ROYAL PALACE MASTERPIECES: the Sabines Mantel Clock
The mantel clocks are examples of great artistic interest, they have Francesco Manfredini’s signature and the title of Horology of the King: the Sabine clock, the Muse Polimnia clock and the Apollo and Diana clock - bearing the Manfredini’s signature on the dial - are all kept in the Royal Palace and date back to the early years of activity of the Eugenia Manufacture. It is worthwhile to dwell in particular on the Sabine clock, whose name derives from the work Le Sabine by Jacques Luis-David, which the Manfredini must have admired during their stay in Paris.
The clock can be dated back to 1807, the year in which Francesco Manfredini was appointed Watchmaker of the King - the clock face bears in fact the signature Manfredini Orolo.ro del Re in Milan.
Despite the presence of the signature, the attribution of the clock presents some critical points. In fact, it could only be partly the work of the Italian craftsman. To support this thesis, there would be similarities and affinities of style with the models of watches of French production in particular by Claude Galle and Pierre-Philippe Thomier and the fact that there are multiple examples of the same clock, all similar to each other, but signed by different artisans.
In fact, the Sabine clock has a twin, now exhibited in the Green Drawing Room in Windsor Castle and also dating from about 1806. The two clocks have only a few differences in the lower frieze: in the Milanese version there is in fact no group of the four characters on the right (symmetrical to the left group), which instead is present in the English one.