July 23, 2014 The Restoration of Hyde Hall’s Magnificent Alabaster Portico Clock
A high-quality, alabaster portico clock that is an original part of the furnishings at Hyde Hall has been completely restored and returned to the Outer Library mantelpiece. Manufactured in Paris in 1823, the clock had not been running for at least fifty years. Little Falls watch and clockmaker John Kovacik was commissioned to undertake a complete restoration of the clock, including the 8 day time and strike movement and the alabaster case. The movement and case were completely disassembled, cleaned, polished, and rebuilt. The ormolu mounts were also carefully cleaned and retain their original gilding.
Mr. Kovacik replaced the missing dentils using antique pieces of alabaster that exactly match the originals. The movement, which was heavily rusted, nevertheless retains its original springs in good condition (each dated 1823). After a thorough cleaning, polishing and re-bluing of the rusted gear arbors, the clock now functions as it did when George Clarke purchased it on August 15, 1824 from David J. Magnin, an early 19th-century New York City retailer of fine clocks and jewelry imported from France and England. The clock strikes a bell on the hour and the half-hour, producing a crisp, clear, pleasant tone.
This large and impressive clock joins two other important clocks at Hyde Hall: the Scottish drum-head tall case clock in the Main Hall and the beautiful French figural gilt clock and music box on the Drawing Room mantelpiece. Hyde Hall is proud to display its restored and working timepieces that now strike the hours for visitors at our fifty-room limestone mansion.