This exceptional mantel clock was created in the early 20th Century in France, inspired by an 18th-Century model by the famous metalworker, François Vion (French, 1737-1790). The clock’s design includes sculptures of the Three Graces holding up a spherical clock with a revolving, or ‘cercle tournant’, dial. Vion’s clock is today on display at the Louvre Museum in Paris. This model is stamped on its movement, ‘Lepaute a Paris/ 1902’, for the important French clock-making company which was founded in the mid-18th Century.
The clock features a spherical black tole clock case which is crowned by an ormolu (gilt bronze) cherub figure. The cherub holds a burning torch in his raised hand and sits on a swirling blanket of clouds. At the centre of the case, there is a revolving ‘cercle tournant’ white enamel dial with black Roman Numeral hours and Arabic Numeral minutes. The space above the dial is mounted with stylised foliate ormolu mounts, as is the base of the sphere.
Supporting the clock case are ormolu full-length sculptures of the Three Graces. The women are depicted nude, with flower swags draped between their raised arms and around their waists. The women stand on a white marble triform base which features an ormolu top, edged with beading. The base is mounted with ormolu rosettes and leafy flowering scrolled vines, centred on a stylised palmette. The base stands on three ormolu tapered feet.