‘Gloria Victis’ bronze and onyx mantel clock by Mercié and Barbedienne

By Barbedienne, Ferdinand (French, 1810-1892) | Mercié, Marius Jean Antonin (French, 1845-1916)


The use of luxurious materials and the depiction of an important story inspired by the Franco-Prussian war makes this an unusual time-telling piece.


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This wonderful mantel clock was crafted in late 19th century France by two renowned figures, Antonin Mercié (French, 1845-1916) and Ferdinand Barbedienne (Fremch, 1810-1892).

The patinated bronze sculpture, titled ‘Gloria Victis’ stands atop a marble and ormolu clock. The sculpture depicts the allegorical figure of Fame carrying a fallen soldier in her arms. Depicted as a winged figure, Fame is clothed in a loosely draped gown in addition to shining gold shoulder armour. Caringly held by Fame is a figure of a soldier represented nude, with his eyes closed, head leaning behind Fame’s head. In one hand he is holding a broken sword, symbolising defeat, while the other is raised towards the heavens.

The sculpture was designed in 1874 by Marius-Jean-Antonin Mercié who was a leading sculptor of the 19th century. The sculptor designed ‘Gloria Victis’ after France’s defeat in the Franco-Prussian War. The portrayal of the defeated being cared for showed reassurance to the French public that even those fallen were looked after. Cast in the foundry of Ferdinand Barbedienne, the sculpture is superbly executed giving it a lifelike appearance. Mercié’s sculpture is titled on the base ‘GLORIA VICTIS’. The piece is signed 'A. Mercié', 'F. Barbedienne, Fondeur. Paris', features a reduction stamp for 'A. Collas' and inventory number '233'.

The clock on which the sculpture stands is expertly crafted from onyx and ormolu. The clock is superbly framed in ormolu and the carved onyx is adorned with bands of elegant ormolu detailing. The piece stands on four lion paw shaped ormolu feet. The central circular dial is signed 'F. Barbedienne / Paris' and the movement is signed 'J.E. Dupont / Paris'.

The pairing of an important sculpture and a magnificent clock both executed by respected makers make this mantel clock a magnificent addition to one’s interior space.


Artist / Maker
By Barbedienne, Ferdinand (French, 1810-1892), Mercié, Marius Jean Antonin (French, 1845-1916)
Country of Origin
Date of Manufacture
Late 19th Century
Late 19th Century
Bronze, Onyx, Ormolu (Gilt Bronze)
Brown, Cream, Gold


113 cm / 44.5 inches
58 cm / 22.8 inches
40 cm / 15.7 inches


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