Automaton brass dial longcase clock by Richard Comber of Lewes offered for £8750 by WF Bruce Antiques.

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The show runs at WF Bruce Antiques from December 2-23, bringing together a range of objects that depict the biblical couple across the centuries.

“One of the very first clocks I bought when I started had an image of Adam and Eve and it beguiled me”, dealer William Bruce, a clocks specialist, tells ATG. “There were many versions of it on clock dials and I wondered where the idea came from.”

Comber’s clock shows Adam and Eve with hounds running in the background and a serpent winding around the tree between them. The two sinners can be seen covering their faces in shame. It was probably a special order from a local estate, as was the case with many of Comber’s clocks.

Offered for £8750, it is one of more than 50 objects featured in the show including stone, carved wood, stained glass, paintings, samplers and other media.


Adam and Eve are particularly popular figures on Scottish clocks, such as this 14in arch dial by Dobbie of Glasgow. To the corners are four muses with Victorian ladies engaged in sculpture, geometry, drawing and artistry. Contained in an inlaid mahogany case, 7ft tall, it is priced £5250 by WF Bruce Antiques.

 According to Bruce, the distinctive figures of Adam and Eve that appear on so many clock faces can be traced back to Dürer, whose engraving of the two was well known and widely disseminated. In compiling the show he has found that many of the scenes are dramatic, but many others are humorous or irreverent.

“It’s just an uplifting topic”, he says, adding that, with challenging times in the world, he hopes visitors will find the show “uplifting and hopeful”.

Working with fellow dealer Patrick Robbins, he strove to make the selection wide ranging in terms of dates as well as prices, which range from £120-70,000. The oldest works in the show are from the late 16th century, while some are Contemporary, including some pieces by Sussex artists.

In staging the show, Bruce is keen for people to come to the gallery and see the objects for themselves. Online selling is not for him, and he says that he deliberately sells “practically nothing online”.

However, there will be a catalogue available for the exhibition as the opening date approaches.


Sampler by Jane Pulleyn Acomb at age 11, dated 1846. It features Adam and Eve – with their cat and dog – and is offered for £2450 at WF Bruce Antiques.