Exceptional Directory period mantel clock “Diana Huntress”
Mythological mantel clock “Diana Huntress” Directory period (1795-1799)
Museum quality French Directory period mantel clock in mercury gilded bronze with mat and shiny gilding, representing Diana Huntress resting after the hunt. Diana was the virgin goddess, patroness of the countryside, hunters, crossroads and the Moon. This mythological Directory period mantel clock shows her with her quiver and arrows on her back while she holds a bow in her right hand and a prey, a dead bird, in her other hand. A small hunting horn is on the ground in front of her feet, as she turns towards her faithful hunting dog, who looks up to her dutifully. The sculpture shows remarkably detailed chiseling, like the hair and the clothes.
Diana is seated on the clockwork case which contains a large movement surrounded by an exquisitely chiseled lunette. The clockwork has Directory period mercury gilded hands. Further, it has a large enamel dial signed by the clock maker Dubuc l’ainé à Paris.
The base of the mantel clock has many refined decorations, both on the front as on the sides. For instance the griffins in the frieze represent the union of intelligence and strength. Also, beside them are antique basins with ram’s heads. Below we see a base relief showing hounds chasing a deer. The bronze conveys the ambivalence for which Diana is famous: the gracious woman turning into a cruel killer during the hunt.
Details of this Directory period mantel clock “Diana Huntress”
This mantel clock presents itself in an exceptional state of preservation with magnificent mercury gilding. The movement with anchor escapement and silk thread suspension strikes the hour and half hours on a bell. It has gilt bronze hands and a large white enamel dial with Roman numerals for the hours and Arabic numbers for the minutes. Further, the large wire suspension movement is in perfect working condition and comes with its balance, key and bell. Also, the clock has been professionally cleaned and the clockwork has been checked by a clock maker.
Paris, circa 1795-1799.
Dimensions: 46 cm high, 32 cm wide, 13 cm deep.
Weight: 12,1 kg.
- Elke Niehüser, “French Bronze Clocks”, 1997, p.221 #521.
- Tardy, “Dictionnaire des horlogers français”, p.193.
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