Collecting Ornate Mantel Clocks

In these days of high tech and iPods many people don’t appreciate that ornate mantel clocks were sophisticated machines and would have been at the cutting edge of technology when they were first made. While mantel clocks had their use as a time piece their main function was ornamental, namely to sit on the mantelpiece and add to the decor of the room. If you want to start collecting ornate mantel clocks there is a wide choice and you might want to specialise in a particular era or style.

18th century clocks tend to be highly ornate and, unless you live in a Georgian mansion they might look a bit out of place in your living room. These clocks would have been made to order and wealthy owners would choose the movement as well as the casing. If any of these ever come up at auction they fetch high prices – a mantel clock similar to the one made for George III and Queen Charlotte by Matthew Boulton, with a movement by Thomas Wright, was sold at Sotheby’s in London in 2005 for £411,000. That is probably a bit steep for the average collector and it might be wise to look at something a bit more modest. Continue reading “Collecting Ornate Mantel Clocks”

Chaises Longues

Chaise Longues are luxurious pieces of furniture, originally used as ornamental items and as a day bed where the lady of the house could take a quick nap in the afternoon. The only way to get comfortable on a chaise longue is to lie back on it. It is said that Ian Fleming, of James Bond fame, would settle back in his chaise longue at his home in Goldeneye, Jamaica to dream up his stories.

A chaise longue usually measures around 6ft, so there is plenty of room to stretch out. Victorian chaises have a shapely serpentine shape and Regency couches are recognised by their attractive carved scroll ends. Both are the epitemy of elegance, and with a bolster cushion tucked under your neck you’re ready to kick off your shoes and settle back. Nowadays, the antique chaise longue is more often used as a decorative piece, with the modern soft sofa being preferred for the afternoon siesta.

Also known as couches, chaises longues began in the 17th century as caned day beds.  In the early Regency period, chaises were upholstered in gorgeous coloured fabrics and many were decorated with carved, inlaid or painted patterns or motifs, often in ebony or gilt.  The trademark ornate scrolls, at one end or both, and the delicate curved sabre legs, completed this couch’s elegant form and flowing lines.

During the later Regency period the form became heavier, with more carving.  Exotic designs were fashionable, such as palmettes, crocodiles and dolphins.  By the 1830s (the William IV period) the scrolls had become less pronounced, with squatter bun-style legs. Continue reading “Chaises Longues”