French Empire period ormolu and marble mantel clock by Fort

By Fort, Henri (French, fl. early 19th Century)


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The mantel clock comprises of a stepped rectangular ormolu body, which rests upon a dark green marble base, and is surmounted by a seated classicising female figure.

Raised up on four ormolu feet, the deep green veined marble plinth beautifully contrasts with the ormolu clock above.

At the centre of the main body of the clock is a circular enamel dial, which is signed 'Fort a Paris'. The dial is set within an arched recess in the clock face, and appears to rest on the backs of two griffins. A pair of laurel crowns, tied with ribbon to palmettes, and accompanied by butterflies, are seen flanking the enamel dial.

An egg and dart cornice decorates the base and upper area of the main body of the clock, and on each side of piece is a classical mask, enclosed within a medallion.

On the stepped platform that surmounts the rectangular clock body, there is a relief decoration showing winged female figures holding urns and pouring liquid into a central vessel. This container is supported by a pair of imperial eagles, and is decorated with an 'N' for Napoleon I. The 'N' is enclosed within an Ouroboros - that is, a serpent biting its own tail, symbolising eternity - and accompanied by the the chain of the legion d'honneur and a crown. Crafted in the early 19th Century, it is possible this piece commemorates the death of Napoleon, the vessel serving here as a kind of reliquary.

The clock is crowned by the figure of Calliope, who, in Greek mythology, is the muse of epic poetry. She is pictured wearing classical clothing, seated on a chair, with her feet resting on a pile of books. In her right hand, she holds a pen, which she uses to write poetry. Calliope looks off into the distance, a thoughtful expression on her face. The craftsman has intricately rendered the curls in the muse's hair, and every fold and loop of her drapery.


Artist / Maker
By Fort, Henri (French, fl. early 19th Century)
Country of Origin
Date of Manufacture
Early 19th Century
Early 19th Century
Empire, Figurative Art, Neoclassical
Marble, Ormolu (Gilt Bronze)
Gold, Green


56 cm / 22 inches
32 cm / 12.6 inches
24 cm / 9.4 inches


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