- Lot number5
- Watch typeOther
A FINE & UNIQUE SOLID GOLD CARTIER PARIS POCKET WATCH 'AND THE FLOCKS WILL NOT FEAR THE GREAT LIONS' CASE DECORATED BY I.ROUKHOMOVSKY, REF. 1509 CIRCA 1900 D: Silver engine turned dial with applied Roman numerals, blue steel Breguet hands, subsidiary seconds. M: Keyless wind lever movement. C: Case back decorated with a scene in relief depicting utopian peace, a sheep playing with a lion, a child playing with a snake, a mother nursing, all weapons are broken and discarded while a wise man looks on from above against a sunset in the background, the top of the case back is is embossed with a motto from Virgil's Forth Eclogue " Nec magnos metuent armenta leones" (And the Flocks Will not Fear the Great Lions) signed Cartier Paris and by the artist I.Roukhomovsky, front bezel chased with stars, case diameter measures approx. 48mm, excluding the neck & bow. In the 1890s an exceptionally rare and beautiful object appeared in Paris. It was a gold tiara, ostensibly having belonged to the Scythian King Saitapharnes 3rd-2nd century BC. Legend has it that Saitapharnes, who was besieging the Greek colony of Olbia was offered tribute and gifts in exchange for leaving the city in peace. The tiara was said to be one of those gifts. Made in solid gold and weighing, incredibly, one pound, it was a masterpiece of the goldsmith's craft. Its appearance on the Paris art market stirred a great deal of excitement and it instantly became a subject of rivalry and controversy. The Baron de Rothschild was determined to buy it if the Louvre did not. The Louvre Museum did finally purchase it, for the huge sum of 200,000 gold francs about $4,500,000 in today's money. It drew many visitors to the museum and was the subject of much discussion in art circles. Then, in 1903, allegations came to light that the tiara was not authentic, and had, indeed been made only a short time before. This of course stirred a great commotion and Prof. Clermont-Ganneau from the College de France was entrusted with the inquiry. To make a rather convoluted story shorter, Clermont-Ganneau learned that a Russian goldsmith from Odessa, named Israel Roukhomovsky, might have been the real creator of the tiara. Roukhomovsky was brought to Paris from Odessa and testified that he had made the tiara in good faith for a dealer who paid him 2000 rubles, claiming that it was for a present. In proof of his testimony, Roukhomovsky was provided with materials and proceeded to reproduce one of the scenes on the crown before the very eyes of Clermont-Ganneau. The Professor, amazed, saw beyond a shadow of a doubt that Roukhomovsky was the artist who had made the tiara. Embarrassed, the museum placed the object in storage while the press gloated over the scandal. However, the int rest stirred by the controversy drew many visitors - on some days as many as 30,000, and thus the money spent for the tiara was perhaps not completely wasted after all. As for Roukhomovsky, he became a famous goldsmith of legendary skill. Louis Cartier, like many others, must have been fascinated by the story and by Roukhomovsky's exceptional skills and commissioned at least one object from him - the present watch. This is an element of the history of Cartier that has been unknown till now, and highlights both the work of Roukhomovsky, very scarce, as well as the subtle taste of Cartier. Roukhomovsky Mozyr, Lithuania 1860 - 1934 Paris also spelled Rouchomovsky, Rouchoumowski, etc.