DIM. 110 x 67 mm.
"Setting out to the Fair"
Is a print, coloured stiple engraving, after a painting of Francis Wheatley (1747-1801), RA, by Francis Eginton (1737-1805), published by Jee and Eginton, in 1792. The scene showing
probably the mother in the doorway giving a last advice to the lovers when they set out to the fair. The young man cap in hand bids her Farewell (detail not taken up by the painter on
enamel). This print was published in the same time that "The Fairings" showing probably a mother sitting in a room at the window with a book on her lap, the two lovers stand to her
The charming painted enamel scene decorating the present watch derives from English genre paintings by artists from the Royal Academy, such as William Hamilton (1751-1801),
RA, Francis Wheatley (1747-1801), RA William Redmore Bigg (1755-1828), RA, etc., who specialised in images of romanticised English rural life in the last quarter of the 18th century.
Their paintings were engraved by Francesco Bartolozzi
(1727-1815), William Peltro Tomkins (1760-1840), Thomas
Burke (1749-1815), John Raphael Smith (1752-1812), Henry
Gillbank (fl. late-18th-early 19th c.), etc., and sold as prints
which were published by John Boydell (1719-1804) and
Josiah Boydell (1752-1817), engravers and printsellers,
James Daniell (fl.1771-1814) and others. These genre prints
were enormously popular and were used as models for
Geneva enamellers, including Jean-Louis Richter (1766-
Urn-shaped watches of this type, fitted with a seal foot, are
extremely rare and rarely appear on the art market. The
movement, although made in Geneva is very much inspired
by the English style with its engraving. Very few examples
of this type of luxury watches - only five examples known
today including this one, of which one is kept in Geneva in
the Patek Philippe Museum -, with slightly differences of
shaped, most certainly made for the Chinese market, exist:
Sotheby's, London, auction, October 1st, 1997, lot 71.Patek
Philippe Museum, Geneva, Inv. S-324.
Antiquorum, Hong Kong, auction, June 9, 1997, lot 425, for
the amount of HKD 768 000.- (including buyer's premium).
Antiquorum, Hong Kong, auction, June 9, 1997, lot 426, for
the amount of HKD 614 000.- (including buyer's premium);
Christie's, Geneva, auction, November 15, 2010, lot 90, for the amount of
CHF 147 000.- (including buyer's premium).
Antiquorum, Hong Kong, auction, June 9, 1997, lot 427, for the amount of HKD 428 000.- (including buyer's premium);
Antiquorum, Hong Kong, auction, February 20, 2005, lot 229, for the amount of HKD 975 000.- (including buyer's premium).
Jean-Louis Richter (1766-1841), Geneva
Learned his art under David-Etienne Roux and Philippe-Samuel-Théodore Roux, becoming a most renowned enamel
painter. His speciality was the painting of landscapes and particularly lake-side scenes and marine-scapes, often
representing ships in a harbour or battles with fighting Men-of-War, but, on occasion, also portraits and hunting scenes.
He did not often sign his work, but it is clearly recognised as being in his hand from the style and quality of the painting.
He applied his art principally to watch cases and snuff-boxes and these were largely destined for the Chinese, Turkish,
British and Italian markets. In 1828, he was in partnership with Aimé-Julien Troll (1781-1852) and one can find work signed
Richter et Troll. Richter, like other great enamel painters of the time, often found inspiration for his work from paintings or
engravings by the artists then in fashion particularly Claude Verne or the romanticised English and Irish rural life.