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Large French Second Empire Style Gilt Bronze Mantel Clock



This gilt bronze (ormolu) mantel clock—which measures an impressive 91cm (36 inches) in height—is a magnificent piece of design. The clock was crafted in France when Louis Napoleon Bonaparte (Napoleon III) was Emperor of France (from 1852-1870). The piece is designed in the Second Empire style, which is characterised by its bold neoclassical motifs. Shaped like a classical Baroque building, the arched clock case is topped by a cupola form, with a pomegranate finial. The arch is decorated with two sculptural putti figures, who pull back a piece of fabric to reveal a central cartouche. At the centre of the case, there is a circular clock dial, which is decorated with ornate relief work and Roman Numerals within white enamel plaques. The arched case terminates in two acanthus leaf scrolls, and is supported on a gadrooned cushion-form base. This is decorated with Grotesque masks on the centre of its front and reverse side. Drapery swags hang down from the masks’ mouths and wraparound the raised arms of four sculptural women who support the clock case. The women are dressed in loose, sheer gowns and adopt elegant contrapposto poses. They stand on a shaped and splayed base, which is decorated with bands of foliage and strapwork. For a comparable model, see Christie’s London Sale 1113, ‘The Opulent Eye—500 Years: Decorative Arts Europe’, Lot 82.


  • Dimensions
    Height: 35.83 in. (91 cm)Width: 15.75 in. (40 cm)Depth: 13.39 in. (34 cm)
  • Style
    Napoleon III (Of the Period)
  • Materials and Techniques
  • Place of Origin
  • Period
  • Date of Manufacture
    circa 1870
  • Condition
  • Seller Location
    London, GB
  • Reference Number
    Seller: 159801stDibs: LU956314005402

Shipping & Returns

  • Shipping
    Rates vary by destination and complexity. We recommend this shipping type based on item size, type and fragility.
    Estimated Customs Duties & Taxes to the Continental US: $0.
    Ships From: London, United Kingdom
  • Return Policy

    A return for this item may be initiated within 14 days of delivery.

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About the Seller
4.9 / 5
Located in London, United Kingdom
Recognized Seller
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Established in 1975
1stDibs seller since 2012
182 sales on 1stDibs
Typical response time: 1 hour
The British Antique Dealers' AssociationInternational Confederation of Art and Antique Dealers' Associations
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