Exceptional Empire-period Mantle Clock, Paris, circa 1810. Finely chased and gilded bronze, Vert-de-mer marble base with circular feet, movement with round plates and 4 pillars, anchor recoil escapement, and silk-suspended pendulum. Countwheel strike for the hours and half hours on a silvered bell. Autonomy 2 weeks.
Lying on a daybed, a female bacchanal figure with a simple drape accentuating her hips holds aloft a cluster of grapes, bringing them voluptuously up to her lips. Arranged around her feet are a tambourine, thyrsus and two ewers – symbols of the Dionysian festivals. Rich ornamental bronze imagery – featuring two opposing lionesses on the façade, grape-filled baskets, a young goat on its hind legs, and musical trophies – occupies a significant part of the frieze décor. The dial signed à Paris is set into the frame of the daybed, the feet of which are in the form of hooves adorned with satyr masks.
This semi-reclining nymph figure, surrounded by bacchic attributes, makes reference to the tragic love story of Bacchus and Erigone. In the Metamorphosis, Ovid tells the tale of a peasant named Ikarios who lived with his daughter Erigone (“born with the dawn”). Ikarios, unaware of his guest’s identity, plays host to Bacchus, who, in exchange, presents him with a grape vine and teaches him how to transform the fruit into wine.
Wanting to share this gift with the shepherds of Attica, Ikarios offers them a flask filled with wine, and not knowing its effects they proceed to drink without measure. Furious, and convinced that they have been poisoned, the shepherds club Ikarios to death, abandoning his corpse beneath a tree.
Concerned about her father who had been missing for so many days and months, Erigone goes in search of him only to find his dead body. Inconsolable, the young girl hangs herself from the tree which marks her father’s burial place.
Erigone is represented here under Love’s spell, in that one delightful moment when she succumbs to Bacchus, who, to seduce her transforms himself into a bunch of grapes. Characteristic of First Empire taste for moral themes of heroism and courage, this tragic subject is expressed here in all its beauty.
In its time the ‘reclining bacchante’ theme was considered a decorative-art icon, serving as a model to various master clockmakers who appropriated it to create additional depictions. Among other known versions are three models closely related to ours, the dials respectively signed ‘Le Roy’, ‘Gérard à Paris’, and ‘Blanc fils palais Royal’. By virtue of its quality of the bronze work, our clock figures among the rarest of comparable examples.
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.
15 000 €
Price : on request
Price : on request