Our Swedish Clocks
Our Swedish Clocks
My grandfather was 100% Swedish and one might assume I come by my love of all Swedish things honestly; after all, it's singing in my blood. But the truth is, Swedish things were defined for me in childhood by this one little hand-painted, orange folk art horse on my grandmother's bookshelves, and it was ugly as sin. That horse is the only Swedish influence from my childhood—along with my mother's craving for a Swedish delicacy and a certain kind of jam.
It wasn't until a number of years later, while living in New York, I spotted my first Mora clock while passing an antique shop. It had that sort of gorgeous chalky gray finish to it with aged gilding on the face, and I thought it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I resolved at once to own one; though it wouldn't be for quite some time, as I never really owned a home that lent itself to a Mora clock. Having lived in London and Tokyo, we owned several English and Asian pieces, neither of which make happy playmates for a Swedish clock. But when we moved from our home on Meadowood into the house on Mimosa, which interestingly is a Tudor, we found the previous homeowners had painted all of the red oak white. In so doing, it really looked like a Hamptons home; and so, I immediately decided to go that direction, recovering my furniture and reimagining the house. To my heart's thrill, I knew it was the perfect home for a Mora clock.
I bought my clock at Round Top from A Tyner Antiques, where it was lovingly refinished and restored. I bought a second clock for a client on that same trip; and I would eventually take a trip to Sweden with my sister, Karin, to see Swedish clocks and antiques.
We found this clock on a tiny, little farm, owned by a gentleman who does antique restoration. He was beginning to sell a few pieces out of two rooms at the front of his barn, which had exposed stone walls and dirt floors. I immediately saw this clock glowing in the natural light and it made my heart skip a beat. It's an exceptional Swedish clock, circa 1810-1815, and is affectionately called a grandmother clock, for its shape bells out much like ladies do over time. It boasts original glass and paint with a most gorgeous patina. I really love this clock because it's both whimsical and stately in form—which aligns with my design philosophy, as one should never take her work too seriously.
Karin and I found this clock at an antiques dealer who had all of his Swedish clocks in one room; and just prior to our arrival, he had sold all nine of them to another dealer. Karin supposed it just wasn't meant to be; after all, we had already found the grandmother clock to put in my shop. But when we walked into an adjacent space overfilled with furniture, this clock was standing there like this lonely, lovely princess. I couldn't get over it because I had never really seen hand-painted Neoclassical detailing like that. The dealers seemed almost dismissive of it, but I had already fallen in love. I learned it was likely made in Stockholm, where the most formal pieces are designed with exquisite craftsmanship. It also dates circa 1810 and boasts original glass. It really is something you must see in person; I do hope you'll stop by our shop soon!