Superior Empire Clock “Hebe and Jupiter as Eagle”

Empire mantel clock “Hebe and Jupiter as Eagle”

Rare gilt bronze Empire clock of superior quality with a very beautiful mythological theme of Hebe, goddess of youth. She is offering a cup to Jupiter, transformed into an eagle. They both rest on the case containing the movement with white enamel dial and gilt bronze hands ending in a flower of lily. The sculpture of Hebe, about half the size of the clock, has very refined details. The goddess looks very elegant because of this.

This Empire clock “Hebe and Jupiter as Eagle” is made of mercury gilt bronze. The matt and glossy gilding of excellent quality is original.

The base has many decorations with mythological symbols on both the front as on the sides. For instance on the front we see Hebe’s wings melting into the form of zigzag arrows. These arrows are attributes of Jupiter. Top of it two masks of Jupiter and further we see palmettes and antique style cups.

This wonderful Empire clock “Hebe and Jupiter as Eagle” has a movement with wire suspension. It is striking the hours and half hours on a bell.

Hebe and Jupiter in the guise of an Eagle

In ancient mythology Hebe is the goddess of youth. She is the daughter of Jupiter and his older sister, Hera. Hebe was the cupbearer for the gods and goddesses of Mount Olympus, serving their nectar and ambrosia. Hebe had influence over eternal youth and the ability to restore youth to mortals.

In art, we see her typically with her father in the guise of an eagle, often offering a cup to him.  For example the painting of Hera and the eagle by Gustav-Adolphe Diez (1820-1826), currently in the collection of Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam (see last photo).

Here we see her in her role as cupbearer to the gods, raising a vessel of ambrosia to her father, Jupiter, who appears in the guise of an eagle. Eagles were connected with immortality and there was a folklore belief that the eagle (like the phoenix) had the ability to renew itself to a youthful state, making the association with Hebe logical.


  • Elke Niehüser, “French Bronze Clocks”, p.220 #497.

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