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    Sale 7727

    Important English Furniture and Clocks

    4 June 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 80

    A WILLIAM III WALNUT AND BURR-WALNUT STRIKING MONTH-GOING LONGCASE CLOCK

    THOMAS TOMPION, LONDON, NO. 301. CIRCA 1698

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A WILLIAM III WALNUT AND BURR-WALNUT STRIKING MONTH-GOING LONGCASE CLOCK
    THOMAS TOMPION, LONDON, NO. 301. CIRCA 1698
    CASE: the caddy top with carved gilt-wood flambeau urn finials on pedestals to the front angles, silk-backed frieze fret to the front of the upper tier, inset brass-capped plain columns to the front angles and conforming quartered columns to the rear, moulded frames to glazed side panels, inventory label to the inner edge of the lower rail inscribed 'IDEN COLLECTION/INVENTORY NO.', the trunk with boxwood and ebony strung panels to the sides, the trunk door with gilt brass foliate escutcheon and punch numbered '301' to the inner leading edge, with label to the inside inscribed 'IDEN COLLECTION/INVENTORY NUMBER 2068 TOMPION' the plinth with conforming boxwood and ebony strung side panels and feather-banded front panel raised on restored moulded skirting; case key
    DIAL: the 11 in. square brass dial with bolt and shutter lever to upper left, double-screwed winged cherub mask spandrels centred by foliate engraving, signed along the lower edge 'Thos. Tompion Londini fecit', the silvered chapter ring with sword hilt half hour markers, finely matted centre with subsidiary seconds ring and pin hole adjusted date square, blued steel hands
    MOVEMENT: fully latched with six fine ringed pillars, bolt and shutter maintaining power, anchor escapement and countwheel strike on bell, the back plate punch-numbered '301' along the lower edge and with brass securing bracket (restored) to steel bracket in the backboard; pendulum, brass weights, the pendulum bob and weights inscribed 'IDEN/2068/TOMPION'
    89 1/3 in. (227 cm.) high; 18¾ in. (47.5 cm.) wide; 10¼ in. (26 cm.) deep


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    COMPARATIVE LITERATURE:
    R.W. Symonds, Thomas Tompion, His Life and Work, London, 1951.
    J. Evans, Thomas Tompion at the Dial and Three Crown, Ticehurst, 2006.
    No. 301 well displays Tompion's restrained taste, with its fine and elegant proportions and the refined detail of its mouldings. As Symonds (p.173) notes, he relied on well figured walnut veneers for decoration, enhanced by feather banding and boxwood and ebony strung panels. The evolution of clock case design changed slowly throughout Tompion's life and his clocks from this period show little variation. Although very similar in design some cases were slightly taller, with double fret friezes and high domes; the present clock is slightly shorter, with single frieze fret and shallow dome. Clocks with two frieze frets are more often found than those with the single fret frieze seen on the present clock. Another month-going example is No. 284 (sold, Christie's, London, The Samuel Messer Collection of English Furniture, Clocks and Barometers, 5 December 1991, lot 33). The next clock in Tompion's sequence, No. 302, is also a walnut month going longcase clock -- signed Tompion and Banger -- and has a double frieze (see Symonds p. 72).
    Tompion's numbering system started circa 1682 and Jeremy Evans (p. 71) suggests clocks in the lower 300s were retailed circa 1698. Fine walnut month-going longcase clocks by Tompion appear infrequently at auction. Excluding Nos. 115 and 395, which have associated cases, the following examples have appeared at auction in recent years:
    No. 333, sold anonymously, Christie's London, 13 December 2000, lot 104, (£311,750)
    No. 318, sold from Collection of the late 13th Lord Fairfax of Cameron Bt, Christie's London, 11 July 2003, lot 73 (£341,250)
    No. 365, with Royal provenance, sold anonymously, Christie's London, 15 September 2004, lot 43 (£520,450)
    Thomas Tompion (1639-1713), born at Northill, Bedfordshire, had moved to London by 1671. In 1674 he moved to Water Lane and met Dr. Robert Hooke, through whom he came to the notice of Charles II. From this time he held an unrivalled position in English horology. In 1703 he was Master of the Clockmakers' Company. He died aged 74 and is buried in Westminster Abbey.

    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.


    Provenance

    Walter Iden, inventory No. 2068.
    Charles Frodsham, London, September 1957 (trade advertisement).
    Bought from Ronald A. Lee, Molesey, 18 April 1959 by the present owner's father and by descent.


    Pre-Lot Text

    THE PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN


    Literature

    H. Cescinsky, The Old English Master Clockmakers and their Clocks, London, 1938, p.59, figs. 76-77.
    K. Ullyett, In Quest of Clocks, London, 1950, p. 21 (foot note).
    Antiquarian Horology, No. 4, Vol. 2, September 1957, fig. iv. (trade advertisement for Charles Frodsham).
    P.G. Dawson, The Iden Clock Collection, Woodbridge, 1987, Volume II, No. 24, pp. 74-75.