Empire period ormolu clock with Cupid and Psyche by Galle

By Galle, Claude (French, 1759-1815)


This beautiful Parisian mantel clock was designed by Claude Galle, the leading bronze modeller and gilder of the Empire period.


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The ormolu (gilt bronze) mantel clock is placed on a wide rectangular base, which is set on four bun feet. The base is stepped, its lowest level edged with a band of flowers and curling foliage. The front of the base is decorated with a central flower wreath which contains a rosette and is flanked by rinceau decoration, featuring scrolling vines with leaves, flowers, and palmettes. The base’s sides are similarly ornamented. A cuboid clock case tops the centre of the base. This features a circular white enamel dial, with Roman Numerals and the signature, ‘Galle/ rue Vivienne No. 9’. This dial is set within an ormolu leaf-and-dart bezel. The butterfly-winged figure of Psyche—the lover of Cupid in classical mythology—sits on the clock case, with a bowl in one hand and a twin-handled vase placed beside her. Cupid, the god of love, who is depicted here as a winged putto, stands on the left and leans forward with his arms outstretched towards Psyche. A flower wreath and quiver of arrows lie discarded at his feet.

Claude Galle was an important French bronzier, active in the late 19th and early 20th Century. Galle supplied numerous ormolu (gilt bronze) pieces to the court of Louis XVI and the Imperial household of Emperor Napoleon I.


Artist / Maker
By Galle, Claude (French, 1759-1815)
Country of Origin
Date of Manufacture
Early 19th Century
Classical, Empire, Neoclassical
Ormolu (Gilt Bronze)
Gold, White


51 cm / 20.1 inches
41 cm / 16.1 inches
18 cm / 7.1 inches


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