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To be executed in gilt bronze and verde antiquo and black marble; enamel-set gilt bronze dial

The clock contained within the base of the lyre which has swan terminals to its arms suspending a swag in front of the strings headed by a rayed Apollo mask; the plinth with trumpet and interlaced wreath mount; raised on black marble platform 18in. high

Apollo, one of the twelve gods of Olympus, the highest Pantheon in the Classical world, embodied the Classical Greek spirit, the rational, noble and civilised, as opposed to the passionate and licentious side of man's nature, represented by Bacchus. Apollo was identified with the Sun god Helios, who daily traversed the sky in his golden chariot, marking the passage of the sun and therefore an apposite subject for a clock, besides the additional Bourbon association with the Sun King, Louis XIV. The lyre was the attribute of Apollo as the patron of the performing arts and leader of the Muses (see cat. #39). The swan was associated with Apollo as it was supposed to utter a beautiful song at its death, chiming with Apollo's patronage of song.

The lyre was by the Restauration a long-standing and frequently used motif for clocks, originating in the Regence but first gaining great popularity towards the close of Louis XVI's reign, as attested by the series of Sevres lyre clocks by Kinable and others.

A clock of this model in the Mobilier National, Paris, is illustrated in Dumonthier, pl. 50; others very closely based on this design, with the sole exception of a different plinth mount, are at the Royal Pavilion, Brighton, England and in the Bayerisches Schlesserverwaltung, Munich, the latter signed Choiselat-Gallien and illustrated in Ottomeyer & Preschel, I, 379, 5.15.21.


Watercolour, gouache and pen and ink, on laid paper


48.80cm wide   66.00cm high (19.21 inches wide  25.98 inches high)