• English Furniture and Clocks auction at Christies

    Sale 7769

    English Furniture and Clocks

    19 November 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 94

    A VICTORIAN MAHOGANY QUARTER-STRIKING EIGHT DAY TABLE CLOCK

    BENJAMIN LEWIS VULLIAMY, LONDON, NO. 1767. CIRCA 1847

    Price Realised  

    A VICTORIAN MAHOGANY QUARTER-STRIKING EIGHT DAY TABLE CLOCK
    BENJAMIN LEWIS VULLIAMY, LONDON, NO. 1767. CIRCA 1847
    CASE: stepped and moulded top, canted angles, pierced brass side frets, later brass commemorative plaque (1953) to the plinth, panelled rear door DIAL: 7 in. diameter engraved and silvered dial with strike/silent to XII and signed 'VULLIAMY/LONDON', blued steel hands MOVEMENT: thick rectangular plates with six pillars, half dead beat escapement, chiming the quarters on eight bells and striking the hours on a gong, back plate signed 'VULLIAMY/LONDON/NO.1767'; Vulliamy steel rod pendulum
    16¾ in. (42.5 cm.) high; 11¾ in. (30 cm.) wide; 6¾ in. (17 cm.) deep


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    Benjamin Lewis Vulliamy (1780-1854) 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. He was Master of the Clockmakers' Company five times.
    The functional design of this clock suggests it was intended for use in a fine office or boardroom. Vulliamy supplied clocks for many of the private London clubs and offices and also for government buildings. His clocks were always of the highest quality and some were dated and bore the Royal cipher. A Vulliamy timepiece table clock (No. 921) in a similarly utilitarian case to the present clock, but with a chamfered top and front door, was originally made for the Post Office in 1831 and sold anonymously, Bonhams London, 13 December 2005, lot 108 (£9,000). Another Vulliamy clock, No. 712, also a timepiece rather than a quarter-chiming clock but of similar design sold anonymously, Bonhams London, 29 January 2007, lot 712 (£3,100). That clock had brass side frets and a similar inset front panel to the present clock.
    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 details each clock produced, 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. 1767 can be approximately dated to 1847.
    See also lot 77.

    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.


    Pre-Lot Text

    THE PROPERTY OF AN INSTITUTION