This ormolu-enriched marble and porcelain mantel-clock, evoking sacrifices at love's altar, is designed in the French/antique fashion that he had promoted around 1800 in his role as George III's clockmaker. Its clock drum, supported by flowered trusses, is incorporated in a Grecian urn-capped altar, enriched with Venus-pearls and attended by Cupid's studious companions. Biscuit youths such as those flanking the dial were modelled for the Pall Mall clockmaker Benjamin Vulliamy (Free 1781, d.1811) in the mid-1780s by the sculptor Charles Peart and manufactured by the Derby Porcelain Factory and later by Wedgwood. Recorded as 'Truss marble clock, two boys', these clocks' marble case were supplied by the Westminster mason Mr. Day, while the movements were generally supplied by William Vale (see T. Clifford, Vulliamy Clocks and British Sculpture, Apollo, October 1990 pp.226-237).
The Vulliamy clockmaking family began when Justin Vulliamy, (1710-1790) emigrated from Switzerland in 1730. Soon after settling in London he went into partnership with Benjamin Gray (1676-1764). After Gray's death Justin took, as apprentices and later partners, his two sons Benjamin and Benjamin Lewis (Free 1809).
Related white marble and biscuit porcelain clocks by Vulliamy include a mantel timepiece sold, 'Out of the Ordinary, the Discerning and Individual Taste of Christopher Gibbs and Harris Lindsay', Christie's, London, 10 May 2006, lot 236, and another, sold anonymously, Christie's, London, 15 September 2004, lot 41.