Skeleton Clock and Napoleon Bonaparte Exhibition : Revolution to Empire

August 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

This skeleton  Clock and Napoleon Bonaparte  featured in a  conversation  last weekend.  A customer then kindly left me a Napoleon exhibition catalogue for a couple of hours and of course I am now going to have to find time to get to Melbourne.  Currently the National Gallery of Victoria is exhibiting, until the 7th of October,  Napoleon: Revolution to Empire.

Included in the exhibition is this Skeleton clock featuring both the Gregorian and the French Republican calendar.

Skeleton Clock Joseph Coteau

Joseph COTEAU (enameller)French 1740–1801
Skeleton clock c.1793-95

The Republican Calender was instituted on 2 January 1792, establishing the Era of Liberty.  It didn’t however effect until 1793 and lasted only 12 years. Time was divided into decimal increments replacing the 24-hour day. The day was divided into  10 hours of 100 minutes each. The  months were divided into three ten-day weeks with the additional 5 (6 in a leap year) days being added at the end of the year. The names of the months were also changed and this is reflected on the face of the clock.

The new system was designed to remove all religious and royalist influences from the calendar, and was part of a larger attempt at decimalisation. It lasted for 12 years before the Gregorian Calender was reintroduced.   

The Gregorian calendar, also called the Western calendar and the Christian calendar, is the internationally accepted civil calendar 

Napoleon: Revolution to Empire is a panoramic exhibition examining French art, culture and life from the 1770s to the 1820s and from the first French voyages of discovery to Australia during the reign of Louis XV to the end of Napoleon’s leadership as first Emperor of France

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