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Gilt Bronze Mantel Clock  “Allegory of Love and Fidelity”
Gilt Bronze Mantel Clock  “Allegory of Love and Fidelity” - Clocks Style Directoire Gilt Bronze Mantel Clock  “Allegory of Love and Fidelity” -
Ref : 81930
12 000 €
Period :
18th century
Artist :
Medium :
Gilt bronze
Dimensions :
l. 12.6 inch X H. 19.09 inch X P. 4.53 inch
Clocks  - Gilt Bronze Mantel Clock  “Allegory of Love and Fidelity”
La Pendulerie

Exceptional clocks and decorative art objects 17th-19th century

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Gilt Bronze Mantel Clock “Allegory of Love and Fidelity”


Rare Gilt Bronze Mantel Clock
“Allegory of Love and Fidelity”

Paris, Consulate period, circa 1800
Height 48.5 cm; width 32 cm; depth 11.5 cm

The white enamel dial, signed “Molliens à Paris”, has Roman numeral hours and quarter-hour graduations for the minutes, indicated by two gilt bronze hands. The finely chased gilt bronze case depicts a young boy symbolising the figure of Love. Dressed in a belted tunic, he holds a torch in his upraised right hand and a bow in the other, with his wings and a flaming torch lying on the ground behind him. A dog symbolising Fidelity walks by his side, his collar attached to the boy’s wrist. The quadrangular terrace, adorned with a fringed drapery in which the dial is set, is supported by four tapering spirally decorated feet. On either side stand “athenienne” tripods with masked monopodia legs and ram’s feet; they are centred by flaming braziers. The rectangular base with rounded corners features reserves decorated with striated motifs and scrolling foliage. The whole is raised upon six toupie feet that are finely chased with flowers and beading.

This clock’s subject is one of the favourite themes of Parisian bronziers and clockmakers of the final years of the 18th century and the early years of the following century. The iconography demonstrates collectors’ renewed interest for the allegorical clocks inspired by antiquity that had been fashionable at the end of the Louis XV period, when Parisian decorative arts were renewed by the influence of the neoclassical style. This aesthetic trend, fed by the fascination with classical antiquity that developed during the reign of Louis XIV, encouraged by the mid-century archaeological discoveries of the ancient Roman cities of Pompey and Herculaneum, near Naples. Very few similar clocks are known; most feature small variations in their ornamentation. Among them, one example, featuring a patinated bronze dog, is illustrated in Pierre Kjellberg, Encyclopédie de la pendule française du Moyen Age à nos jours, Les éditions de l’amateur, Paris, 1997, p. 334, fig. A. A second example is in the Museo de relojes du Palais de la Atalaya in Jerez de la Frontera (illustrated in E. Niehüser, Die französische Bronzeuhr, Eine Typologie der figürlichen Darstellungen, Munich, 1997, p. 225, fig. 556).

The signature “Molliens à Paris” is that of Louis-François-Amable Molliens, a clockmaker whose workshop is recorded in the rue Saint-Honoré around 1800, and in the passage du Grand-Cerf from 1806 to 1815 (see Tardy, Dictionnaire des horlogers français, Paris, 1971, p. 469). He was well respected, and examples of his work were recorded in the collections of Parisian connoisseurs during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Clocks signed Molliens were mentioned in the probate inventories of Charles-Louis de Reconseille and that of Napoleonic Marshal Louis-Alexandre Berthier, Prince de Wagram.

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