Sublime Empire vase clock “Allegory of the four seasons”

Very rare Empire vase clock “Allegory of the four seasons”

A very fine Empire clock in chiseled, patinated and gilded bronze symbolizing an allegory of the four seasons. The enameled dial is signed “Ballif à Toulouse” and because the springs of the clockwork are inscribed with the date of production “1811”, we can precisely date this clock in the Empire period. Also, a version of this clock is known with the signature of Claude Galle on the dial.

This sumptuous Empire clock has intricately worked details, making it a true collector’s piece. On either side of the dial, our eyes are caught by two realistically sculpted female figures, one displaying a crescent moon for the night, the other a star for the day. In Greek mythology, the moon is associated with the goddess Selene, representing the power of the night. Further, the neck of the vase is decorated with four putti in an allegory of the four seasons, depicting the sowing in spring, the harvesting of grain in summer, the harvesting of grapes in autumn and the burning of a fire in the winter. The handles of the vase, finely decorated with vine leaves, sprout from a bearded man’s head and end in windings with an owl’s head. Under the dial we can discover a beautiful laurel wreath, held by a ribbon.

Finally, the pedestal with decorations of water leaves, rests on a square base on flattened ball. The front frieze of the base depicts a lying Eros with his bow and arrows.

Details of this Empire clock “Allegory of the four seasons”

This Empire clock in gilt and green patinated bronze has been professionally cleaned and is in an excellent state of preservation with magnificent mercury gilding. The movement with anchor escapement, wire suspension and outside count wheel strikes the hour and half hours on a bell. It has an enamel dial signed “Ballif à Toulouse”, with gilt bronze hands indicating the hours in Roman numerals and every 15 minutes in Arabic numerals. The clockwork has been serviced by a professional clock maker and is in perfect working condition and comes complete with pendulum, bell and key.

France, circa 1811.
Dimensions: 43 cm high, 17 cm wide, 15 cm deep.
Weight: 4,7 kg.


  • Christie’s, Paris, April 2012, where a version of this clock appeared in auction with the dial signed Claude Galle.

See more Empire Clocks in our gallery.

Secure paymentWorldwide shipping Professional packaging Transport insurance

You might also like...