Jean-Joseph Saint-Germain - Clock - Louis XVI

Jean-Joseph Saint-Germain (Paris 1719 - Paris 1791)


Saint-Germain, Jean-Joseph de. Bronze-founder. Born in 1719, died sometime after 1787. Son of the cabinet-maker, Joseph de Saint-Germain. In 1749, he married Anne Legrand, the widow of a cabinet-maker named Jean-Paul Mathieu. A son, Jean de Saint-Germain, also became a bronze-worker.
Saint-Germain first worked as an ouvrier libre in the Faubourg Saint-Antoine where he had a workshop in the Rue de Charenton. Among his apprentices was a certain Jean Goyer who later became a cabinet-maker. However, on 15th July 1748, Saint-Germain was registered as a maître-fondeur en terre et sable - 'suivant l'arrêt du Conseil d'état du Roy du 27 décembre 1746 et par chef d'oeuvre' ('by order of the Conseil d'état du Roi of 27th December 1746 and by virtue of a 'master-piece'). In 1765 he was elected juré of the Bronze-founders' Guild for two years, and, in this capacity, actively campaigned for the Bronze-founders' Copyright Resolution, which was finally ratified on 21st April 1766, and on which his name appears as co-signatory. Saint-Germain's son was made a maître in that same year - while the father was juré and the son a mere sixteen years of age!
A number of high-quality bronze clock-cases are signed “ST. GERMAIN”. Most of these are in the Rococo style but a few are in the Neo-Classical taste. The largest and most elaborate - the one made in 1766-67 for the King of Denmark after models by Pajou - is still preserved in the Royal Danish Collections at Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen. Another smaller one is exhibited at the Louvre Museum (gift from the Kraemer family).
Saint-Germain also made mounts for furniture and in this connection it is worth noting that in 1755 he obtained a loan of 3,000 livres from the widow of François Vandercruse, the cabinet-maker who, like his more famous son, was known as Lacroix. This rather suggests that the two men may have collaborated at some stage.