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    Sale 7561

    Simon Sainsbury The Creation of an English Arcadia

    18 June 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 147

    A George III brass-mounted mahogany striking eight day bracket clock


    Price Realised  


    A George III brass-mounted mahogany striking eight day bracket clock
    Benjamin Lewis Vulliamy, London, No 611. Circa 1815
    CASE: with triple brass-lined rectangular pads to the break-arch top surmounted by brass handle, brass-lined front door and brass mouldings to all angles, pierced later mahogany side frets and raised on brass bracket feet; case key
    DIAL: 6¾ in. wide and with gilt-brass moulded surround to the white enamel Roman and Arabic chapter disc signed VULLIAMY/LONDON, with pierced blued steel spade hands, foliate spandrels, subsidiary enamel discs to the floral engraved arch for STRIKE/SILENT and pendulum regulation, flanking a further signature engraved Vulliamy/LONDON/611.
    MOVEMENT: with rectangular plates joined by five ring-turned pillars, twin gut fusees, half dead beat anchor escapement and hour rack strike on bell, the back plate signed Vulliamy/London/611; numbered pendulum, cranked winding key
    15 in. (38 cm.) high, handle down; 10¾ in. (27.5 cm.) wide; 7½ in. (19cm.) deep

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    Roger Smith, 'Vulliamy Clock Numbering', Antiquarian Horology, Vol.XXI, No.5, Autumn 1994, pp.427-429
    D. Roberts, English Precision Pendulum Clocks, Atglen, 2003
    C. Jagger, Royal Clocks, The British Monarchy and its Timekeepers, London, 1983

    The elegant design of this clock, with its arched case with triple brass-lined pads and enamel chapter discs to the dial, may be seen on a number of other Vulliamy table clocks. These include: an ebonised three train table in the Royal Collection and illustrated in C. Jagger, (p.90, fig.124); a mahogany striking table clock, No.691 sold Christie's London, Important Clocks, Watches and Marine Chronometers, 9 June 1999, lot 44; a mahogany quarter striking table clock No.546 with Royal provenance sold Phillips London, Clocks and Watches, 26 June 2001; and a mahogany quarter striking table clock, No.540 with Royal provenance sold Bonhams, London, Fine Clocks, Scientific Instruments and Barometers, 28 May 2002, lot 198.

    Benjamin Lewis Vulliamy was the third generation in his family's clockmaking firm and became clockmaker to King George III and his son, the Prince Regent, later King George IV. Both his father, Benjamin and his grandfather, Justin also held the Royal Warrant serving as clockmakers to Kings George II and III. Benjamin Lewis entered the business at an early age and was employed in helping with the alterations being made to Carlton House in the early 19th Century. His Royal connections gave him entry into the Palace and other important buildings where he extended and maintained the Royal collection of clocks. He was also employed as purchasing agent in the acquisition of fine art and acted as a foreman and clerk of works. His influence and involvement in this range of operations earned him the nickname 'The Prince's furniture man'. Benjamin Lewis also supplied the government buildings with many clocks, always of the highest quality and usually bore the Royal cipher and were dated. He later became interested in turret clocks and supplied a replacement for the one by Knibb at Windsor Castle. He hoped to win the contract for the great clock at Westminster Palace but lost out to Edward Dent. He became Free of the Clockmakers Company in 1809 and was Master five times.

    The numbering system used on Vulliamy clocks was introduced by Benjamin Vulliamy in 1788 and was continued by his son Benjamin Lewis. The Vulliamy firm kept ledgers which contain comprehensive details of the process involved in the creation of the clocks, including the time taken to make the individual elements, the outside suppliers and the purchasers. Although many of the records have been lost, the ledgers which relate for the years 1797 to 1806 and 1820 to 1831 have survived and are in the possession of the British Horological Institute. In researching the system ('Vulliamy Clock Numbering'), Antiquarian Horology, Vol.XXI, No.5, Autumn 1994, pp.427-429), Roger Smith has used the surviving data to compile a graph from which unrecorded clocks can be fairly accurately dated. Using this information the present clock No. 611 would appear to date from just after 1815.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    Acquired from Ronald A. Lee, 23 May 1973