Hippolytus and Theseus Empire clock

A rare piece of French Empire decorative art; a mantel clock in gilt and patinated bronze on a double plinth of red griotte marble.  The clock tells the story of Theseus, seated on a throne, questioning Hippolytus about his incestuous relations with his stepmother Phaedra.  Hippolytus protests his innocence while his hound looks trustingly up at him.  Theseus, disbelieving his son, arranged for his father Poseidon to destroy the young man as he drove himself home from Athens in his chariot along the gulf of Corinth.  The scene, showing Hippolytus entangled in the wreck of his chariot while a sea monster assails him with gusts of smoky flame, is graphically depicted in relief in the chased and gilt panel on the upper plinth.  The square base of the throne, (which contains the clock mechanism) is of dark bronze, the curved back, the seat itself supported by a pair of winged lion profiles, as well as the palmettes at the four corners of the square are of gilt bronze.  There is a gilt bronze design of a double palmette in a surround of drapery and fringes at the back of the base between the two lions, and a design of gilt bronze wreaths and ribands at each end of the upper plinth.  This beautifully designed and executed clock through not signed, can be attributed with some confidence to either Thomire or Galle.  Similar models are displayed in the British Embassy in Paris and the Pitti Palace in Florence.

Dimensions: 21″H (53cm) x 21″W (53cm) x 7″D (18cm)

Ref: po8799

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