Friday, September 25, 2009

The Quest for The Holy Grail (or How I Found my Mora Clock)

Many of you have emailed me asking how I came to love Swedish antiques. Growing up we had very little money and my exposure to antiques came from my parents flea market finds. Even then I loved the history of the old pieces, but the furniture was walnut or cherry and very dark and heavy. In 1992, I was newly engaged. I bought a stack of house magazines, excited about someday owning my own home. I was flipping through a magazine and was struck by a advertisement by Anderson Windows. What was this gorgeous clock with such shapely and graceful lines and light, beautiful wood? I was was awestruck. Here is the ad above. (the middle one - yes, I still have the ad!)
I carried the ad everywhere. I went to flea markets and antique shows and asked every dealer if they had a clock like this or knew where I could find one. I did find out it was a Swedish Mora clock, but no one in New England knew where I could find one. One day my husband laughed that I was on my own personal quest for the Holy Grail - the elusive Mora Clock!

In 1993 my husband and I moved to Munich, Germany. In Bavaria, I was exposed to beautiful painted pieces and lovely stripped and waxed country style antiques. Meanwhile my sister was living in Copenhagen, Denmark and we spent many weekends exploring old barns and antique shops, searching for the "Holy Grail", but also finding other wonderful treasures.
One day while jogging around Munich my husband saw a Mora clock in a window of a store. He spoke to the owner in his very limited German and was told that the clock was sold. For months he refused to let me know where the shop was because he thought I would feel worse if I saw the clock in person. Finally, we were walking nearby the shop one evening and I saw the clock. I went in and spoke to the owner, also in very limited German, but found that in fact the clock was For Sale, not Sold. (He had mixed up his verb tenses!)

I bought the clock on the spot although needed several more weeks of restoration to the clock works. It has beautiful carvings, swag details and an oak leaf crown. I have never seen a clock I love more than this one.
We have had it over fifteen years and have spent those years finding other beautiful European antiques to compliment it, but it remains my most favorite.

I hope you love it as much as I do!


  1. That is a great story! I am so glad you found your clock - it is one of the most beautiful ones I have seen.

  2. I love the clock! I love the fact that you still have the picture. I love the other photos. What a great story about finding a great treasure!

  3. Beautiful clock :-) She was obviously meant to be yours :-)


  4. What a fabulous story and yes she is a beauty....Have a wonderful weekend, xv.

  5. What a brilliant story and how precious is that clock to you.
    I love them and everything that goes with them i.e. Sandanavian/European furniture and interior pharaphanalia but it's as if it was meant to be for you to end up living in Gremany and your sister in Denmark.....and your clock is a beautiful example too. XXXX

  6. gorgeous - they look just like women to me. this one is a beauty! I want to see the whole room!!!

  7. Beautiful clock!
    And great story- I love a good antiquing story!

  8. I just got my first Mora clock this summer and also wrote about it on my blog! It's my favorite piece of furniture I've ever owned (and it doesn't even run!). Just a quick FYI: I work at a Swedish Antique store in Olney, Maryland: If you're ever in the DC-area please stop in. We'd love to see you! Hej da!

  9. That is a stunner! Great details, and I love that it is in natural wood.
    Enjoy her!


  10. What a dear story about you holy grail....and your clock is beautiful, even if it is unusual to see Swedish Mora clocks with no paint at all.

    Joni is so right when she refers to women. The part of Sweden where I was born (Ångermanland), we call them virgins.

    The clocks are mainly called Mora, a town in Dalarna ( a part in mid Sweden), but these kind of clocks were made in many parts of Sweden and therefore they differ in style, height , patterns etc etc. A good antique dealer in Sweden can specify this tricky task.

    Just a little question ( love your clock) - is the crown the original one?


  11. She is one beautiful clock! What a great story to go along with it! Must have been an important clock when made... carved instead of painted. I am still waiting to own my first. Hopefully someday soon!

  12. Ingela,
    Thanks so much for your very informative comment!
    I would love to know more history on my clock, but it has no markings except on the face. Unfortunately, when I finally found it the dealer had been hand scraping all the paint off. I would have preferred it painted. The bits of paint that are left are a wonderful shade of gray green. Finally, yes, the crown is original with no breaks or previous repairs.

  13. Gina,

    I LOVE your clock and although you said that you would have liked for it to have been painted, there is a big chance that it had millions of layers of paint on it that made it unappealing. That is so often the case with these clocks which is why the paint is scraped off. The fact that the original surface is so beautiful is a huge bonus.

    So glad to know that you still love it today. That is the huge benefit of incorporating antiques into interior design...they can be timeless.


  14. * GINA, it's just ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL~~~~ LOOOVE hearing about a "DREAM COME TRUE"!!!

    Even though we lived in Europe off n' on for over 18 years, & I collected "a few fab" pine antiques (including 3 shranks), I never DID find a clock quite LIKE this beauty (at least one I could AFFORD, in those days!)... What a LOVELY story~~ and such a CHARMING MEMORY you will always have... I sometimes miss Germany/BAVARIA so much!!!

    BTW, Garmisch-Partinkirschen is our VERY FAVORITE SPOT on EARTH to go~~~ when living in Germany we went there EVERY SINGLE TIME we had the chance... did you ski the Zugspitz too? Go to the Romance Festival, the gasthause where they do the slap-dance in their lederhosen, etc? Didn't you just LOOOOOVE the fab old furniture, dishes, etc too???

    GREAAAAT MEMORIES for me here ~~~ Many thanks for the fun, happy break!!!

    Linda in AZ *

  15. This is just the story... What good luck this beauty was still there waiting for you!
    You make me a little home sick...

    Auf Wiedersehen! :)

  16. What a sweet story! I'm so glad for you that it wasn't sold.

  17. Hi Gina.
    This clock was sitting waiting there for you!! What a beautiful find.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Tasmania, Australia

  18. Gorgeous clock! I LOVE it! It truly is the most beautful Mora clock I've seen! They don't usually have all the beautiful design and carving.
    I had hoped to find a Mora, but when I couldn't I settled for a Danish Bornholm clock. My inspiration for wanting a Mora clock and the clock I actually bought, came from a Traditional Home Magazine many years ago. Here's a link to a post I did about the room where I have the clock, just in case you'd like to see it.
    Thanks again for sharing this great was just meant to be YOUR clock! :-)


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