Saturday, May 18, 2019

Decorating With French And Swedish Cartel Clocks

The reign of Louis XIV saw French clock making come into it's own with gorgeous, highly ornate, gilt bronze (ormolu) covered clocks fit for the opulence of Versailles. However, it was during France's "Golden Age", c.1740-1830 that the country was considered the leading clock making nation. This was due to the excellence and superior craftsmanship of French clock makers. This was also the era of cartel clocks.

The cartel clock was a Rococo invention. These clocks originated in Paris and were popular from 1730 through the reign of Louis XV. The cartel clock was the first clock to be hung directly on the wall. It was cartouche shaped with the housing or frame (cartel is French for frame) usually executed in ormolu or gilded wood.These French wall clocks often featured Roman numerals on white dials surrounded by gilt garlands and festooned with bronze Greek or Roman figures and cherubs. 

The cartel clock was also admired by Swedish King, Gustav III while visiting Versailles. The Gustavian cartel is a beautiful clock that is usually gilded or painted in the creamy whites that are so evocative of all things Gustavian.

As with all "trends" the cartel clock gave way to the style of the day, the mantle clock, under the reign of Louis XVI. Then, at the turn of the century, in Töreboda, southern Sweden, a firm of watchmakers known as Westerstrand and Sons established their business producing gilded wooden cartel clocks inspired by the early French clocks.

I love them and recently purchased one for myself. I hope you will enjoy the images of cartel clocks that I have gathered and can find one for your old world interiors.

The 18th century was a great age for the development of the mechanical clock. Many new styles were introduced such as the cartel or hanging clock. Before the invention of the cartel clock a wall clock was pretty much a clock sitting on a wall bracket.

The cartel clock was among the earliest forms of clocks designed for display within the 18th-century French home.

Renowned for their abundance of Rococo swirls and arabesques, French cartel clocks were often decorated with gilded cherubs, nymphs, animals and heroes. The whole clock case was covered in gilt and ormolu. 

Chateau de Villette, decorated by Jacques Garcia

The cartel clocks were the trend of the time and were found in all the great houses of the day.

Chateau de Chantilly via

Since cartel clocks were no longer part of furniture, designers were free to make them more graceful and sculptural in style. They literally became works of art.

One of the many makers of these sorts of clocks, as well as other styles, was Frederick Japy, whose Japy Freres would become the leading French clock manufacturers in the 19th century. This is a Japy Freres Large Antique French Rococo Cartel Wall Clock - Circa 1880.

Ritz-Paris bedroom with bronze cartel clock.

The home of Hubert and Isabelle d'Ornano

It is very fashionable to suspend a cartel clock over a large and ornate mirror.

via Pinterest

Floating in the middle of this large mirror is a Louis XVI French Cartel Clock, circa 1760, crafted by Louis Jouard of Paris.

Axel Vervoordt

While a French cartel clock makes a stunning addition to any room, many times they were displayed in the dining room.

via Pinterest

Cartel clock in the dining room of Chateau de Villette.

These clocks just seem to provide instant elegance to an interior.

via Pinterest

The cartel clock is equally impressive in living rooms.

I can't have too many French clocks!!

Hallways and corridors are also showplaces for a cartel clock.

A Chinoiserie interior also pairs beautifully with a fabulous antique cartel clock.

Lisa Farmer - Eye For Design

This is the antique cartel clock I bought for my bedroom. I love them floated on mirrors but I had already mounted a sunburst mirror over my largest mirror so decided to use an old handmade tapestry that hangs in my window box as the background for my gilt wood cartel clock. 

Lisa Farmer -Eye For Design

 I love all cartel clocks but I prefer the more casual elegance of the gilded wood styles. The cases would be carved from linden wood, finished with gesso, and then the gilt would be applied to imitate French Ormolu. Sophie and Chanel approve.

via Pinterest

Brian J. McCarthy

And don't forget the class and elegance cartels bring to the bedroom.

via Pinterest

Many times French cartel clocks are displayed on the back curtain of a canopied bed.

While there are many different design styles, the asymmetrical cartel clock is one of the most popular styles.

Incorporate a cartel clock into a lovely vignette.

19th Century French Louis XVI Style Ormolu Signed Cartel Clock And Barometer via Pinterest
The cartel clock is a excellent accessory for a formal or casual country French interior.

via Pinterest

If a Swedish Gustavian interior is your idea of perfection, the gilt wood Swedish style cartel clock will make a handsome addition.

Another Swedish cartel clock in a beautiful hand carved gilt wood case. Even though they are elegantly designed, these clocks work so well with the simple lines of Gustavian interiors.

Here is an example of a Swedish Neoclassical circa 1820s gilded and carved wood cartel clock.

Beautiful cartel clock via

A lovely cartel clock in the Green Room of Sturehov Castle built in the Gustavian style in 1780 by the finance minister at the court of King Gustav III.

Now here is a bit of Heaven. A Swedish Mora clock surrounded by fabulous cartel clocks!!

If you like the Swedish gilt wood cartel clocks make sure they are from the Westerstrand factory in Toreboda Sweden. 

It is getting harder to find affordable cartel clocks. I recommend estate auctions or let a booth owner in your local antiques mall know you are looking. You might even be lucky enough to find one on Craigslist, ETSY or EBAY. Just be patient and wait for that bargain to show up!!

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This blog post was published by Lisa Farmer

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