The combination of sumptuous, lustrous ormolu and finely decorated Sevres style porcelain makes this mantel clock an exceptional piece. Built in France and retailed by the prestigious London-based jewellery firm Howell James & Co in the 19th Century, this clock showcases the best in 19th Century French design.
In particular, the Sevres style porcelain plaques which adorn the body of the clock are beautiful decorative additions, showing flowers, figures and landscapes inside the traditional ‘bleu celeste’ (sky blue) border. The rest of the clock’s body is made up of exquisitely cast gilt bronze which shows fine Neoclassical style details. There are, for example, bunches of flowers and grapes shown at the sides of the clock case, with acanthus leaves, ribbons and laurel above. The clock is surmounted by a pediment which takes the form of a laurel wreath, a torch, and a bundle of wheat.
The porcelain clock dial is set into the centre of the case, and shows Roman numerals over a central painted cartouche depicting a courtship scene in a landscape, the bottom of which is signed ‘HOWELL JAMES & CIE / PARIS’, the retailer’s mark. It is protected by a hinged glass cover. The clock comes with a shaped, velvet-lined ormolu plinth which features scrolling floral detailing.