Louis XVI malachite and ormolu mantel clock by Terrien


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This exquisite ormolu (gilt bronze) mounted malachite mantel clock was created during the reign of King Louis XVI of France—the piece thus exemplifies the very best of the Neoclassical style. The clock has benefited from a later malachite veneer.

The clock is raised on a shaped flat malachite base, which is lifted by four ormolu toupie feet. The front face of the base is mounted with ormolu classical motifs, such as floral heads, scrolling foliage, and crossed quivers. From the base rise twin shaped malachite pillars, which form the main body of the clock.

Each malachite pillar rises from a violin-shaped base to an architecturally formed entablature. The front of each pillar is mounted with an assemblage of ormolu elements, each distinctly classical. Most strikingly, the front of each pillar is inset with a veined grey marble pilaster, which supports an ormolu ionic capital. In front of this pilaster is situated an ormolu figure standing in contrapposto while holding a laden vase.

Suspended between the twin malachite pillars is the ormolu clock drum. The circular clock dial is inscribed with Roman numeral hour marks and signed 'Terrien à Paris'. Upon the drum is seated a large and impressive ormolu figure of Athena, who holds in one hand the aegis—that is, the shield with the head of the Gorgon Medusa. Below the drum is suspended a large pierced ormolu interlaced vine, which curves in tandem with the belly of the clock drum. Below this is the pendulum, which is wrought in the manner of a sunburst.


Country of Origin
Date of Manufacture
Late 18th Century
18th Century and Earlier
Louis XVI, Neoclassical
Enamel, Malachite, Ormolu (Gilt Bronze)
Gold, Green, Grey, White


75 cm / 29.5 inches
53 cm / 20.9 inches
19 cm / 7.5 inches


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