French Empire Gilt Bronze Clock Depicting Omphale and Her Connection with Hercules
An early 19 century French Empire gilt bronze clock depicting the mythological Lydian Queen Omphale sitting astride on a draped drum that contains the clock’s dial and the movement. Omphale is shown with the Nemean Lion’s fleece at her feet on one side of the dial holding one end of Hercules’ club used to kill the lion, propped against the other side of the dial. The whole is supported on a rectangular gilt bronze base on toupie feet. A frieze on the base of the clock depicts the male female role reversal central to the mythological story with Hercules and Omphale sitting back to back holding with Hercules holdingspindle and Omphale and holding the club.
The clock has it’s original silk string suspension movement ringing the hours and half hours on a bell.
Wishing to expiate the murder of one of his friends, Hercules consulted the oracle of Apollo, for atonement and punishment who h instructed him to enter the service of Omphale,Queen of Lydia. Although Hercules was the son of Zeus and was famed for his invincible strength; he submitted to the tasks the queen devised for him to p[ay for his crime. What could be more humbling than subjecting the mighty Hercules to tasks that in classical times were considered womens’ work such as spinning wool.
This model clock s referenced in great datil ina a “French Clocks
Dimensions: 18″W (46 cm) x 21″H (54cm) x 5.5″D (14cm)