Clocks of Gilt Bronze and Statuary Marble - Buhl - Miniature Writing-table Clocks - An Appointment Clock-the Reflected Dial - A Triple Dial
Fashion might be described as a series of reactions, and just as, in clothes, we pass from tight to voluminous sleeves, and from short skirts to long ones, so in dishing the pendulum swings between opposite styles.
The drawing-room clock, once a monument of elaboration, was for many years reduced to the severest simplicity, and the perfectly plain model under a gilt-edged glass shade, that is so familiar to us all, was seen in nearly every drawing-room. Now, however, though these plain clocks are still very popular (1911), a demand is once more being felt for something more ornate, and French gilt bronze, either alone or combined with statuary marble, is being called into requisition. as well as the beautiful old fashioned Buhl.
A small clock in gilt bronze in the Louis XV. style, on a marble base, can be obtained for under £6 in a really very charming design. Other beautiful, elaborate models of white marble with applied designs and figures in mercury gilt, accompanied by vases to match, both copied from originals to be seen in the Louvre or at Versailles, will cost much as £30 or £40 the set. Very few things are put on the mantelpiece nowadays, and it is considered desirable to have either candelabra or vases fitted with electric light made after the style of the clock. This trio of ornaments is sufficient on a fine marble mantelshelf, a more profuse display being liable to detract from the effect of the mantelpiece itself.
Small Buhl clocks are, again, less expensive, and quite a nice little one can be bought for about £3 10s. It is a great mistake to have a large clock in a small room, though some people go to the other extreme, and have so small a clock that it is impossible at a distance to read the figures upon the dial. The modern but charming tortoiseshell clocks, inlaid with gold or silver, are suitable for those who like something of moderate dimensions. One design in particular, with a plain silver border, is in excellent taste.
Much depends, however, on the general furnishing of the room as to what kind of clock will look well in any particular apartment, and very many people prefer the old mahogany inlaid clocks, or one of the excellent reproductions of them, to anything else. Pretty little satinwood clocks in somewhat the same style are also obtainable for a very moderate sum. Then, grandfather clocks specially made in a smaller size, are also a good deal used in drawing rooms.
Clock and candelabra in French gilt bronze. Such ornate designs are popular, but costly, and only suitable to rooms furnished in certain styles Waring & Gillow
Clock and vases in statuary marble with applied designs and figures in mercury gilt. Such clocks, designed from originals in the Louvre and at Versailles, are beautiful and of the finest workmanship. No other ornaments should be placed on the mantelpiece, and it also should be of marble
A special writing-table clock is a thing much to be desired, not only because it is so eminently useful, for one so often wants to watch the time while letter writing, but because these clocks are apt to be either very ingenious or remarkably pretty. There are some tiny ones, for instance, about one and a half inches high by one inch wide in mother-of-pearl of the natural shade, or dyed the most exquisite rose or blue. They are of square shape, and are the most fascinating things. Then there are paperweight clocks with a block of rose crystal, green aventurine, or moss agate, in which the face of the clock is set, and which is mounted in silver or silver gilt. A clock is also sometimes let into the front of a stationery case, and arranged with a double face so that the time can be seen when the case is open or shut. In another instance, the clock is found in the lid of the inkstand.
A capital notion for a writing-table, or elsewhere, is an electric clock with an alarm to remind people of the hour for catching a train or keeping an appointment. It is made of polished mahogany or oak, and is quite inexpensive.
When choosing a clock for a room, it is important to decide where it shall stand. Many people object to the old arrangement which was at one time de rigueur - the placing of a clock immediately in the centre of the chimneypiece. A certain stiffness is inevitable with this arrangement. A clock may sometimes be placed on one side of the mantelpiece with good effect. In one instance, the clock was an ornate one of the First Empire period, and a stiff little posy of flowers in a good cut-glass vase of the same period was put next to it, and after that some fine Chelsea and Sevres figures were displayed along the length of the chimneypiece.
A modern Buhl clock, eminently suited for a drawing-room
Another variation is to place the clock on a bracket over the chimneypiece, or in any other part of the room. If this plan is intended, it is best to purchase a clock which has a suitable bracket for the purpose. A handsome inlaid mahogany shelf may sometimes be found the right size for a mahogany eighteenth century or early nineteenth century clock, a bracket inlaid with brass for a Buhl clock, or a black lacquer bracket for an old lacquer clock. Cromwell brass clocks look very well on a dado bookshelf of carved oak, or even a special niche in the shelf itself may be set aside for the clock.
In considering the question of bedroom clocks, there are two difficulties to contend with. One is how to see the time in the dark, and the other is how to have the clock placed so that in the daylight it can be easily seen from the bed or from any other position in the room. Very often it is put where the light falls upon the glass so that the hands and figures on the dial cannot be distinguished.
With regard to the first of these problems, in the old days it was met by the pull-string bracket clock. These the times of single windows, on account of the window tax, and of flint and steel with which to light a dip, so that people were glad to find some way to avoid this last tiresome operation. They used to pull the string of the clock, and it played up and down the scale, and then gave the last hour. Now we have the electric clock that reflects the time on the ceiling. It is in polished wood or leather, and one only has to press a button and look aloft to see the hour plainly shown on the ceiling above our heads.
A simple design in inlaid satinwood, with a Wedgwood plaque. Such a clock is harmonious in design and of moderate cost Waring & Gillow
To get over the difficulty of the light tailing on the glass so that the dial cannot be seen from the bed in daylight, several designs have been evolved. One is for a little hanging clock that can be put on the wall well within reach of the sleeper's vision. In the lower part of this is a thermometer, which is sometimes a great convenience in a bedroom. There is also a clock with three dials, one on each side, as well as in front, all controlled by the one movement. In this way, of course, the time can be seen from every direction.
Travelling clocks are very much used in bedrooms. One that has the dial set so that the clock is a good deal wider than its height, makes a pleasing change. The little folding watch-clocks in a case are also very nice, as they can be removed from the mantelshelf and put by the side of the bed at night. Those that chime the last hour are the best, as they will thus tell the time in the dark. Many people, however, use one of the little electric torchlights for this, and thus avoid causing the slightest disturbance to others.