Almost six years ago I wrote a long article trying to untangle the stories of the Le Roy and Leroy houses… An imbroglio between very similar names with different spellings. And a permanent confusion which is still too often the case. A few days ago, the auctioneer Charlotte Van Gaver contacted me because she will be dispersing on 26 June 2020 the estate of Mr Léon Leroy, one of the last heirs of this great family of watchmakers who lived for many years at 7 Boulevard de la Madelaine, Paris.
The sale will take place on 26 June at the Salle V.V at 3 rue de Rossini in the 9th arrondissement of Paris. The catalogue is impressive, reflecting Mr. Leroy’s collection: pocket watches, clocks, various instruments, but above all numerous books on the history of his profession: watchmaking. Among the multitude of lots (from n°6 to 249), one can admire very different things and particularly exciting objects. I particularly liked a remarkable and imposing Abbess watch from the 19th century with an estimate of between €3000 and €4000.
Lot 211: Neo-Renaissance cruciform yard watch. Signed by Etienne Bordier, it is one of a long list of surprising and atypical lots in this sale. Estimate between 3000 and 4000 €. Photo: Chayette & Cheval
But beyond the watches, there is a real treasure in this sale and you can find it under numbers 101 to 110. Under these names are dozens and dozens of drawings testifying to the creative know-how of the house of L. Leroy & Cie. More than 200 drawings are on display, giving an idea of the styles favoured by the company, as well as the requests of customers who came to have a piece made. The gouaches are remarkably well preserved and the materials used to make them are very different from one another: paper, cardboard, tissue paper and even rhodoïd. I could have spent hours admiring and detailing them. Undoubtedly this heritage should not be dispersed between several buyers and it would be really excellent news if it went to a collector who knows and loves the subject. The answer will be given on 26 June when the hammer of Maître Van Gaver will sound, signing the adjudication of the lots. In the meantime, I suggest you discover some photos stolen during my appointment at the study.
Some plates from the archives of L. Leroy & Cie. For sale on 26 June at Chayette & Cheval. Photo : Marie Chabrol
See you soon!