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Thomas Tompion No. 51

A James II ebony miniature table timepiece with pull quarter repeat. Circa 1687
No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VA… Read more
Thomas Tompion No. 51 A James II ebony miniature table timepiece with pull quarter repeat. Circa 1687

Details
Thomas Tompion No. 51

A James II ebony miniature table timepiece with pull quarter repeat. Circa 1687

The case with with gilt-brass foliate-tied handle to the cushion-moulded top applied with red cloth-backed foliate cast gilt-brass mounts, glazed sides, the front door with foliate gilt-metal mounts to the upper and lower rails and escutcheons to the sides, the inside front door sill stamped with the serial number 51, the moulded base on block feet, the 4¼ in. square dial signed Tho Tompion Londini Fecit in tiny script beneath the silvered Roman and Arabic chapter ring with sword hilt half-hour markers, pierced blued steel hands, finely matted centre, latches to the dial feet and to the six ringed pillars of the movement with reconverted verge escapement with calibrated pear-shaped bob to the pendulum, pull quarter repeat (restored) from either side on Tompion's early single-bridge system, hour strike on the larger bell with the quarters repeated on the smaller bell, the backplate well engraved with tulip and flower heads within foliage and signed Tho Tompion Londini Fecit within a rectangular reserve in the centre
to be sold together with a copy of R.W. Symonds Thomas Tompion, His Life and Work, leather and cloth-bound edition with slip case, No. 179 of 350, this example signed by R.W. Symonds formerly belonging to the late J.W. Howes Esq. who owned Tompion No.51 for nearly fifty years.

10 in. (25.5 cm.) high



Provenance
The Collection of the late J.W. Howes Esq
Special Notice

No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis

Lot Essay

ILLUSTRATED
R.W. Symonds, Thomas Tompion, His Life and Work, Batsford, 1951, pp.116, 184 & 280, figs. 116 & 155 (clock and dial)

The extract from Symonds's notes for Tompion No. 51 reads;
fig. 115; Miniature repeating clock, No. 51. No striking train. To fit the movement into a space as small as possible, the train is so arranged that the winding hole is at 8 o'clock instead of the usual 6 o'clock position. Ebony case with fire-gilt mounts
Height 9½in.
In the collection of Mr J.W. Howes


Tompion's most prolific clocks were his striking table clocks which measured between 14-15 in. high. His standard size timepiece table clocks were 12-13 in. high whilst his larger table clocks, with inverted bell tops were 16-18 in. high. The exceptions were Tompion's specials, notably his grande sonnerie clocks such as the Selby-Lowndes Tompion at 27 in. and the Mostyn Tompion which measures 28 in. Conversely the smallest recorded clock is Tompion 222, a silver-mounted clock reputedly made for The Royal Court, which stands just 6¾ inches high.

The present clock stands just under 10 in. high and is one of just two recorded miniature timepiece table clocks by Tompion. The second clock is illustrated alongside No. 51 in Symonds's book, he lists it as an unnumbered clock. Recent research has revealed that this clock is in fact numbered 47 on the front door sill, in the same position as No. 51. At the time of manufacture, these two timepieces were amongst the smallest clocks ever made in England.

We are grateful to Jeremy Evans Esq, for his kind assistance with this catalogue entry.
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