A French Louis XVI mantel clock wine harvest, circa 1790
8-day movement with half hour striking, ormolu and patinated bronze figures on a griotte rouge plinth
12-cm enamel dial with Roman numerals and finely pierced and engraved gilt hands, 8-day spring-driven movement with anchor escapement and silk suspended pendulum, hal hour countwheel striking on a bell, fitted in a wine-barrel shaped ormolu case surrounded by finely cast and chiseled vines surmounted by a tambourine with a chalice, on a lion’s skin carried by two patinated bronze sartyrs, on a break arch griotte rouge plinth raised on toupee feet
This model is representing the wine-culture, a clock of similar design is illustrated in, Pierre Kjellberg, La Pendule Française…, Paris 1997, p. 240-241.
Most of us would see a beautifully designed clock with the lovely colour combination of the gold, patinated bronze and the griotte rouge marble. And to my opinion it is. But there is more to it. Looking more closely we see that the figures are satyrs the helpers of Bacchus the God of wine. They are carrying a wine vessel surmounted by a wine cup covered by vine leaves, the whole on top of a panthers skin. All these features are also connected with Bacchus and strengthen the idea that the design personifies the wine harvest. Since the French elite of the second half of the 18th Century liked to mirror themselves to Antiquity, the theme would have fitted their taste very much. Just as it does fit ours nowadays.