Ormolu and pietra dura three-piece clock set by Barbedienne

By Barbedienne, Ferdinand (French, 1810-1892)


This truly striking clock set, crafted from ormolu and pietra dura, is a superb example of the work of Barbedienne, one of the most important craftsmen of his day.


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This fine clock set is by Ferdinand Barbedienne, one of the leading manufacturers of luxury goods working in Paris during the latter 19th Century. The set is comprised of a central mantel clock and a pair of flanking candelabra, with each piece crafted from ormolu, or gilt bronze, inset with panels of hardstone inlay, known as pietra dura.

The mantel clock is of architectural form, taking the shape of a rectangular, ormolu plinth, set upon a curved edge, rectangular base. The case is set to the front with a circular dial crafted from concentric bands of green and red marble and featuring gilt Roman numerals and twin ormolu hands. A charming pietra dura panel of a sprig laden with leaves and two cherries, crafted from hardstone inlaid into black marble, features just below the clock dial, while the two sides of the clock also feature similar pietra dura decoration.

The ormolu clock case, into which the marble inlays are set, is intricately cast. The case features beaded motifs and extensive flowers, foliage, and acanthus leaves, as well as square panels to either side which are decorated with geometric patterns and triangular instruments hanging from bows. Perhaps most strikingly, the case is surmounted by a sculptural ormolu bust of a young girl.

The candelabra are similarly decorated, each featuring a plinth-form case crafted from ormolu and inset with pietra dura panels. Each candelabrum supports four scrolled branches and is surmounted by a bird finial.

The dial is signed ‘Barbedienne / Paris', while the bust of the young girl is signed to the edge 'F. Barbedienne. Foundeur.' and features the reduction stamp for A. Collas.

Clock: Height 50cm, width 23cm, depth 16cm
Candelabra: Height 49cm, width 19cm, depth 19cm


Artist / Maker
By Barbedienne, Ferdinand (French, 1810-1892)
Country of Origin
Date of Manufacture
19th Century
19th Century
Napoleon III, Neoclassical
Hardstone, Ormolu (Gilt Bronze), Pietra Dura
Gold, Multi-coloured


50 cm / 19.7 inches
23 cm / 9.1 inches
16 cm / 6.3 inches


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