List Price £52,000
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By Barbedienne, Ferdinand (French, 1810-1892) | Sévin, Louis-Constant (French, 1821-1888)
This superb clock set was designed by Sévin, a leading designer of his day, and cast by Barbedienne, one of the 19th Century’s most celebrated craftsmen working in bronze.
This garniture is comprised of a central mantel clock and a pair of flanking candelabra, all crafted from ormolu, or gilt bronze, mounted Sèvres style porcelain.
The central clock stands on four navy gilt-fluted porcelain columns. These have ormolu beaded and foliate-fringed tops, and tapered ends that terminate in ormolu peg feet. The columns support a rectangular table-form top, from which ormolu draperies hang on all four sides. On the ends, these draperies frame oval porcelain plaques, which are painted with birds, musical instruments, and burning torches, set against foliate backdrops.
At the front, tasselled pieces of fabric, crafted from ormolu in a stunning example of trompe l’oeil, surround a circular clock dial, which is set within a scrolling ormolu frame with a foliate and clam shell top. This porcelain dial is painted with Roman Numerals, and at its centre with a pair of putti amidst pink roses. The dial features a partially rubbed signature reading ‘F. Barbedienne/Paris’.
A twin-handled, covered porcelain vase surmounts the clock. This stands on a stepped ormolu plinth and splayed foot encircled by an ormolu laurel wreath. The foot, body and lid of the vase have been crafted from porcelain, which is painted cobalt blue colour, and decorated with foliate, gilt motifs. The body of the vase is painted to its front with a scene of Venus attended by Cupid and a maiden, all of whom reside in an idyllic pastoral landscape. The vase is mounted with two ormolu handles, which take the form of classically inspired female nudes with twisting lower bodies, who hold flower garlands. Above, the porcelain lid is topped by an ormolu pinecone finial.
The two candelabra that flank the clock are similarly decorated. They stand on rectangular ormolu bases, with porcelain painted bodies, foliate ormolu aprons, and each set on two scrolled feet. The candelabra stems are decorated with porcelain panels, depicting beautiful young women, and ormolu rams’ heads are mounted onto their sides, with draperies suspended between them. These stems are topped by bulbous, porcelain vase-like features, from where the ormolu arms of the candelabra spring. On each, four arms grow upwards, then droop down, before curving back up to terminate in foliate drip-pans, and beaded, petal-like capitals. A sixth arm, on each piece, extends upwards from the porcelain feature in a straight line, its front mounted with an ormolu, classical female mask.
Clock: Height 53cm, width 27cm, depth 24cm
Candelabra: Height 56cm, width 19cm, depth 16cm
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