Mantel clock

Maker: Clockmaker: Jean-Baptiste Lepaute (French, 1727–1802)

Modeler: Figures modeled by Augustin Pajou (French, Paris 1730–1809 Paris)

Founder: Figures cast by Étienne Martincourt (French, active 1762–1800)

Date: ca. 1780–90

Culture: French, Paris

Medium: Gilt bronze, marble, enamel

Dimensions: Overall (Wt. confirmed): 37 x 41 x 12 1/2 in., 379lb. (94 x 104.1 x 31.8 cm, 171.9133kg)

Classification: Horology

Credit Line: Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917

Accession Number: 17.190.2126


The decorative theme of this clock is the Triumph of Love over Time. The young god of Love points to the minutes with his arrow while holding a blazing torch to the celestial globe, which contains two revolving rings between its hemispheres, one with the minutes (5–10) and the other with the hours (I–XII). Chronos, or Father Time, sits dejectedly on the right side. The figures, modeled by Augustin Pajou (1730–1809), are taken from a more complex design for a clock made by the royal sculptor in 1775 for the prince de Condé and were probably cast by Étienne Martincourt (active 1762–1800). The subject of the relief on the pedestal is a sacrifice to Eros. The workshop of the Lepaute family consisted at this period of Jean-Baptiste (1727–1802), horologer du roi in 1775; Pierre, called Henry Lepaute (1749–1806); and Pierre-Bazile, called Sully-Lepaute (1750–1843). The gilt bronze is beautifully finished and the contrast between the burnished and mat areas is particularly striking.