Extremely rare Directory period mantel clock “Joséphine” after a model by Deverberie

Directory period mantel clock “Joséphine” after a model by Deverberie

Extremely rare patinated and gilt bronze mantel clock “Joséphine” dating from the French Directory period (1795-1799), after a model by Jean-Simon Deverberie (1764-1824). The main subject of this clock is a meticulously sculpted figure of  the young Joséphine (Napoleon’s first wife), sitting in a bower. She sits on a stone base on which a birdcage is placed on the right, and in her left hand she holds a shell from which she feeds the young birds in a nest placed on an antique tripod. The figure of Joséphine is arched over by the green patinated foliage of two flanking trees with gilded fruits.

The arced case is bordered by a slim, elegant frame with a recessed leaf frieze, and surmounted by realistically sculpted and chiseled draperies. In the center we find the white enamel dial with Roman hours and Arabic minutes, with extremely well cast fleur-de-lis gilt bronze hands, and surrounded by a finely engraved lunette. It carries the signature “Richard à Lyon”. The intricately detailed bas-relief scenes on either side of the dial  show two classically dressed young woman reclining on a chaise longue with a winged putto standing next to it, and a base with a vase of flowers or leaves in the background. The sides of the case show a fine fabric structure, patinated in oxide green, with palmette applications. Finally, the base rests on four toupee feet.

When seeing this unique clock, it is immediately clear that it has been made with a great deal of care, with its harmonious design, skillfully worked details and lavish decoration. It is clearly from the hands of a top bronzier like Deverberie. This Directory period mantel clock “Joséphine”, is of exquisite quality and is in an exceptional state of preservation, with original mercury gilding.

Details of this Directory period mantel clock “Josephine”

The eight-days going movement has a wire suspension pendulum. It has a twin-barrel movement with count wheel strike on a bell. It strikes the hour and half hour on it’s bell. This Directory clock “Joséphine”, is in an exceptional state of preservation, with original mercury gilding. The clockwork is in perfect working condition and has recently been serviced by a professional clock maker. The clock comes complete with its pendulum, key and bell.

Origin: France, circa 1795-1799.

Dimensions (without base): 45 cm high, 33 cm wide and 10,5 cm deep.
Dimensions of the base: 5 cm high, 37,5 cm wide and 16 cm deep.
Weight: 7,3 kg.

Jean-Simon Deverberie (1764-1824)

Deverberie was among the most important Parisian bronziers of the late 18th century and the early 19th century. He was an extremely successful designer, bronze manufacturer and marchand-mercier and well known through the series ‘Pendules au Negre’ and ‘Pendule l’Afrique’.


  • Hampel Auctions Munich, June 2012, where a clock of this same model appeared in auction.

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