French Empire period ormolu mantel clock by Le Roy et fils

By Le Roy et fils (French, founded 1785)


This charming mantel clock, with its beautiful figures of Cupid and Psyche, was crafted by the prestigious French clock-making company, Le Roy et fils.


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The clock has been finely cast from ormolu (gilt bronze). It stands on a stepped, rectangular base, which is set on four bun feet. The base is decorated with intricate, low-relief depictions of Cupid and Psyche, who were lovers in classical mythology. The pair stand with their arms around one another’s waists, holding swags, also held by winged male figures. Trophy motifs decorate the space above the flower swags.

A tall, rectangular clock case stands on the base. This features a central circular white enamel dial on its front, decorated with Roman Numerals, and the inscription ‘Le Roy Hr du Roi / A Paris’. The dial is set within a floral border, and the space below depicts a reclining Venus, accompanied by a young Amor, pouring liquid from a jug. The case’s upper corners are decorated with roses.

Two sculptural figures, identifiable as Cupid and Psyche, stand on the base either side of the clock case. Cupid wears a short loose robe, and has large feathery wings and tightly-curled hair, and Psyche has butterfly-like wings, and is dressed in a cap and long draped gown. Psyche holds a wreath in her right hand, and idly plucks the strings of a lyre with her left. Cupid plays the same lyre, while looking lovingly at Psyche, who returns his gaze. The lyre is intricately decorated with swans and stylised foliage, and is topped by a sculptural classical anthemion and rams’ heads.

Founded by Basile Charles Le Roy in the late 18th Century, Le Roy et fils was an important French horology firm, which supplied to major patrons, including the French Emperor Napoleon I and his sister, Princess Pauline.


Sotheby's Amsterdam, sale 21 February 1995, lot 424


Artist / Maker
By Le Roy et fils (French, founded 1785)
Country of Origin
Date of Manufacture
Early 19th Century
Empire, Figurative Art, Napoleonic, Neoclassical
Enamel, Ormolu (Gilt Bronze)
Gold, White


46 cm / 18.1 inches
35 cm / 13.8 inches
14 cm / 5.5 inches


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