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Mora Clocks – some facts
All our Swedish painted Mora Clocks feature either original and later paint usually from late 1800s or early 1900s and each clock is unique in its design combining a variety of different colour palettes, heights, design elements, decorative features, gesso and wooden carvings, elaborate or simple hood ornaments, inscriptions and hand painted or gilt finishes. We also have a small selection of beautiful gilt carved cartel and antique wall clocks with original working mechanisms and other Gustavian clocks. The wall clocks have stunning carvings and are about 18″ high with a lovely crystal chime on the hour and half hour. They need winding about every seven days.
We now prefer to fit a modern battery operated clock mechanism for convenience to all of our antique mora clocks prior to shipping as the original clockwork mechanisms are highly unreliable and keep stopping even when correctly set up. We can do this without damaging your mora clock in any way as the original mechanism is just held in place by 1 small screw plate on its wooden platform that sits atop the clock body. 99% of our UK & international clients now choose to have the electric battery mechanism for convenience – from the outside you can’t see any difference from the original mechanism being in place and it makes life so much easier. We have 5 mora clocks at home and all have battery or chiming mechanisms.
Talking of which, If you choose the electric chiming mechanism, it has a handy 8 hour ‘night off’ switch that allows you to stop it chiming at night so it doesn’t disturb you and you also get a choice of ting tang or westminster chimes replayed through the built in speaker. As these are actual recordings of real clock chimes they sound exactly like the real thing – because they are. They look and sound great.
We can also repaint your clock in a colour of your choice if you want it to match your décor although we prefer not to touch original paint if possible as its very rare now to find a clock with completely original paint. Many clocks it seems were touched up around the early 1900s when they passed on to the next generation to ‘freshen’ them up. You also see some mora clocks where they have been “scraped back to the original paint”. This is a complete misnomer – its is just a paint effects style really. The original coat of chalky paint would have been a full rich coat not scraped and sanded back with lots of wood showing through. We have repainted and restored many mora clocks for our clients and created exactly the colour tones and feel they wanted, so don’t hesitate to ask us if you want something special. Patel clocks seem to be very popular at the moment.
Prices and shipping
Prices for our antique Swedish mora clocks go from £999-5000 and we ship anywhere in the world upon request. We have happy mora clock owners in the USA, Australia, Switzerland, UAE, France, Belgium, Canada, Italy, Greece, Holland,Hong Kong and many other countries around the globe. We use specialist antique shippers and they will crate your clock for export to protect it from the rigours of travel and handle all the paper work to your country for importation.
When were mora clocks made
Mora clocks were made mostly between 1790 and about 1880 initially around the area of Mora in Sweden, and the geographic name has become synonymous with the clock shape as they began to be made all over Sweden. They were only ever created by individual craftsman which is why you can never find 2 mora clocks that are exactly the same. It was down to either the artistic vision on the day they decided to make the clock or a specific commission that influenced the individual design.
Many clocks carry the makers name or initials such as AAS or CE Rydberg but you will find that initials have been added at a later date so unless there is written provenance, you shouldn’t pay too much attention to the makers name unless it was a small unknown one.
You will find the clocks are usually made of pine or occasionally oak with the various components often made by different craftsmen where clocks where made in a cooperative. The decorative embellishments can be made of gesso on more expensive clocks or carved wood and again you find lots of hand painted detail and trompe l’oeil work too. The clock hood glasses can be flat or convex as can the pendulum belly windows & you will find the country clocks often don’t have a pendulum viewing window as glass was very expensive in the 1800s and so you often see the country mora clocks with no face glass too.
If so here’s a few things to think about.
Work out if you have a color preference and any height restrictions. Do you want a country mora clock with simple decoration in a single colour, a grander hand painted design or one of the polychromatic kurbits folk art ones? No 2 clocks are the same and so if you find a finish you like, it makes sense to buy it while it’s available as you are unlikely to find the same thing again in exactly the same specifications.
Perhaps you want something a bit more fancy with elegant scroll work like one of our antique fryksdall clocks or one with lots of carved decoration or even hand painted scenes or flowers? Plainer clocks are fantastic for kitchens, bedrooms and hallways with the grander clocks suited for living rooms, studies and spaces that will show off their beauty.
Do you have a width preference? Mora clocks tend to be between 50-70cm wide but they do vary a lot although their depth is fairly constant at about 20-25cm.
What kind of clock face do you prefer? Standard numbers or roman numerals? A relatively clean clock face or one showing some damage from age? Some clock faces have wonderful decorative hand painted emblems on them including flowers and motifs. The faces are usually enamel paint on metal but on the very early clocks you can find both engraved metallic unpainted faces or enamel paint on a wooden faces. The last category tend to be late 1700s/very early 1800s.
Do you want to use the original clockwork mechanism, an electric battery chiming mechanism or a standard battery one? The original mechanisms are great but they take a lot of looking after and can be temperamental whereas with the battery ones , all you have to do is change the battery every 6 months.
Do you want the paint on the body to be pristine or distressed – each has a different feel and it really depends on what you prefer. Given that the clocks are over 150-200 years in most cases you will find there has been wood movement to the body and cracking to the paint in most cases – its nothing to worry about as all the clocks are structurally sound. We generally don’t over restore any wood cracks as it is part of the clocks heritage acquired through its life and it gives the clock a special aura.
Hood decoration – fancy or simple? Some mora clock hoods have amazing crowns and ornaments on them wheres the country ones are much simpler or in some cases have no crowns at all. The hood glass is usually in a round frame thats attached to the side of the hood by a hinge but we have them with no hinge at all so the glass is fixed to the hood and in one strange case even hinged from the top which is very strange.
Do you need to see the pendulum? If so you want a clock with a pendulum window although of course you wont be using the pendulum if you go with an electric battery mechanism.
Mora clocks are individual as their owners, so we always recommend that you go with your heart. There will be one clock that calls out to you for whatever reason and thats the one to go for. It may be the opposite of the clock you would choose if you followed your mental list but clocks are like people. It will be your friend for life watching over you like a guardian angel.
Thoughts on Mora Clocks
They exude a wonderful sense of peace as they watch over your home – antique mora clocks just draw your eye and give a great sense of satisfaction. Its all in the details – the curve of the belly, the way the clock stands so graceful and tall, the innate grandeur or simplicity of the decorative features and the numbering of the face.
One thing to remember is that all mora clocks have had a life and will to some extent have undergone some marking and general wear and tear – this only adds to their beauty but also you should expect to see some wood movement , paint distressing, old repairs and the like including often a small hole in the backboard drilled in the backboard. This was done to allow mora clocks to be bolted to the wall on the uneven floors of old houses. So if your chosen clock has none of these signs, you ought to wonder whether it is real or has undergone a full renovation (which to my mind spoils it and takes away the mora clocks sense of reality and history).
People’s expectations of mora clocks can be somewhat strange. We had a recent visitor who clearly needed a reproduction clock rather than an antique mora clock based both on price expectation and how she wanted it to look like. What is the point in having a clock that looks brand new and is completely perfect? The whole charm of antique mora clocks is their imperfections and the life they have lived that makes them unique. Its a badge of honour that has written their journey into their skin so to speak. The antique mora clocks we sell are always structurally sound and usually exhibit some wood movement from temperature and humidity changes over the years opening slightly at the seams and the paint work is often fairly cracked and distressed – which looks great. Of course we can repaint a clock and fill the gaps if you want it to look pristine but we prefer to draw a line at completely renovating a clock as you will erase its history presence and personality.
We have seen an upswing in mora clock sales in 2018 – everyone loves their elegance and sophistication. They work so well in all sorts of design settings and never fail to deliver charm and poise.
Lots of antique mora clocks going to the USA at the moment – so stocks are dwindling. Maybe get your favourite one pre brexit as prices will have to rise post brexit with expected changes in transport costs.
Don’t forget Mora clocks are an ideal christmas present so order yours now so it can be shipped in time for xmas