Mantel Clock

signed Joseph Gay Horloger du Roy A Turin

circa 1780

Giltbronze, black and white marble

Height: 61 cm (24 inch)
Width: 25,5 cm (10 inch)
Depth: 20 cm (7.9 inch) Ref No: 1641

The movement is contained in a white marble obelisk which is surmounted by an armillary sphere finial. The front with a panel chased with nymphs supporting a globe with Cupid standing on top; below are two sphinx, their bodies covered in drapery. Bands of beading run down the angles of the obelisk. The rectangular base with a mille raie mount, resting on four circular feet, on a black marble base of posts connected by chains and on flattened bun feet. The signed white enamel Arabic dial with pierced ormolu hands. The large three-week going movement strikes the half- and full hours.

This veil-draped ’altar’ clock is dedicated to Venus and celebrates Love’s dominion. Its pillar of a pearl-wreathed and orb-capped obelisk is embellished with a bas-relief of Hymen’s torch held by Cupid bearing aloft a globe borne by Venus’s attendant Graces. A clock of related model in bleu turquin marble, in the Louvre in Paris is illutrated in H. Lengellé, dit Tardy, French Clocks The World Over, Paris, 1981, vol. II, fig. 60. A similar obelisk mantel clock is also illustrated in P. Kjellberg, Encyclopédie de la pendule française du Moyen Âge au XXe siècle, Paris, 1997, p. 219.

This clock was exhibited in 2009-10 at the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, Cologne and published in the exhibition catalogue ”Mit Napoleon in Ägypten, Die Zeichnungen des Jean-Baptiste Lepère” , nr. 140.