Exquisite Antiques: French Napoleon III Style Boule Mantle Clock

antique mantle clock

It may be hard to remember when we last relied on traditional clocks to keep time for us. This late 19th century French Napoleon III style Boule mantle clock is a beautiful example of how these pieces once served a central role in our lives. Circa 1880, this piece was designed to be beautiful as well as practical. The case is made out of Boule—tortoise shell laminated over wood, and inlayed into a bronze sheet. The bronze ormolu, (a fancy word for ornately decorated), is complimented by a doré (gold-plated) bronze dial. The clock numerals are made out of enamel, and the top is adorned with a bronze urn of fruit and flowers. Typical of the Napolean III style, the feet are splayed.

Of particular note is the depiction of the sun god on the doré bronze pendulum. Louis the XIV was referred to as the “Sun King”, and we believe this design was included as an honor to the monarch.

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