Can you tell a Swedish Mora Clock from a French Comtoise Clock or a Danish Bornholm Clock?
Years before I found my Mora clock, I bought this clock at a thrift store. It’s not an antique. The label on the bottom says it is from Pier 1 Imports. But, I love the shape. A visitor informed me that it is French Comtoise clock.
It’s not. It’s not a real anything. It’s a battery powered mantel clock. But it got me thinking. What is the difference between a Comtoise clock and a Mora clock?
Gustavian is a Swedish style that is very close to French Neoclassicism. So perhaps that is another reason these styles are so similar.
What is the difference between a Comtoise clock and a Mora clock?
When I started trying to contrast Comtoise and Mora clocks, I found other long case clocks that look really similar, too. They were all made around the same time and they all have a similar form. They are all eight day clocks.
So let’s play a game. See if you can identify these clocks. Some are French Comtoise Clocks. Some are Danish Bornholm Clocks and some are Swedish Mora Clocks. The answers are below.
Left to Right: 19th century Comtoise clock
Photo by FrancoisFC
Comtoise clock in Poligny in the Jura – 1782 – Comtois museum of the citadel of Besançon
Photo by Arnaud
Wall Mounted French comtoise in Holland
Photo by Weefemwe
Right: Comtoise clock from France.
Photo by Lionel Allorge
Comtoise Clocks are also called Morbier clocks or Morez clocks. They were made in France, in the Franche-Comté region, near Morbier, from 1680 to 1890 or so.
These clocks can be long case clocks or be mounted to the wall.
Comtoise Clocks are 6 to 8 feet tall. They are described as having a curving “potbellied” case and a greater use of curved lines. Greater than what?
They are also identified by “a heavy, elongated, highly ornamented pendulum bob” that “extends up the case.”
Left: Bornholm clock (a longcase clock type originally made on Bornholm, Denmark). This case is rebuilt sometime in the 20th century
Photo by Loproc
Both in the Center: Longcase clocks from 1760 and 1745 at Kulturhistorisk Museum, a part of Bornholms Museum in Rønne in Denmark. In Danish a longcase clock is known as a bornholmerur.
Photo by Leif Jørgensen
Right: Bornholm clock made by Edvart Sonne in Rønne, Bornholm in the late 1700s. The colour is not original, repainted around 1990.
Photo by Mogens Engelund
Bornholm or Bornholmer Clocks are from the Danish island of Bornholm. They were made from 1745 to 1900 or so. They are described as having a “delicate crown and if the head is squarish styled, a little window in each side so you can see the works moving.” (www.country-gallery.com/clockhistory.html)
Bornholm Clocks can be Baroque or Empire style.
Left to Right: G N Frykman’s Mora Clock
Photo by G N Frykman
Clock in the Hallwyl Museum
Photo by Jenny Bergensten
1834 Mora clock
Photo by G N Frykman
Ölsbo Clock in Mjöbäcks Church, Västergötland, Sweden
Photo by Gösta Imberg
Mora Clocks are Swedish. They were made from the late 1700s through the 1800s. The clock movements were made in the Mora area of Sweden.
To strike the hour, there is either a gong on a spiral wire or two bells above the clock mechanism. The original weights are cast iron.
There is a lot more information on the internet, but I’m not going to repeat it here. Even experts debate what clock it is unless they can see the mechanism.
Carl Larsson’s Clocks
The Swedish painter Carl Larsson painted many views of his home. At least three of these had clocks. The one on the left is from Evening Interior. The one in the center, I think, from Be Happy, looks like the same clock, but the one on the right, from Brita in the Drawing Room is a different clock. Neither look like a Swedish Mora clock. They look to me more like Danish Bornholm clocks.
As you look through paintings of his home, you see the same furnishings, but moved to different locations.
Carl Larsson and his family lived in this house in Sundborn, Sweden. The house is open to the public.
The photos of the rooms show all the things from his paintings.