The central circular dial signed ‘Denière / Ft de Bronzes / A Paris’, within a fine surrounding ormolu case depicting two seated full length figures of a male and female, the male representing Architecture and the female representing Literature, with further decorations of flowers, acanthus leaves, a ribbon and scrolling features, the base with a raised relief depiction of cherubs and garlands.
Established by Jean-François Denière in 1804, Denière & fils were producing a variety of high quality decorative bronzes from workshops at 9, rue d’Orléans au Marais and had a ‘magasin de bronze et dorures’ (shop of gilding and bronze-work), at 15 rue Vivienne, Paris. Awarded ‘fournisseurs du Roi’ (king’s supplier), Denière supplied various objects of art to Napoleon III at the Tuileries including two pairs of ‘Three Graces’ candelabra for the Palais-Royal service in 1854 and ’55 (see M.F. Dupuy-Baylet, Les bronzes du mobilier national 1800-1870 – L’heure, le feu, la lumière, Paris, 2010, no. 166, pp. 304-5). In addition to supplying important commissions to the ‘Mobilier de la Couronne’ (crown’s furniture), Denière’s customers included Count Pavel Dmitrievich Kiseleff, the Russian Ambassador, Said Pasha, the viceroy of Egypt and, as testified by the present garniture, King Leopold II of Belgium. Following Guillaume Denière’s death the firm closed and six sales of stock were held between February and December 1903.