Sèvres style porcelain and ormolu mantel clock by Barbedienne

By Barbedienne, Ferdinand (French, 1810-1892) | Sévin, Louis-Constant (French, 1821-1888)


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The clock has been exquisitely crafted from porcelain and ormolu (gilt bronze). The clock’s table-form body stands on four navy-coloured porcelain legs, which feature ormolu peg feet, gilt fluting, and foliate and beaded ormolu tops. These legs support an ormolu table-like top, which is decorated with fluting and foliage.

Suspended from the table’s front is a circular case, enclosing a porcelain dial, which features Roman Numerals, jewelled decoration, and a Sèvres style painting of a bird perched on a flower wreath. The clock case is topped by an ormolu shell and leafy branches, and tasselled draperies hang beneath it. The clock’s sides feature similar oval porcelain mounts, decorated with paintings of birds, musical instruments, agricultural tools, burning torches, and foliage. These depictions are enicircled by parcel gilt, navy borders, and set within oval ormolu frames, topped by ribbon bows and draped with tasselled fabrics. 

The clock's table-form body is surmounted by a square, ormolu plinth, upon which stands a porcelain vase. This vase features a parcel gilt navy stem, and bulbous navy body, decorated with scrolling gilt foliage and jewelled ornament. The front of the body features a central Sèvres style painting of Venus, the Roman goddess of love, accompanied by cherubs, and the reverse is painted with an image of a floral bouquet, surrounded by dragonflies. The vase’s tall and narrow, striped navy and white neck is decorated with gilding, jewelled ornament, and colourful paintings of flowers. The top of the neck is mounted with two scrolling ormolu handles, which meet the vase body in classical half-length, winged female figures holding burning torches. The vase is topped by an ormolu cover, which is topped by an ormolu pomegranate finial.

‘L.C’ is stamped onto the ormolu at various points. Louis-Constant Sévin was the head designer at the Barbedienne foundry. Directed by Ferdinand Barbedienne, the company was the leading bronze manufacturer of the second half of the 19th Century. Ferdinand Barbedienne valued Sévin’s knowledge of ornament, and described his style as ‘always sober and pure’. With Sévin as its chief designer, the Barbedienne foundry won many awards for its bronzes at the International Exhibitions of the 1860s.


Artist / Maker
By Barbedienne, Ferdinand (French, 1810-1892), Sévin, Louis-Constant (French, 1821-1888)
Country of Origin
Date of Manufacture
Late 19th Century
Late 19th Century
Birds / Ornithology, Figurative Art, Neoclassical, Sèvres
Ormolu (Gilt Bronze), Porcelain
Blue, Gold, Multi-coloured


60 cm / 23.6 inches
29 cm / 11.4 inches
23 cm / 9.1 inches


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