Clocks in the Period Home

For the period house owner looking for a suitable clock, whether original or reproduction, traditional or modern, it is useful to understand some of the terms used and how they have come about.

example of mantel clock

Consider the date you are aiming at, the room in which the clock will be, the type of clock, and your budget.

For public rooms such as the hall or dining room, a longcase clock will suit homes of almost any period; in a cottage, you may have to opt for a shorter case. In the drawing room, a smaller clock is often appropriate; this may be a bracket clock or a pretty mantel clock to reflect the more feminine style of the room.

Bedroom clocks should be smaller and less ornate, as should clocks in smaller rooms or in more modest homes.

The challenge if you opt for an original clock is to find one which is genuinely original or which has been updated or modified honestly. And you want a reliable clock. In an old clock, perfection means finding a clock with the original case, movement and dial, and with a good patina on any wood. It is really essential to find a reputable dealer to help you.

The alternative is to find a good quality reproduction clock; such a clock will use the best of everything; a high quality movement, a hand-made wooden case, hand-cast spandrels and hand-engraving. The wood should not have faked worm-holes but the mouldings should be crisp and any ageing discrete. An example of such a maker is Mark Laverton.


We are grateful to Geoffrey Walker for contributing to this section.