French Empire period ormolu and malachite mantel clock


This beautiful mantel clock, crafted from ormolu mounted malachite, is a superb example of the Neoclassicism inherent to Empire period design.


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This superb mantel clock is of traditional shape, featuring a malachite case with a rounded top set above a stepped base. The front of the case is inset with a circular tooled ormolu dial, the dial inscribed with Roman numeral hour indices.

The remainder of the case is set with a superb variety of Neoclassical themed ormolu mounts, all of which are prevalent in Empire period design. Below the dial, the front of the case is set with a figurative mount depicting a classicised figure, likely symbolic of learning given the surrounding props, such as a globe, scrolls, and books. The sides of the case are set with caduceus mounts, staffs entwined with twin snakes long the symbol of the messenger god Hermes. The sides of the base are mounted with twin swans flanking anthemia: the swan is perhaps the most common motif in Empire period decorative art. Finally, the case is topped with an ormolu surmount comprised of a classical bust set amongst books, scrolls, and brushes.

The malachite veneer is a later addition.


Country of Origin
Date of Manufacture
Early 19th Century
Early 19th Century
Empire, Neoclassical
Malachite, Ormolu (Gilt Bronze)
Gold, Green


50 cm / 19.7 inches
21 cm / 8.3 inches
14 cm / 5.5 inches


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