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Empire Mantel Clock “Fortune and Opulence”

Empireuhr Reichtum und Fülle

Zoom

Vienna, first quarter of the 19th century

Case
engine turned, matt and gloss fire-gilt bronze (ormolu), glazed backside of the clock drum, two viewing windows at the sides, supported by two cornucopias
Dial
dial made of engine turned and fire-gilt bronze (ormolu)
Movement
anchor escapement, Viennese grande sonnerie on wire gongs, repeater, turn-off for strike
Height
17 ¼ in

This beautiful mantel clock is a masterpiece of the Viennese Empire period. The exceptionally fine ormolu case is engine turned and has matt and gloss gilding. On an oval base with bun feet are two conical engine turned columns, which carry elegantly curved cornucopias. On the rear side of the base is a lyre. The engine turned case drum is partly glazed and is decorated with a delicate oil
lamp. This clock type, which can be found in the most important collections, was executed in two sizes. The illustrated clock ranks among the bigger versions, which are much rarer. It captivates the clock connoisseur due to its superb state of preservation.

The cornucopia, which is so prominently staged here, is also called the horn of Amaltheia. Kronos, the father of Zeus, had been prophesied that one of his children would overthrow him. Therefore, he devoured all the newborns that his wife Rhea gave him. Only her youngest child Zeus could be hidden in Amaltheia’s cave. The nymph turned into a goat to feed the infant with her milk. He also drank nectar and ambrosia from the tips of her horns. When Kronos discovered the cave in which the two were hiding, he could not go through the narrow entrance. He at least tried to stick his head in, but the goat-shaped nymph rammed him with her horns. One of them broke off and became the legendary cornucopia.

cf.: Sobek collection, Geymüller-Schlössl, Vienna, inv. no. 1528. F. Kaltenböck: Die Wiener Uhr, Munich 1988, p. 158, fig. 325.

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