French Restoration Bronze and Porcelain Mantel Clock

  • This doré bronze mantel clock by Schuller of Paris dates to the French Restauration period
  • The exceptional timepiece is inset by a hand-painted porcelain plaque
  • The plaque features the famed classical Roman episode known as the Continence of Scipio
  • As a whole, it is a stunning example of the opulent Neoclassicism of the era
  • Get complete item description here
Price available upon request Item No. 30-9873

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This exceptional French Restoration-period ormolu mantel clock by Schullar of Paris is inset by a stunning scene painted on porcelain. The plaque represents the The Continence of Scipio, a famed episode recounted by Livy in his history of Rome regarding the Roman general Scipio Africanus. In the aftermath of the capture of Carthage, a young woman was brought to him as a hostage. Rather than ransom her, Scipio returned her to her fiancé Allucius, who in return became a supporter of Rome. Here Scipio is figured centrally in full armor. His hostage is pictured in purple at his left; kneeling on his right in supplication is her fiancé. The trio is surrounded by numerous Roman soldiers, with various trophies and banners surrounding them as an indication of Rome's victory.

Thanks to his magnanimous treatment of the prisoner, Scipio became a symbol of mercy during warfare in classical times. Interest in his story revived during the Renaissance, and in the centuries thereafter, the story was widely popular in both literature and the decorative arts. This clock is a stunning example of the widespread influence of the classical tale. It also reveals the Neoclassicism that pervaded the French Restauration period, a time that followed Napoléon's fall from power, yet still remained influenced by the Empire style of his reign.

The hand-chased doré bronze that surrounds the plaque is also a stunning example of the opulent Neoclassicism of the age. A lush celebration of classical motifs, the clock is adorned by garlands of fruit and flowers, stately columns, and winged lions, all accented by generous shell, acanthus and scroll decorations. The time is told on a doré bronze clock face, which feature Roman numerals at the hours and a fleur-de-lis hours' hand. From its mechanical complexity to its decorative artistry, this timepiece is an exceptional work of art from the French Restauration period. Similar examples by Schuller can be found in the British Royal Collection.

Circa 1820

Movement stamped "Schuller a Paris"

15" wide x 6" deep x 28 1/2" high
French Restoration Bronze and Porcelain Mantel Clock
Period: 19th Century
Origin: France
Type: Mantel Clocks
Depth: 6.0 Inches
Width: 15.0 Inches
Height: 28.5 Inches

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