An exceptional French First-Empire mercury gilded bronze mantle clock, depicting “Pysche”, signed on the dial, Paris, about 1800-1810

An exceptional French First-Empire mercury-gilded bronze mantle clock, with very finely cast motifs of the Neoclassical period. The figure which rests on the clock’s top depicts “Psyche”, the Greek god of love, about 1800-1810

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NOTES/ABSTRACT: The mythological associations of this clocks’ figure of Cupid and Psyche typifies the aspirations of the Neoclassical era that dominated furniture and decorative arts in both Europe and America from the eighteenth through the nineteenth centuries. In Roman mythology, Cupid was the son of Venus and Mars. Cupid was the god of desire, affection and erotic love. Psyche was renowned for her beauty as she was a Roman goddess principally associated with love, attractions and fertility. According to Roman mythology, Cupid’s mother was extremely jealous of Venus’ beauty and mortality. It is said that she demanded that Cupid shoot one of his golden arrows at Psyche while she was sleeping in order for her to fall in love with a repugnant and repulsive creature. Reluctantly, Cupid agreed, as he pitied her beauty, which he considered too pure for her own safety. He entered her room invisibly at night, but was so overwhelmed by Venus’ beauty, that he mistakenly scratched himself with one of his own arrows, which inadvertently caused him to fall deeply in love with her.

Psyche is usually portrayed as a winged female, as the name translates to a “butterfly” and the Greek word psyche literally means “spirit, breath, life or animating force”.

At the request of Zeus a successful love affair between the two emerged which was eventually consummated in marriage. Psyche was directed to go to Mount Olympus and made to drink ambrosia, which granted her immortality. After marrying, Psyche and Cupid eventually have a daughter, called Voluptus, which in Greek, means the goddess of “sensual pleasures”, and whose Latin name means “pleasure” or “bliss”.

CONDITION: The clock is in “as-found” condition and retains its’ original silk-thread suspension and clock-works. The very bright fire-gilt ormolu finish is original,  as is the porcelain dial with Roman numerals. Superior castings. The clock is in running order and strikes on the hour and half-hour.

DIMENSIONS: Height: 20 1/2″, Width: 15 1/4″, Depth: 5 1/2″.

PROVENANCE: Recently acquired privately from an estate near Atlanta, Georgia.

If you are interested in this French clock, or if you would simply like additional information about it, please feel to contact C. Lyman McCallum, Jr. personally at 1~803~834~3787 or simply email us at

 As always, your inquiries are welcomed!