Large gilt bronze and marble cercle tournant clock after Vion

By Lepaute (French, founded mid-18th Century)


This clock is not only a brilliant piece of technical design—with its clever ‘cercle tournant’ dial—it is also a beautiful piece of decorative art.


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The mantel clock stands on a white marble triform base which is set on three gilt bronze (ormolu) feet. The base is mounted with openwork gilt bronze rosettes and rinceau motifs, composed of stylised palmettes, flanked by leafy scrolled vines enclosing flowers. The top of the base is covered with gilt bronze and it is edged with beading. Sculptural gilt bronze figures of the Three Graces—the classical personifications of youthful beauty, merriment and elegance—stand on base and together hold up a spherical clock. The Graces are depicted as beautiful young nude women. Flower swags are draped between the women’s hands and more hang down to loop around their waists, linking the three figures together.

Above, the spherical clock is crafted from black tole and decorated with floral gilt bronze mounts. The revolving, or ‘cercle tournant’, white enamel dial features black Roman and Arabic Numerals. The clock is crowned by a gilt bronze cherub, who sits on a swirling blanket of clouds and holds a burning torch in his raised left hand.

This clock is based on an 18th-Century model by the famous French metalworker, François Vion (1737-1790). The original model is today on display at the Louvre Museum in Paris. The movement of this clock is stamped ‘Lepaute a Paris / 1902’. Lepaute was a famous French clock-making company which was established in the mid-18th Century.


Artist / Maker
By Lepaute (French, founded mid-18th Century)
Country of Origin
Date of Manufacture
Early 20th Century
Louis XVI, Neoclassical
Marble, Ormolu (Gilt Bronze), Tole
Black, Gold, White


77 cm / 30.3 inches
32 cm / 12.6 inches
27 cm / 10.6 inches


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