• English Furniture and Clocks auction at Christies

    Sale 7769

    English Furniture and Clocks

    19 November 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 7

    A VICTORIAN GIANT GILT AND PATINATED BRONZE CHRONOMETER EIGHT DAY TIMEPIECE CARRIAGE CLOCK WITH STAPLE BALANCE

    EDWARD DENT, LONDON, NO. 695. CIRCA 1845

    Price Realised  

    A VICTORIAN GIANT GILT AND PATINATED BRONZE CHRONOMETER EIGHT DAY TIMEPIECE CARRIAGE CLOCK WITH STAPLE BALANCE
    EDWARD DENT, LONDON, NO. 695. CIRCA 1845
    CASE: columns to the angles, engraved gilt arched frames to side glasses, solid rear door, foliate and scroll feet DIAL: scroll electroform gilt mask to white enamel chapter disc signed 'DENT/LONDON', blued steel hands MOVEMENT: single chain fusee with Harrison's maintaining power, large gilt platform with underslung Earnshaw spring detent escapement, Dent's patent staple balance with blued steel helical spring and diamond endstone, back plate signed 'Dent/LONDON/695'; original numbered winding key
    9 in. (23 cm.) high; 6¼ in. (16 cm.) wide; 5½ in. (14 cm.) deep


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    One of the finest clockmakers of the 19th Century, Edward John Dent (1790-1853) patented his 'staple' balance in 1842 to compensate for middle temperature error. he was granted the Royal Warrant as Chronometer Maker to the Queen in 1842 and in 1852 won the commission to make the Great Clock for the Palace of Westminster.
    Dent was already well known as a watch and clockmaker by the age of twenty four, supplying a regulator to the Admiralty and at least one or two pocket chronometers for the Colonial Office African Expedition. Between 1815-1829 he worked for many of the finest chronometer makers of the day and was also employed by the Greenwich Observatory to examine and repair chronometers. In 1830 Dent went into partnership with John Roger Arnold at 84 Strand. In 1840 he set up on his own at 64 Strand and also at 28 and 33 Cockspur Street.
    Derek Roberts notes (Carriage and Other Travelling Clocks, Atglen, 1993, p. 310), that by mixing of the various case styles and components such as hands, dials and masks etc, English carriage clock manufacturers were able to produce a wide variety of clocks. However, the case of the present clock, with its tapering columns and foliate cast feet, is highly unusual and we are not aware of any other examples.
    Charles Allix and Peter Bonnert (Carriage Clocks, Their History and Development, Woodbridge, 1974, p. 252) record Dent carriage clock No. 693 as also being a chronometer carriage clock with Dent's patent balance. That clock is dated circa 1845 and is described as being in a plain gilt case, probably with a funnel top.

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