“My grandfather’s clock / Was too tall for the shelf / So it stood ninety years on the floor”

For those of you who regularly read this conservation blog, you might remember that some time ago we posted a blog about clocks (you can find it here: https://nostellprioryconservation.wordpress.com/2012/03/27/clocks/). This focused on caring for clocks and Nostell’s John Harrison clock. We received a great deal of interest and emails about Nostell’s clocks, so we’ve decided to focus this week’s blog post about the other clocks at Nostell (not just the star of the show John Harrison!) A few weeks ago we also received a visit from one of the National Trust clock experts, so we’ve included photos from his visit too!

A Tour of Nostell’s Clocks

As visitors enter Nostell, they are greeted with the chime of a mid-Georgian oak longcase clock by George Etherington of London. It’s a functional clock, but due to it’s location near the front door is subject to vastly fluctuating temperature and humidity, and loses about five minutes of time each week.

Lower Hall clock

Once we enter the state rooms, the clocks become much grander. Below in the Crimson Bedroom clock, which is an empire style ormolu mantel clock, with the striking movement in a plinth case. It is accompanied by a boy or gardener (or a boy-gradener), and dates to 1800-1835.

Boy-gardener clock in the Crimson Bedroom

A rather stately-looking clock greets visitors in the Breakfast Room. It’s a George III bracket clock on low gilt bracket feet, made by Jump in London, dating to 1760-1820. The photograph below is deceptive, as it makes the clock look quite small but it is in fact rather large and very heavy!

George III bracket clock

 Our clock conservator is Elliott Nixon, and he comes to service Nostell’s clocks once a year to check that they are healthy and working correctly (some of our clocks don’t work, but we hope to get them working in the future).

On the photo below you can see him checking our regency period quarter chiming bracket clock, made by Barber & Whitwell, York, around 1800-1830.

Examining the bracket clock

Opening up the back of the clock reveals the mechanism. The back door is made out of glass – this is because the clock was made to sit in front of a mirror, so you could see the mechanism reflected in the mirror.

The decoration looks like a ghost!

The clock below is possibly my favourite inside Nostell – it’s an ebony mantel clock made by Cousens in London, around 1800-1825.

Ebony mantel clock

We also have some rather ornate clocks, such as the blue enamel clock below, possibly made in France.

Enamelled clock

Regulator clock

Tucked away in a corner is a longcase regulator clock, so called because it would have been the first clock that was wound each week, and was the clock that all of the other clocks were set to. Therefore, this is the clock that the servants would have used as they went about their daily business, making sure tasks got completed on time.

Last but not least is not strictly a clock, but a barometer, made out of tulipwood, dated to George III, with a case made by Thomas Chippendale, and the movement made by Justin Vulliamy (1712-1797). Nostell Priory’s accounts from October 1769 state that it is ‘a very neat case for a Barrometer made of fine tulip, and other woods and very rich carv’d ornaments Gilt in Burnish Gold’, and cost twenty five pounds to make.

Chippendale’s barometer

I hope we haven’t taken up too much of your time (sorry!) reading this blog post, and hope you’ve enjoyed a tour of Nostell’s clocks! There’s just one more clock in Nostell that I haven’t mentioned. It’s very small, doesn’t work, and lives in a house within the house. Any guesses? Next time you’re at Nostell, have a look for the miniature clock inside the Dolls’ House – the attention to detail is amazing!

Spotlight on: Highlights of Nostell Priory

A few months ago saw the launch of the National Trust Collections website. The website holds details of almost every item within the National Trust and all of our properties. It means that you can see what treasures we hold in our properties from the comfort of your own homes!

Here’s the all important link: http://www.nationaltrustcollections.org.uk/ You can also see highlights from individual properties, including Nostell. These ‘highlights’ are what are considered the foremost pieces in a property’s collection.

To see all of Nostell’s highlights together, follow this link: http://www.nationaltrustcollections.org.uk/search/highlights/Nostell-Priory,-West-Yorkshire-(Accredited-Museum)/1

Can you guess what we’ve included in the highlights of Nostell Priory?

We have chosen a mix of paintings, furniture, and a cabinet. The highlights are listed below (in no particular order). If you click on each link it will take you to the web page for that particular object, so you can read about it in more detail. Don’t forget to vote in the poll at the bottom of the page for your favourite highlight!

1. The Hongs Bowl http://www.nationaltrustcollections.org.uk/object/959642

Hongs Bowl

2. The Dolls’ House http://www.nationaltrustcollections.org.uk/object/959710

Dolls’ House

3. Lady’s writing table http://www.nationaltrustcollections.org.uk/object/959738

Lady’s writing table

4. Medal Cabinet http://www.nationaltrustcollections.org.uk/object/959788

Medal cabinet

5. John Harrison clock http://www.nationaltrustcollections.org.uk/object/959830

John Harrison clock

6. Barometer http://www.nationaltrustcollections.org.uk/object/959831

Barometer

7. Brueghel’s The Procession to Calvary http://www.nationaltrustcollections.org.uk/object/959460

Brueghel

8. Lockey’s Sir Thomas Moore and his Family http://www.nationaltrustcollections.org.uk/object/960059

Lockey

9. Hugh Douglas Hamilton’s Sir Rowland Winn, 5th Bt (1739 – 1785) and his Wife Sabine Louise d’Hervart (1734 -1798) in the Library at Nostell Priory http://www.nationaltrustcollections.org.uk/object/960061

Hugh Douglas Hamilton

10. Hogarth’s Act 1, Scene 2 of The Tempest by William Shakespeare http://www.nationaltrustcollections.org.uk/object/960074

Hogarth

Do you agree with our highlights? You may have your own favourites from Nostell that you would like to see included. Let us know! Vote in the poll below and find out if your favourite object is the same as everybody else!

So go on, check out the links to have a look at our collections online – it may inspire you to come and see the objects in real life!

Ellie