A large French Empire mantel clock ‘Genie et Imagination’, Clodion circa 1810
8-day movement with half hour striking, finely cast and chiseled bronze case with verde antico marble base, design by Clodion
11.5-cm enamel dila with Roman numerals and outer callibration for date signed Thiery à Paris, pierced gilt hands, 8-day spring-driven movement with anchor escapement and silk suspended pendulum, half hour countwheel striking on a bell, finely cast and chiseled bronze case shaped as a classical altar surmounted by books and an armarilly sphere, flanked by a classical nude winged man holding a flambeau personifying ‘Genius’, on the other side a classical female personifying ‘Imagination’, on a break front ormolu base with high relief, verde antico marble plinth on turned feet, Bronzier and design by Claude Michel Clodion (1738 – 1814)
At first glance someone might think that this just a decorative gilt clock. And it is, but it is also so much more. It is no surprise that the well balance design was done by the famous sculptor Clodion. And there is of course the wonderful casting, chiselling and gilding which was done by a whole selection of specialists that needed years of training and experience to finally be able to produce work like this. But what one shouldn’t forget also is the theme that is depicted here. It shows not just two well shaped figures but the classical depiction of the divine inspiration enlightening the personification of architecture. Not only beautiful but also an opportunity of the owner to show his erudition. Just as it took time to learn about the classical art, it might take some time and knowledge to truly appreciate this fine piece.