The repoussé-work on this watch has remained in near mint condition thanks to the triple protective case. This type of watch is usually found in gold or even in silver. Very few examples made in copper metal, then gilded, exist. Note also that this watch has just been entirely cleaned by a watchmaker specialising in antique watches.
The décor of this watch represents the “Marriage of Alexander and Roxana” (or “Alexander Crowning Roxana”), after a work by Antoine Coypel (1661-1722). This work is known by the tapestry kept at Paris in the Mobilier national de France and the fragment of the carton kept in Paris at the Louvre (Inv. 3 479). See Garnier-Pelle, 1989, pp. 98-99, No. 16, fig. 30. It should also be noted that one or two paintings on this subject, produced in Coypel’s circle, are known today.
The repoussé-work may be attributed to Wieland after another known watch with a very similar motif signed by this London goldsmith and chaser. See Edgcumbe, 2000, fig. 136.
Joseph Martineau Senior
English watchmaker from a French Huguenot family, many of whose members practised in Rouen in Normandy (North-West France).
This highly skilled watchmaker enjoyed a great reputation in London. He was active there between 1744 and 1770 (or 1794?), establishing himself first in Orange Street, then in St. Martin’s Court.
Examples of his work can be found in the catalogues of old and prestigious collections, such as those of Ilbert, Chamberlain and Pierpont Morgan.
Several of his watches, both simple and repeating, clock-watches and nécessaire, are now kept in many museums:
· Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum (Inv. 15 086).
· Dresden, Mathematische Physikalische Salon.
· Geneva, Patek Philippe Museum.
· New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art (former J. Pierpont Morgan collection, Inv. 17.190.1507a,b; former Admiral Frederic R. Harris collection, Inv. 46.147.2a–p).
A very important and impressive silver carriage clock-watch, with quarter-repeater, music and bell chimes, case chiselled by Christopher Heckel, was part of the Marcel van Cauwenbergh collection, Brussels, and was sold at auction by our company in 1989 in Hong Kong; see:
· Antiquorum, Hong Kong, auction, May 29, 1989, lot 569, sold for the amount of HK$ 1 245 750.- (~ CHF 250 000.-).
Richard Edgcumbe in his remarkable book “The Art of the Gold Chaser” (Oxford and London, 2000) refers to this watch but also to some other Martineau watches with repoussé cases signed by Henry Moser, Parbury, Wieland and John Gastrell.
· Edgcumbe, Richard, The Art of the Gold Chaser in Eighteenth-Century London, Oxford University Press in association with the Victoria and Albert Museum, 2000, pp. 61, 139, 140, 150, 151, 171, fig. 42 a-b, fig. 85 (repoussé-work signed by Moser), fig. 123 (repoussé-work signed by Moser), fig. 131 (repoussé-work signed by Parbury), fig. 136 a-b (repoussé-work signed by Wieland).
· Garnier-Pelle, Nicole, Antoine Coypel (1661-1722), Paris, Editions Arthena, 1989, pp. 98-99, No. 16, fig. 30.
· Lefrançois, Thierry, Charles Coypel (1694-1752), Peintre du roi, Paris, Editions Arthena, 1994.