Important Empire period mantel clock “l’Inspiration”

Empire period mantel clock “l’Inspiration”

Important Empire mantel clock “l’Inspiration” in gilt bronze depicting the theme of Love. The case is surmounted by a young woman with braided hair and a classical dress, sitting on a finely engraved chair. Her right foot rests on a stool, while she writes “On t’aime et l’on te fuit”. Behind her stands the genius of inspiration with a bow and arrow as an allegory of inspiration, holding a small bouquet of flowers above her head. The sculpting and engraving of this scene is very refined and realistic.

Further, a table-like pedestal portal supports the main subjects, and the movement is situated under this in a portico of foliage. The clockwork has a white enamel dial, which is signed “à Paris”, and fine gilt bronze hands. A water jar and a pedestal with a fire accompany the clockwork on either side.

Finally, the whole is set on a concave cornered base with a classical relief frieze decorated with a Love and musical Nymphs among the clouds. The base is raised on four magnificently sculpted claw feet.

Details of this Empire mantel clock “l’Inspiration”

This clock is in an excellent state of conservation with its original mercury gilding. It has been professionally cleaned and the clockwork has been revised by a professional clock maker. The eight-days going movement has a wire suspension pendulum and it strikes the hour and half hour on a bell. The clock comes complete with its pendulum, key and bell.

Paris, circa 1805.
Dimensions: 52 cm high, 38,5 cm wide, 13 cm deep.
Weight: 13,3 kg.


  • Pierre Kjellberg, “Encyclopédie de la Pendule Française du Moyen Age au XXe Siècle”, 1997, p. 392, 393#G.
  • Elke Niehüser, “French Bronze Clocks”, 1997, p. 219 #480.
  • Koller, Zurich, June 2011, where a version of this clock was sold in auction.

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