Horace Wood Brock Collection

The Frick Collection is pleased to announce the extended loan of several important decorative arts objects from Horace Wood Brock, one of America’s most remarkable collectors. Over the last three decades, Dr. Brock has assembled an enviable collection of French and English decorative arts dating from 1675 to 1820, as well as paintings and Old Master drawings. Five French clocks from his collection are featured in the current special exhibition Precision and Splendor: Clocks and Watches at The Frick Collection, which opened in the Portico Gallery in January and will remain on view until February 2014. In addition to his clocks, four important pieces of French eighteenth-century decorative arts from Dr. Brock’s private collection are now on view in various permanent collection galleries at the Frick, where they will be enjoyed by museum visitors for the next several years.

Jean-Henri Riesener (1734-1806)
Fall-Front Desk (Secrétaire à abattant), 1785
Oak veneered with mahogany, gilt-bronze mounts, marble, and leather writing surface
55 3/4 x 30 x 16 in. (141.6 x 76.2 x 40.6 cm)
Horace Wood Brock Collection

Location: Boucher Room


The French word secrétaire derives from secret, or secrecy. Such pieces were created to secure private documents. When opened, the fall-front panel provides a leather-covered writing surface and reveals twelve interior drawers of varying sizes and shapes. The lower part of the cabinet (concealed by two doors) provides extra storage, as does the large drawer above... MORE »

Pediment Clock
Movement by Lenoble (dates unknown)
Gilt-bronze mounts attributed to François Rémond (1747–1812)
31 5/8 x 19 3/8 x 8 1/4 in (80.3 x 49.2 x 21 cm)
French, Paris, c. 1790
Private collection

Location: Library


This imposing clock exemplifies the role played by sculpture in the design of clock cases in late eighteenth-century France. Two caryatids in black bronze, draped in antique style, were modeled by an unknown sculptor who studied classical architecture. They support the upper part of a Greek temple, in the manner of the Erechtheion in Athens, built between 421 and 406 BC. Here the temple,... MORE »

Garniture of One Clock and Two Vases
(Vase à anses à tire-bouchon)
Clock movement by Jean Martin (active 1737-86)
Chinese porcelain, Qianlong period (1736-95)
French Gilt-bronze mounts, c. 1764
Clock: 21 x 8 in. (53.3 x 20.3 cm)
Vases: 14 x 9 in. (35.6 x 22.9 cm)
Private collection

Location: Library


Although by the eighteenth century mechanisms had become both reliable and accurate, clocks continued to function as important status symbols indicating their owners’ wealth and refinement. This set is made with three vases in rare Chinese porcelain known as celadon bleu fleuri. Soon after they reached France, the vases were embellished with gilt-bronze mounts and a movement by Jean... MORE »