Extremely rare Empire mantel clock “Eros and Psyche” attributed to Ravrio


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Important large Empire mantel clock “Eros and Psyche” attributed to Ravrio

Presenting a captivating French Empire mantel clock depicting the romantic bond between Eros and Psyche, attributed to the esteemed André-Antoine Ravrio (1759-1814). This exceptional mantel clock is distinguished by its breathtaking sculptures of Eros and Psyche, exemplifying Ravrio’s mastery in bronze work, celebrated for its unparalleled beauty and realism.

The clock features a slightly tapered rectangular case that encloses the clockwork mechanism, adorned with gilt bronze hands and a white enamel dial signed “Michelez à Paris”. The case is lavishly ornamented with motifs symbolizing love, including ornamental torches at each corner representing the eternal flame of love. The front is embellished with a charming scene of two playful Amors, while the left side showcases a lyre, a musical symbol often associated with romance.

Standing beside this magnificent case, Eros and Psyche are portrayed in an affectionate pose, with Eros lighting a rose held by Psyche. Eros carries his quiver of arrows on his back, further emphasizing the theme of love. The clock rests upon a base of green vert-de-mer marble, adorned with further gilt bronze ornamentations. It is supported by a gilt bronze counter base which stands on four feet.

The story of Eros and Psyche, originally from the “Metamorphoses” by Lucius Apuleius Madaurensis (2nd century AD), narrates the trials and ultimate union of the lovers in a sacred marriage, overcoming numerous obstacles.

This mantel clock not only serves as a functional timepiece but also as a testament to the enduring tale of love, beautifully captured through Ravrio’s artistry.

Details of this Empire mantel clock “Eros and Psyche”

This exquisite Empire mantel clock, titled “Eros and Psyche,” is in an excellent state of preservation, retaining its original mercury gilding. It has been professionally cleaned and the clockwork is fully operational, having been serviced by a professional clockmaker. The clock is complete with its pendulum, key, and bell.

Origin: Paris, Empire period, circa 1810.
Dimensions: Height: 49.5 cm, Width: 44 cm, Depth: 20 cm.
Weight: 25.2 kg.

André-Antoine Ravrio (1759-1814)

André-Antoine Ravrio was one of the foremost French bronziers, having learned the art of bronze casting, or “fondeur,” under the guidance of his father, André. The Ravrio family had been bronze casters since 1661. In 1774, the esteemed bronzier Pierre-Philippe Thomire personally recommended Ravrio to the comte d’Artois. Just three years later, in 1777, he was admitted as a maître-fondeur, and by 1790, he had established his own business. Ravrio’s bronzes are considered some of the most exquisite of their kind.

Although Ravrio enjoyed success during the reign of Louis XVI, his acclaim reached its zenith under Napoleon Bonaparte. He participated in the first Exposition de l’Industrie in Paris in 1803. By 1806, he had supplied numerous bronze furnishings for the Empress Joséphine’s apartments in the Tuileries. His excellence was further recognized in 1810 when he was appointed bronzier to the Emperor. In this prestigious role, Ravrio delivered some of the finest Empire bronze pieces to many Imperial residences, including Fontainebleau, the Tuileries, Saint-Cloud, Compiègne, and Versailles.


  • Elke Niehüser, “French Bronze Clocks”, 1997, p.208 #265.
  • H. Ottomeyer, P. Proschel et al., ” Vergoldete Bronzen – Die Bronzearbeiten des Spätbarock und Klassizismus“, Munich, 1986, Vol. I, p.366-367.

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