Magnificent Empire mantel clock “Eros guiding a chariot”

Empire mantel clock with Eros guiding a chariot

Museum quality gilt bronze Empire mantel clock depicting a winged Eros guiding a carriage, which is drawn by doves, over the clouds. These birds are symbols of his mother Aphrodite. This Empire mantel clock, which is in an excellent state of preservation, combines two styles of clocks: chariot clocks and vase clocks. Firstly we see on the top the love chariot, moving on clouds and pulled by two doves. Eros is guiding the chariot holding the reins in his left hand and a flame in his right hand.

Further, below this chariot, we see the vase shaped body with swan necks forming the handles of the vase. It contains the clock movement with a white enamel dial and gilt bronze hands. The face of the clock is surrounded by finely chiseled small beads, palmettes and lattice.

Two admirably sculpted swans with outspread wings surround the dial and hold garlands of flowers through their beaks to form the handles of the vase. The swans are clutching their feet on the bottom of the vase which rests on an oval base decorated with water leaves. Symbols of Eros such as a bow, quiver of arrows, a torch and two leafy branches decorate the front part of the base which rests on four flattened-ball feet.

Antiquity inspired the simple and elegant forms of the first Empire, often using Greek and Roman amphorae and urns as their models. Pure forms are decorated with typical Empire motifs such as eagles, snakes, doves, and swans. Decorative objects from the first Empire are admired for their elegance and the remarkable delicacy of their design and chiseling.

Details of this Empire mantel clock “Eros guiding a chariot”

This wonderful Empire mantel clock with chariot has been professionally cleaned and is in an exceptional state of preservation, retaining the original mercury gilding. The movement has a pendulum with silk suspension and anchor escapement. It strikes the hours and half hours on a bell, regulated by a count wheel. 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 1810.
Dimensions: 42 cm high, 26 cm wide and 12,5 cm deep.
Weight: 6,6 kg.


  • Pierre Kjellberg, “Encyclopédie de la pendule française”,  p.377 #C.
  • Elke Niehüser, “French bronze clocks”,  p.128 #208.

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