A large French Louis XVI ormolu ‘lion’ mantel clock, circa 1760
8-day movement with half hour striking, fine ormolu case.
enamel dial with Roman numerals and finely foliate pierced and engraved hands, 8-day spring driven movement with anchor escapement and silk suspended pendulum, countwheel half hour striking on a bell, fitted in an ormolu case hung with garlands and surmounted by an ormanetal urn, supported by a lion it’s paw resting on an globe, base with diamond shaped pattern and rosettes to the corners, the front with a portrait of Louis XVI hung with garlands, the whole on turned feet.
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.