Napoleon's territorial conquests in the Nile delta and the ensuing archaeological discoveries inevitably inspired French ornamentistes such as Charles Percier and Pierre François Léonard Fontaine. The true fashion for all things Egyptian was however ignited by Baron Vivant-Denon's seminal publication, Voyage dans la Basse et la Haute Egypte of 1802. From that moment forwards, 'Egyptomania' reigned supreme and connoisseurs such as John Soane and Thomas Hope led the fashion for the Egyptian taste amongst English aristocratic patrons.
This 'nereid' clock is identical to that signed by the bronzier Claude Galle and the horloger Manière now in the musée de l'Horlogerie, Paris (H. Ottomeyer, P. Pröschel et al., Vergoldete Bronzen, Munich, 1986, vol. I, p. 338, fig. 5.3.6). The Paris clock is signed by them both on the dial - which has been replaced in the Regency period on the Spencer House example. Interestingly, the fashion for 'improving' French movements with Regency replacements was assiduously adopted by another Holland and Daguerre client, George, Prince of Wales, later King George IV.
Claude Galle (1759-1815) of the rue Faubourg Saint-Germain was elected maître in 1786. Galle was one of the pre-eminent bronziers of the Empire period and when his workshop was in full force he is reported to have had over four hundred employees. He received countless commissions from the Garde-Meuble and is known to have supplied bronzes to Compiègne, Versailles and the Grand Trianon - as well as Louis-Alexandre Berthier and the Prince de Wagram for the château de Grosbois.
The clockmaker Charles-Guillaume Manière (maître in 1778) was installed on the rue des Prouvaires in 1781 with his father, then the rue des Merciers in 1789, rue Christine in 1806 and rue Bertin Poire about 1810-12. He was one of the great clockmakers of the Louis XVI and Empire periods and worked for the marchand-mercier Dominique Daguerre and his successor, Martin-Eloi Lignereux. Interestingly, the inventory at the death of Daguerre in 1789 revealed six clocks by Manière of various subjects - and it is almost certainly through Daguerre/Lignereux that this clock was acquired.