An exceptionally fine French First Empire Gilt-Bronze Mantle Clock surmounted with the allegorical figures of Cupid and Psyche, circa 1800-1810. The mythological associations of the clock’s figures typifies the aspirations of the Neo-Classical era that dominated furniture and decorative arts in both Europe and America from the eighteenth through the nineteenth centuries. In Roman mythology, Cupid was the son of Venus and Mars and he, himself, was the god of desire, affection and erotic love. Psyche was renowned for her beauty as she was a Roman goddess principally associated with love, attractions and fertility. Cupid’s mother was extremely jealous of Venus’s beauty and mortality and demanded that he shoot one of his golden arrows at Psyche while she was sleeping in order for her to fall in love with a repugnant and repulsive creature. Cupid reluctantly agreed, as he pitied her beauty, which he considered too pure for her own safety. He entered her room invisibly at night, but was so overwhelmed by Venus’s beauty, he mistakenly scratched himself with one of his own arrows, causing him to fall deeply in love with her. Psyche is usually portrayed as a winged human, as the name translates to “butterfly” and the Greek word “psyche” literally means "spirit, breath, life or animating force". The bottom rectangular relief repeats their tormented, but eventual, successful love affair which, at the request of Zeus, was consummated in marriage. Psyche was directed to go to Mount Olympus and made to drink ambrosia, which granted her immortality. After marrying, Psyche and Cupid eventually have a daughter, called Voluptus, which in Greek, means the goddess of "sensual pleasures", and whose Latin name means "pleasure" or "bliss". The clock is in immaculate condition retaining its original “silk suspension” works, an even bright fire-gilt finish, porcelain dial with Roman numerals, and superior castings, including “diapered“ circular pedestals. It strikes on the hour and half-hour.
Antique Mantle Clocks