"Cupid & Psyche", An Exceptional Empire Mantel Clock | France, circa 1815
ITEM #: 912PFP14W
FRENCH EMPIRE PATINATED BRONZE, ORMOLU AND GRIOTTE MARBLE MANTEL CLOCK
"Cupid & Psyche", Paris, circa 1815; silk suspension; movement stamped S.H., movement and pendulum stamped 1966
Item # 912PFP14W
An exceptional French Empire period mantel clock with finely chiseled elements throughout, this work captures Psyche placing a butterfly (now absent) into the open palm of Cupid. Each figure is cast with incredible skill, this self evident in the difficult areas: the finishing of hair, eyes, finger nails, feathers and feet. They flank a dome top housing with a bronze dial decorated with a wavy engraved background and raised relief repeating anthemion around a beaded ring before the chapter ring of ebonized Roman numerals behind a domed glass door.
The ormolu elements are typical motifs of the period: an oil lamp with a serpent’s head before a short dagger; and the primary motif is a pair of floral wreaths interwoven with Cupid’s bow, the strings left loose and the bow unstretched. It is a powerful example of the period designed close in form to the more common “Psyche Crowning Cupid” example.
The body rests over gilt bronze animal paws with winged returns. The reverse of the clock movement is covered in an original brass ring that is spun slightly to remove and give access to the workings. The movement is entirely original and is presently functioning beautifully, retaining the original pendulum and period bell.
A timepiece that perfectly balances the powerful elements of the Empire period against a sensitive treatment of the mythological subject matter, this fine sculptural work of art expresses expertise and demanding attention to detail in a host of crafts.
- See Sotheby’s London Sale L14301, 15 May 2014, lot 88 for a nearly identical example
- “La Pendule Française”, Pierre Kjellberg, p. 402, f. A - depicting and discussing Psyche Crowning Cupid
- “French Bronze Clocks, 1700-1830”, Elke Niehuser, p. 119 - depicting and discussing this specific model circa 1815, also missing the butterfly
Measurements: 13 3/4” W x 6 1/4” D x 22” H
Original movement in excellent condition, professionally serviced and currently operating in the shop - note, we do not guarantee movements will operate smoothly without being serviced upon receipt by a professional. Faded numerals on chapter ring. Nut securing the bell in the movement is replaced. Small chips to the marble base throughout. Missing the butterfly. No original winding key, but a modern replacement will be included.