Gilt-bronze or ormolu clocks and ornaments
Gilded bronze or ormolu decoration reached its peak at the beginning of the 19th century in France. This medium was not new, as it had enjoyed international reputation during the time of the Kings of France. However, the number of craftsmen increased after the French Revolution and in the middle of the 19th century there were between 40 and 60 workshops in Paris. Bronze is cheaper than gold and silver and much easier to work with. For this reason, it became the favourite material for clock cases, candelabra and furniture ornamentation. Thanks to the skill of remarkable workers in gilt-bronze, clocks became objects of art. Pieces made by Claude Galle (1759 -1815), his son Gérard-Jean Galle (1788–1846) and Louis-Isidore Choiselat-Gallien (1784–1853), are the best. These pieces are not signed but recognisable to experts for their quality. Mercury was used in the early 19th century to get the gold effect but was outlawed by the French government because of its poisonous fumes. Mercury was still used but less frequently up to 1900.
Neoclassical clocks are not so fussy and heavily decorated with swirls of metal as Rococo ones. They are rectangular at the base and the round clock face is often adorned with beautiful women from Greek legends.