Imposing historical Empire mantel clock “Alexander the Great”

Historical Empire mantel clock “Alexander the Great”

An impressive and large French Empire mantel clock in gilt bronze depicting Alexander the Great while he is studying. Versions of this clock are to be found in the Museo de Relojes in Jerez de la Frontera and in the Spanish royal collection. The annular dial in white enamel, signed Bayart à St. Omer, surrounds a chiseled bronze center with decorations of palmettes.

This Empire mantel clock is surmounted by a superbly modeled figure of the young Alexander. The god like conqueror Alexander is shown as a young student while he studies assiduously, sitting on a chair where the movement is inscribed. In one hand he holds a sketchbook placed on his knees and in the other hand he holds a ball. It illustrates the advice of Aristotle, Alexander’s teacher, who suggested whilst studying that he hold a ball in his hand so if he falls asleep the ball will fall into the bowl and wake him up, so he can continue his studies.

The clock has a rectangular base with beautifully cast and chiseled bronze mounts. A central bas-relief, framed by a frieze of laurel leaves, illustrates the education of Alexander by Aristotle, overseen by his mother and father, King Philip II of Macedonia.

Details of this Empire mantel clock “Alexander the Great”

This ormolu mantel clock has been professionally cleaned and is in an very good 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 been serviced by a professional clock maker and is in perfect working condition and comes complete with pendulum, bell and key.

Paris, circa 1809.
Dimensions: 39 cm wide, 51 cm high and 16 cm deep.
Weight: 11.2 kg.


  • H. Ottomeyer, P. Proschel et al., ” Vergoldete Bronzen – Die Bronzearbeiten des Spätbarock und Klassizismus“, Munich, 1986, Vol. I, p.349 fig. 5.6.6.
  • Elke Niehüser, “French Bronze Clocks”, p.26 fig. 27, p.221 #513.
  • Spanish Royal collection, “Catálogo de Relojes del Patrimonio Nacional”, 1987, p.287 No. 272.
  • Collection of Museo de Relojes in Jerez de la Frontera.

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