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"Vestal Virgins" Directoire-period Mantel Clock
"Vestal Virgins" Directoire-period Mantel Clock - Clocks Style Directoire "Vestal Virgins" Directoire-period Mantel Clock - "Vestal Virgins" Directoire-period Mantel Clock - Directoire Antiquités - "Vestal Virgins" Directoire-period Mantel Clock
Ref : 62541
Price on Request
Period :
18th century
Artist :
A. Paris
Provenance :
Private collection, Antwerp
Medium :
Ormolu, Griotte red marble, enamel
Dimensions :
l. 19.69 inch X H. 25.98 inch X P. 5.12 inch
Clocks  - "Vestal Virgins" Directoire-period Mantel Clock 18th century - "Vestal Virgins" Directoire-period Mantel Clock Directoire - "Vestal Virgins" Directoire-period Mantel Clock Antiquités - "Vestal Virgins" Directoire-period Mantel Clock
Jacques Nève

Antique Clocks

+32 477 27 19 08
"Vestal Virgins" Directoire-period Mantel Clock

In chased and gilded bronze, the serpent to the underside of the athenienne in patinated bronze, the two columns in Griotte marble. Signed on the dial A PARIS (indication that the clockmaker ordered the clock from a bronzier or marchand mercier, permitting him to add his name to the enamel dial). The name on the dial however has long since disappeared, erased from years of handling.
Paris-style movement with anchor recoil escapement and silk suspended sunburst pendulum. Countwheel strike for the hours and half hours on a silvered bell. Autonomy 15 days.
Very fine polychrome dial, with “slanted” Arabic numerals for the hours and 15-minute intervals; delicate blue wildflowers marking each half five-minute interval and underlined with a gilt filet; red Arabic numerals for the 30-day Revolutionary calendar. Chased, gilt-brass hour and minute hands; blued steel calendar hand.
Draped in classical attire, both vestal virgins hold a laurel crown and trumpet, symbols of victory and glory, while hoisting a tassel-trimmed drape over an athenienne containing the sacrificial flame, the whole in gilded and patinated bronze. Set within the folds of the drape, the dial is surmounted by a triumphant cherub astride a spread-winged eagle perched on an Ionic capital. The gilt-bronze base, on ten toupee feet, is cast with a frieze depicting in its centre two swans drinking from a fountain and flanked on either side by two lions resting their front paw on a sphere.
Vestal virgins were young priestesses devoted to the cult of Vesta, goddess of the hearth and their task was to maintain the sacrificial flame. The use of these figures for decorative purposes is indicative of the late eighteenth century’s more severe perspective of Antiquity, which continued under the French Directory; symbols like the sacrificial fire became associated with virtue, while the vestals became symbolic of patriotism.
The origin of the vestal-themed clock model dates back to the reign of Louis XVI and derives from a Hubert Robert engraving (Fig. 1), published in Recueil des griffonis (1771-1773) by the abbot de Saint ¬Non, depicting an ancient fragment, which was much admired in Rome. It was then reinterpreted and applied by the most celebrated ornament designers and bronziers of the time, like Jean-Démosthène Dugourc and Pierre-Philippe Thomire, to create exceptional mantel clocks like the one presented here.

Delevery information :

All clocks are carefully selected and restored to the highest standards, and are supplied with a full guarantee of authenticity and working order, delivered and installed personally wherever possible.
Shipping and dellivery conditions on request.

Jacques Nève


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