Skip to Content

To best protect the health and safety of our community, the museum is temporarily closed. Learn more.

Shelf Clock

A work made of mahogany, white pine, iron, brass, painted glass.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

Image actions

  • A work made of mahogany, white pine, iron, brass, painted glass.


c. 1820/40


Benjamin Torrey
American, active c.1817–1843

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.

On View

American Art, Gallery 172


Benjamin Torrey


Shelf Clock


United States


c. 1820–1840


Mahogany, white pine, iron, brass, painted glass


H.: 36 in.

Credit Line

Quinn E. Delaney and Vance American Art funds

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions