Louis Philippe period Napoleon themed ormolu mantel clock


This superb mantel clock, deftly crafted from ormolu, commemorates the return of Napoleon’s ashes to France from the island of St Helena in 1840.


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This mantel clock is wrought entirely from ormolu and is raised above an ornate stepped base. The front two feet depict an assemblage of bees, ribbons, trumpets, and garlands. To the front of the bottom tier of the base is a recumbent lion above a plaque depicting Napoleon's sword, distinctive hat, and scarf. Above the lion there is a further bas relief plaque depicting a ship off St Helena (the island where Napoleon was exiled), either side of which are mounted decorations in the form of martial trophies. At the top of this plaque there is a portrait medallion of Napoleon held by winged cherubs with the letter 'N' behind.

The central circular tooled silvered dial sits on top of the base. It is inscribed with Roman numeral hour indices and is set within an ormolu case with an eagle on one side and the personification of France on the other. Both figures hold an urn inscribed 'Ste. Helene / 5 Mai 1821' (the date of Napoleon’s death), while the figure of France is shown raises a flag inscribed 'France 1840'.

This clock was produced in 1840 to commemorate the 'Retour des Cendres' (return of the ashes). Napoleon had originally been buried in 1821 on the island of St. Helena, where he spent his last years in exile at the Villa Longwood. It was not until 1840 that the British gave King Louis-Phillipe permission to return Napoleon's mortal remains to France, where he received a state funeral on December 15th, 1840.


Country of Origin
Date of Manufacture
c. 1840
19th Century
Napoleonic, Neoclassical
Ormolu (Gilt Bronze)


57 cm / 22.4 inches
40 cm / 15.7 inches
15 cm / 5.9 inches


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