Fabulous mythological Empire clock “Ceres at the harvest time”

Large Empire clock “Ceres at the harvest time”

This very rare and exquisitely chiseled Empire mantel clock “Ceres at the harvest time” has a sumptuous gilt bronze case. The clock portrays Ceres who, in ancient Roman mythology, was a goddess of agriculture, grain crops, fertility and motherly relationships. The artist who composed this clock sought to personify the goddess of the harvest. Above the dial and seated on a plow we see Ceres, her hair arranged with a hairband, while she holds in her left hand a serrated reaping hook. She obviously just used this reaping hook to cut a sheaf of wheat on which she leans with her right hand.

Under the platform on which Ceres sits, we see masked faces to the left and right spouting water into a basin. Below them, on both sides of the case, we see crops growing in the fields. The front of the case features a big bas-relief frieze in front which depicts two winged dragons who come to drink from a bowl of gushing water. Finally, the bas-relief frieze is accompanied to the sides by grain wreaths.

The clockwork has an enamel dial signed “à Paris”, with gilt bronze hands indicating the hours in Roman numerals and every 15 minutes in Arabic numerals. The eight-days going movement has a wire suspension pendulum. Further, it has a twin-barrel movement with count wheel strike of the hours and half hours on a bell.

Details of this Empire mantel clock with Ceres

This Empire clock “Ceres at the harvest time” is in an exceptional state of preservation, retaining the original mercury gilding. The clock has been professionally cleaned and the clockwork is in working condition and serviced by a professional clockmaker. The clock comes complete with its pendulum, key and bell.

Paris, Empire period circa 1810.
Dimensions: height 47 cm, width 40,5 cm, depth 14 cm.
Weight: 11,2 kg.


  • Elke Niehüser, “French Bronze Clocks”, 1997, p.52 & p.222 #532.
  • Tardy, “La pendule française” II, p. 394.
  • Henry René d’Allemagne, “Les Accessoires du Costume et du Mobilier”, Paris 1928, p.487 & p.495.
  • Sotheby’s, New York, april 2016 where a version of this same model appeared in auction.

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