Majestic Empire Clock “Eros” Signed Claude Galle (1759-1815)
Empire clock “Eros” signed Galle
Impressive mythological gilt bronze Empire clock “Eros”, the dial signed Claude Galle (1759-1815). The imposing and very realistic sculpture of Eros, 39 cm high, is the main focus of this mythological Empire clock “Eros”. This statue has carefully chiseled details, beautifully sculpted, and it looks very lifelike. It is the quality that we expect from Claude Galle, one of the top bronziers of the time. Also the large wings of Eros have an intricate pattern of mat and shiny gilding. Eros is god of love and desire and he is the son of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, and Ares, the god of war. Here Eros seems to be in a pensive mood, judging from his pose.
The clockwork has a white enameled dial signed “Galle / Rue Vivienne à Paris”. The main clock case has intricately detailed ornamentation on the front. It shows us the symbols that we associate with Eros. For instance we see the quiver with arrows and a torch with a flame crossing each other. Also we see a bow and in the middle two hearts joined together by an arrow. Everything elegantly wrapped with a ribbon. On the right side another ornamentation: a torch with a flame, representing fire that warms and ignites the heart.
The main clock case and Eros rest on a sea green marble base finished with a counter base decorated with a frieze of hearts and palm leaves. The clock is supported by claw feet.
The spring suspension movement is in perfect working condition. It has recently been cleaned and serviced by a professional clock maker. It comes with its bell, balance and key. It strikes the hours and half hours on a bell.
Dimensions: 50 cm (19.6″) high, 30 cm (11.8″) wide, 17 cm (6.7″) deep.
Weight: 14.9 kg (32.8 lbs).
* Sotheby’s Paris 2017
* Private collection
Claude Galle (1759 – 1815) is regarded as one of the best bronziers of the late Louis XVI and Empire periods. He was born at Villepreux near Versailles. Galle was the apprentice of Pierre Foyin in Paris whose daughter he married in 1784. He became master bronze caster in 1786. After the death of his father-in-law in 1788 Galle took over his workshop. He soon turned it into one of the best bronze workshops in Paris and finally he employed around four hundred craftsmen. He moved to Quai de la Monnaie (later Quai de l’Unité), and then in 1805 to Rue Vivienne.
Galle obtained many commissions of the Royal family (Garde-Meuble de la Couronne) from 1786-1788. He worked with with masters like Pierre-Philippe Thomire, and furnished the majority of the furnishing bronzes for the Château de Fontainebleau during the Empire. Also he supplied supplied with ormolu bronzework to the palaces of Saint-Cloud, The Trianons, The Tuileries, Compiègne and Rambouillet.
Galle’s work is in the collection of museums like Musée National du Château de Malmaison, Musée Marmottan in Paris, the ‘museo de Reloges’ at Jerez de la Frontera, The Residenz in Munich, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Claude Galle died in 1815 after which his son Gérard-Jean Galle (1788-1846) continued the business.