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Antique French Gilt Bronze Boulle Portico Clock C.1870

Antique French Gilt Bronze Boulle Portico Clock C.1870

Antique French Gilt Bronze Boulle Portico Clock C.1870


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About this item

This is a beautiful antique French Napoleon III ormolu and ebonised,  Boulle  portico mantel clock, circa 1870 in date.

The clock is really ornate with fabulous ormolu mounts, wonderful Boulle painted and inlaid decoration. It has four ebonised barley twist columns and a large porcelain dial with Roman numerals. The eight day clock movement is in good working order and chimes the hour and half hours on a silvered bell.

The movement is attributed to Japy Frerers, Paris. ​Serial Number: 1153 6*9. 

There is a brass plaque underneath which reads: Brevets Paris.

Complete with original sunburst pendulum, bell and key.

It keeps really good time and is delightful to look at.


The clock has been expertly restored and is in working order. 

Dimensions in cm:

Height 51 x Width 23 x Depth 14

Dimensions in inches:

Height 1 foot, 8 inches x Width 9 inches x Depth 5 inches

André-Charles Boulle(1642 - 1732), was the French cabinetmaker who is generally considered to be the preeminent artist in the field of marquetry. His fame in marquetry led to his name being given to a fashion of inlaying known as Boulle (or in 19th-century Britain, Buhl work).

Boulle appears to have been originally a painter, since the first payment to him by the crown of which there is any record (1669) specifies ouvrages de peinture. He was employed for many years at Versailles, where the mirrored walls, the floors of wood mosaic, the inlaid paneling and the marquetery furniture in the Cabinet du Dauphin were regarded as his most remarkable work. These rooms were long since dismantled and their contents dispersed, but Boulle's drawings for the work are in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris.

Japy  Freres was founded in 1806 by Frédéric with his sons, Pierre, Fritz and Louis who founded the trademark 'Japy  Freres'.
Frédéric  Japy (1749-1812) was a pioneer in the "art" of industrialization and manufacturing, not only
watches/ clocks, but of manufacturing in general. 
Watches/ clocks were made individual, by hand, by one or more people and then assembled.
Japy  started by manufacturing pocket watches and clocks in basic production lines at one place concentrated at Beaucourt (his native town) in France. In very short time the production was more than double the usual way.
The "golden age" to the Japy Freres dynasty was during the 1850-1930 years, by manufacturing
watches/ clocks that the "common man" could buy. Japy Freres also created the machines or modified machines to do this. Because of production volumes , speed and lower prices Japy Freres got many contracts by different army's to deliver watches and clocks.
After his death in 1812 the factory went through his family until the late 1930's, and ended there, as far it concerned watch/ clocks manufacturing.
They produced many watches and clocks, estimated in the millions during a good 150 years.

His royal commissions were numerous, as we learn both from the Comptes des B timents du Roi and from the correspondence of Louvois. Not only the most magnificent of French monarchs, but foreign princes and the great nobles and financiers of his own country crowded to him with commissions, and the mot of the abbé de Marolles, Boulle y lourne en ovale, has become a stock quotation in the literature of French cabinetmaking.

Ormolu (from French 'or moulu', signifying ground or pounded gold) is an 18th-century English term for applying finely ground, high-carat gold in a mercury amalgam to an object of bronze.The mercury is driven off in a kiln leaving behind a gold-coloured veneer known as 'gilt bronze'.

The manufacture of true ormolu employs a process known as mercury-gilding or fire-gilding, in which a solution of nitrate of mercury is applied to a piece of copper, brass, or bronze, followed by the application of an amalgam of gold and mercury. The item was then exposed to extreme heat until the mercury burned off and the gold remained, adhered to the metal object.

No true ormolu was produced in France after around 1830 because legislation had outlawed the use of mercury. Therefore, other techniques were used instead but nothing surpasses the original mercury-firing ormolu method for sheer beauty and richness of colour. Electroplating is the most common modern technique. Ormolu techniques are essentially the same as those used on silver, to produce silver-gilt (also known as vermeil).


W23.0 x H51.0 x D14.0 cm



Date of manufacture





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