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    Sale 2796

    The P.C. Spaans Collection of Important European Clocks

    19 December 2007, Amsterdam

  • Lot 495

    A William and Mary ebony and gilt-brass mounted striking table clock with pull quarter repeat


    Price Realised  


    A William and Mary ebony and gilt-brass mounted striking table clock with pull quarter repeat
    Thomas Tompion, London, No.260. Circa 1695
    Of Tompion Phase II design, with faceted gilt-brass ribbon-tied handle to the cushion-moulded top, pierced silk-backed frets to the front door top rail and two frets to each side, with matching gilt-brass double-mask escutcheons, the moulded plinth on block feet, the inside rear door applied with three labels (see footnote), the 17.5 x 20 cm. (7 x 8 in.) rectangular dial with scored outer line, foliate scroll engraving, with winged cherub mask lower spandrels to silvered Roman and Arabic chapter ring with cruciform half hour and half quarter hour markers, finely matted centre with mock pendulum aperture, cut and blued steel hands, with silvered rings above for regulation and strike/silent, signed between them within an oval band Tho:Tompion/Londini fecit, the eight day fully latched movement with seven pillars, twin line fusees, rack hour strike on bell and pull quarter repeat incorporating a smaller bell, the repeat cords with replaced ivory buttons and working to each side of the case via Tompion's system of interconnected steel levers, the bridges, cocks and back plate profusely engraved with foliage within an engraved border, signed on an oval reserve Tho Tompion/Londin fecit, with holdfast hook below; spring-suspended pendulum with brass lenticular bob and brass rod, pierced and engraved winding key, case key
    37.5 cm. high, handle down
    With iron-bound oak travel box

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    R.W. Symonds, Thomas Tompion, His Life and Work, London, 1951, p. 149, figs. 122-123
    Jeremy Evans, Thomas Tompion at the Dial and Three Crowns, Ticehurst, 2006

    The labels to the inside rear door are respectively; a retail label, an exhibition label and a repairer's label, as follows:

    Tompion 260 is numbered on its back plate but not on its case. Although one expects to see a punched number on the front door cill of a Tompion table clock, corresponding to the number of the movement, in fact Tompion was more haphazard in his case numbering than is commonly supposed. Of the table clocks made around the same time as this clock, for example, several are not numbered on their cases: 244, 255, 261 and 272 (signed by Graham). No.276 is numbered on the seatboard (another position for Tompion's numbers) and not on the case, whilst 281 is numbered twice on the front door cill. Even Tompion 278 -- better known as the Medici Tompion -- is not numbered on its case.
    The dial on 260 is innovative and shows for the first time, and apparently uniquely, on a 'standard' Tompion spring clock engraving between the spandrels, something already seen on his longcase clock dials. Indeed, this engraving extends to the upper dial, a feature which until after the 1977 sale was partly obscured by two typical Tompion upper half spandrels. Although these were quite probably original they have since been removed and the single screw holes which they used have been filled. It seems probable that on this first clock to feature dial engraving on dial positions hitherto left plain that upper spandrels were also used, suggesting that the workshop was not accustomed to this new style. The corners under the lower spandrels have been left plain.
    The back plate engraving is in style identified by Jeremy Evans as being the work of engraver 195. A particularly rare feature is its use of a wheatear border, a feature seen on only a handful of Tompion clocks, such as 201 and 220.
    The travel box sold with 260 is convincing in design and construction, and shows every sign of being of the same age as the clock, but it is not mentioned in the 1949 and 1954 sales catalogues. It may therefore be assumed that it joined the clock at some point between 1954 and 1974, when it is first recorded, although it is certainly in keeping with other known Tompion travel cases such as that of No.391 (sold Sotheby's London, Important Clocks, Watches, Wristwatches and Barometers 22 February 1990, lot 316). It may be compared with contemporary travel cases for clocks by Windmills and Quare shown in Dawson, Drover & Parkes, Early English Clocks, Woodbridge, 1982, pp.406-407, pls.703-704. Cases do, of course, become separated from their clocks; a case identified as belonging to a Tompion clock was sold Christie's London, Clocks and Watches, 5 November 1975, lot 60.

    We are grateful to Mr Jeremy Evans for his assistance with this footnote.

    Special Notice

    Christie’s charges a premium to the buyer on the Hammer Price of each lot sold at the following rates: 29.75% of the Hammer Price of each lot up to and including €5,000, plus 23.8% of the Hammer Price between €5,001 and €400,000, plus 14.28% of any amount in excess of €400,001. Buyer’s premium is calculated on the basis of each lot individually.


    The Property of a Gentleman, sold Christie's London, Important Scientific Instruments and Fine Clocks, 30 March 1977, lot 170
    The late Arthur J. Colls Esq., sold Sotheby's London, 6 March 1954
    to James Oakes
    Mrs A.P. Cunliffe, sold Sotheby's London, 25 February 1949, lot 104
    to Arthur J. Colls


    British Clockmakers Heritage Exhibition, 1952, catalogue no.121 (lent by Arthur J Colls, Esq.)
    Breda Antique Dealers' Fair, 1978