Watch, ca. 1645–50
Movement by Jacques Goullons (French, active 1626–died 1671)
Case and dial: painted enamel on gold; Movement: gilded brass, steel, partly blued, and silver; Diam. of back plate 1 15/16 in. (4.8 cm)
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917 (17.190.1557)
An increasing number of sources from which seventeenth-century French enamelers of watchcases took their designs have been identified, and it now seems safe to say that many were content to reproduce in miniature the work of other artists. Prints were often the medium of transmission, but in some cases it seems that the enameler had direct access to either a painting or a colored drawing of a painting. The miniatures on the exterior of this watchcase depict the Virgin and Child with an Angel, from an engraving by Pierre Daret (1605–1678), and Joseph Awakened by the Angel, adapted from an engraving by Michel Dorigny (1617–1665). Both engravings record paintings by Simon Vouet (1590–1649), the former now in the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Caen, France, the latter now lost. Goullons was clockmaker to Gaston, duc d'Orléans (1608–1660), brother of King Louis XIII (1601–1643), and probably later to Philippe, duc d'Orléans (1640–1701), brother of King Louis XIV (1638–1715). He seems to have specialized in making movements for watches with painted enamel cases, including one for Louis XIV himself, which is now in the Robert Lehman Collection in the Metropolitan Museum. Goullon's specialty is not surprising considering that Gaston d'Orléans was also the patron of a flourishing group of enamelers working in Blois, the city of the duke's residence.