Superior mythological Empire mantel clock “Narcissus”

Rare mythological Empire mantel clock “Narcissus”

This ravishing Empire mantel clock symbolizes the story of Narcissus who fell in love with his own reflection in the water. Dating from the early Empire period, this very fine clock shows us a beautifully sculpted figure of Narcissus, peering into a fountain pond with waves on the water surface. On the round clockwork case, flanked by swans acting as waterspouts, sits Narcissus looking down on a bastion shaped base. On the front of the clockwork case, just below the dial, we see an applied decoration of a peacock. This peacock, a symbol of vanity, is flanked by dark green patinated water plants. With its curved shapes, this Empire clock has an exceptional design, mimicking the flowing of the water. On the front of the case appear further applied decorations of mythological animals.

This Empire clock has been executed in matte and burnished mercury gilded and partially patinated bronze. Because of its impressive details and attractive design, it forms a convincing interpretation of the myth of Narcissus.

The movement with anchor escapement and thread suspension strikes the hours and half hours on a bell. It has a white enamel dial signed “à Paris”, and early 19th century gilt bronze openwork fleur-de-lys hands for the hours and minutes.

Our Empire mantel clock “Narcissus” is in an excellent state of preservation with original mercury gilding and matte and glossy details. Also it is in perfect working condition and it has been cleaned and serviced by a professional clock maker. The clock comes complete with its pendulum, key and bell.

Details of this Empire mantel clock “Narcissus”

Paris, circa 1805.
Dimensions: height 47 cm, width 36 cm, depth 17 cm.
Weight: 11,5 kg.

Mythology of Narcissus

Narcissus was the son of the river god Kephisos and the nymph Leiriope. At the age of 16, he was a beautiful youth who was desired by many lovers of both sexes, but who did not respond to anyone. Narcissus continued to refuse everyone who fell in love with him, until finally a spurned man appealed to heaven. He asked that Narcissus should love himself and never be able to win his lover. His request is heard by the goddess Nemesis who grants it.

One day, while drinking from a spring after a hard day of hunting, Narcissus sees his own reflection in the water and falls in love with it, without realizing that it was just a reflection. He was able to approach the beloved object and it responded to his gestures, but he could not reach it. As his tears fell into the water and stirred the surface of the water, the image disappeared. In a long monologue, Narcissus complained about the unattainable love. Finally he died of his unrequited love. At the site of his death there was no body, only a flower, yellow in the middle and with white petals, which is interpreted as a daffodil.

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