Veined grandfather clock at St. Jørgen’s Hospital

Veined grandfather clock. Photo: Bergen City Museum.

There are several old grandfather clocks at St. Jørgen’s Hospital, They were perhaps gifted to the hospital by wealthy families in Bergen. This is one of them, with a clockwork from the 1670s and a mahogany case. We don’t know who gave this grandfather clock to the hospital or when it came here.

Like much of the inventory at St. Jørgen’s, the clock case is veined. This means that it is painted to resemble a noble species of tree. In Norway, oak veining is common on furniture made of pine and other common types of wood. This clock case is veined to look like oak, but whoever held the brush could not have recognised the precious wood he had in front of him. The mahogany case has therefore been painted to resemble oak, considered the finest type of wood in Norway.

Veined grandfather clock, detail. Photo: Bergen City Museum.

Could it be that one of the hospital’s residents veined the chairs, tables and clock cases at some point in the 19th century? Of course, it may also have been done by those who made the furniture. Whatever the case, this is painstaking work that has taken a long time. 

The clock has probably stood here for many years. Many different people have been responsible for winding it, and even more have lain awake at night listening to it tick and chime.

Veined grandfather clock. Photo: Bergen City Museum.

Today, this grandfather clock is in the small ward at the hospital.

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