection of exquisite jewels, including rare colored diamonds, Kashmir sapphires and Burma rubies is without equal.

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