About this artwork
An alternative to expensive tall case clocks, shelf clocks were more affordable in the early 19th century. On this piece, Benjamin Torrey used a technique called eglomise, in which paint is applied to the back of a glass pane so that the reverse image is visible to the viewer. The romanticized pastoral scene and the decorative motif that borders both the upper and lower cases evince the design possibilities in use during the Neoclassical period. This particular clock is rare in that it retains both its original glass and its striking mechanism. A prized possession, it remained in the Torrey family until the Great Depression.
- Benjamin Torrey
- Shelf Clock
- United States
- c. 1820–1840
- Mahogany, white pine, iron, brass, painted glass
- H.: 36 in.
- Quinn E. Delaney and Vance American Art funds