Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Norfolk Clock....

One of the more unusual pieces of treasure Peter and I managed to smuggle back in one piece from the UK on our trip was a PH Mourey mantle clock. It was one of those marvelously recherche finds - we had just pulled into the small village of Holt in North Norfolk on our way to Houghton Hall, for a bite of brunch and to stretch our legs. To our surprise this randomly chosen sleepy village could have been something out of Midsommer, with its perfectly manicured streets full of bakeries, boutiques, bistros and no less than eight antique dealers!

And thus it was that we came across the clock in one of the dealer's. It was the sort of piece which when One comes across One looks longingly at and then moves on in an 'íf only' moment, then - after a few hours shopping and a liquid lunch - One returns and manages to articulate compelling reasons why One simply ought to take it home! Peter has a lovely phrase that he uses when I am looking at things -"Darling, it is only expensive on the day that you buy it" (I believe a nun used to tell him that about her shoes!)

Philippe Henri Mourey (1840-1910) was a 19th century clock designer and case maker. He was an exceptional artist when it came to the art of ormolu (gilded bronze) clock design, and worked very closely with several of Paris' leading clock makers of the time. His most famous relationship was with Japy Freres & Co. He specialised in the Louis XV-XVI style of clock, decorated with rococo and classical motifs on porcelain panels in the Sevres style, and also in using marble and alabaster. We have two other PH Mourey clocks in our collection of about 30 clocks (Peter and I both collected clocks before we met. I collected gilded mantle clocks of an ornate fashion, and Peter collected grandfather clocks, station clocks and carriage clocks, all of which I am sure will be the subjects of posts to come)...

Above: A black marble and ormolu Mourey found in Christchurch about a year before the earthquake. 

Below: A white alabaster and ormolu Mourey found in Lostwithiel, Cornwall.

The garnitures, if any existed, were not with the Norfolk clock. The pale blue porcelain panels do not suit the darker Sevres garnitures we found a couple of years ago, which is a pity, but the clock would be flanked well by one of our pairs of ormolu candelabra. However, given that the clock is destined for the China Room, I am on the look out for a lovely pair of pale blue Sevres plates, similar to those below, to flank the clock...

It might be nice to find some other Sevres pieces for The China Room (Sevres has grown on me since the previous posts). Here are a few other pale blue pieces which are quite nice...

The China Room started out as a Card Room, with the walls decorated to resemble a giant Wedgwood plate (as most of our collectible china at the time was Wedgwood), however, the collection has diversified, and although the room is still designed to look like a Wedgwood box, the card table has been moved to the Gold Drawing Room, and replaced with a round Chippendale table - suitable for a high tea with fine china!

1 comment:

  1. Dear David,
    I am looking forward to the day when I visit you at WBH and take tea in the China Room.
    We have two Mourey clocks here, both of which we picked up in western France. I don't think you can ever have enough clocks.
    I like your idea of Sèvres for the garniture.
    That Sèvres teapot has caught my fancy!
    Bye for now


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