List Price £12,000
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This fine Charles X period mantel clock is crafted from malachite and ormolu, though the malachite veneer is a later, beneficial addition.
The clock features a stepped malachite base, the flared lower step supported by scrolled acanthus leaf ormolu feet and delineated from the upper step by an ormolu frieze moulded with anthemia. The front face of the malachite base is set with an ornate ormolu mount comprised of a variety of classicising elements, including laurel wreaths and quivers laden with arrows. The mount also includes two inscribed insignia, one reading ‘ROMANORUM’ and the other ‘BELISARIUS’, hinting at the subject of the large sculptural surmount above.
The malachite base is surmounted by a naturalistically rendered ormolu ground, upon which resides the square clock case set with an ormolu dial inscribed with Roman numeral hour indices. The sculptural surmount depicts a seated male warrior, his left hand raised pensively to his chin. The figure is Belisarius, a Byzantine era general who defeated the Vandals of North Africa. Perhaps the most famous depiction of Belisarius in French art is Jacque-Louis David’s Belisarius Begging for Alms of 1781, now in Lille.
The dial is inscribed ‘Viteau Ft de Bronzes / Christophle Hlr’, while the sculptural surmount is inscribed ‘Justinian’, the Emperor under whom Belisarius served.
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