The acclaimed French bronze foundry, Delafontaine, created this remarkable mantel clock. At the time this piece was crafted, in c.1860, the company was directed by Auguste-Maximilien Delafontaine (1813-1892). The firm was famous for its high-quality artistic bronzes, which can today be viewed in major art collections, such as the Louvre in Paris.
Shaped like an upside down ‘T’, this gilt bronze (ormolu) clock features a plinth-like clock case, set at the centre of a horizontal rectangular base. The case is topped by a gilt bronze model of a globe, accompanied by a miniature sundial, collection of books, and a laurel branch. Two patinated bronze sculptures of cherubs sit on small gilt bronze stools, either side of the case. These classical, semi-nude cherubs turn to face one another and examine the objects positioned on the top of the case. Collections of gilt bronze books are stacked at their feet. The front of the clock case is mounted with a circular white enamel dial, with Roman Numerals, Arabic Numbers, and the inscription ‘DELAFONTAINE/ FT DE BRONZES/ A PARIS’. The dial is set within a gilt bronze cartouche, draped with a fruit and foliage swag. The clock’s base is intricately decorated with relief scenes, depicting fauns, as well as putti sketching and carving classical sculptures. Strings of flowers hang between them. The base is set on eight toupie feet.