Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Special Gift of Time...

We showed a picture in the previous post, of a beautiful clock which Mike restored for my birthday. We have had quite a few emails asking to see more pictures and to hear more about it - so we couldn't disappoint! Here it is waiting for me to unwrap it on the morning of my birthday!
We found the clock quite by accident. We were driving back from Ludlow one day and saw a sign for 'antiques' and naturally, we just had to stop for a browse so we pulled off the road and found a collection of small lock-ups. Parking outside one of the buildings, we could see they were crammed with all sorts of items, mainly furniture. As I got out of the car, a side door opened and there, through the doorway, I spied the prettiest painted clock I had ever seen. Well actually, it was a clock in a very sorry state! The doors were hanging off, the glass was broken or missing and the pendulum was propped up against the wall. Although all the workings appeared to be there, we didn't know what would be needed to get it working again - but it was so beautiful I didn't think that far ahead!
It is a French farmhouse longcase clock - or comtoise - and dates to around 1840. These clocks were often given as a wedding present and the brass pediment and pendulum bear symbols of companionship, love, prosperity and fertility. These symbols take many different forms and ours has peacocks on the pediment and fruit and corn on the pendulum. Occasionally, the pendulums were painted and traces of the coloured paints can still be seen on ours. The enamel face bears the name of the place it was made and as well as the numerals, it has the rare addition of the days of the month.
The pretty green paintwork and folk-style painted floral detail is all original to its age - something which is very important to us (I know all you lovers of vintage will understand that!)
Mike spent many hours restoring the clock; cleaning the brass pediment, pendulum and all of the many brass workings of the clock movement. He fitted new glass and tracked down some old weights - he even managed to get hold of an old key, for winding it. He left the exterior as it was found, naturally; we both love that time-worn appeal!
So now our home has the sound of a gentle 'tick-tock' and pretty chiming on the hour and half hour. I never thought I would own such a wonderful old timepiece as this - and I'm sure Mike never thought he would find a new vocation as a clock restorer!
The fully restored workings - everything is original but looking so very shiny now!