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Case study

Restoring the Sunflower Clock

Learn more about the conservation of this 18th-century decorative clock

A rare ‘Sunflower Clock’ has been conserved to its former brilliance by our conservation team. The remarkable gilt-bronze clock is shaped like a sunflower and mounted into the centre of a porcelain vase. It contains a bouquet of delicate porcelain flowers which date from the early 1750s.

Natural flowers were sometimes mingled with the porcelain examples. As the porcelain bouquet surrounding the clock can be entirely removed, it is possible that the porcelain flower stems were placed in the vase over the winter, to be replaced with real specimens during the summer months.

Over time some of the original porcelain flowers were lost or damaged. As part of conservation work new 18th-century flowers were added to replace missing pieces, and others were enlarged. The arrangement of the bouquet was also updated to match contemporary records. 

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Vincennes porcelain factory (1738-56)
The Sunflower clock c. 1752
    RCIN 30240

    A gilt bronze clock in the form of a sunflower, mounted into the centre of a Vincennes porcelain urn shape vase containing a bouquet of flowers, also of Vincennes porcelain, on stems of green laquered brass wire. Arranged as a loose bouquet, the porcelain flowers surround a Sunflower Clock which dates from the early 1750s. The clock’s dial...

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