John Ellicott (1706-1772) was one of the finest clockmakers of the 18th Century. The son of a clockmaker, also John, Ellicott took premises in Sweetings Alley, near the Royal Exchange, circa 1728. In 1760 he was joined in business by his son Edward, and in 1762 he was appointed Clockmaker to the King.
A similar japanned clock by Ellicott is illustrated in R. Edwards The Dictionary of English Furniture, London, 1954, Vol. II, p. 96, fig. 47, while one with a nearly identical movement with signed and engraved backplate, but in a walnut case of the same form, was sold Christie's, London, 14 June 2000, lot 57 (£35,250).
The provenance of this clock is of note, having passed through two great collections. First, that of David Arthur Wetherfield (1845-1928) a successful coal merchant, who assembled one of the greatest collections of English clocks ever formed. Upon his death his house in Blackheath contained some 232 of the finest English clocks. On Wetherfield's death the collection was placed in the hands of the auctioneer W.E. Hurcomb, where it was purchased in its entirety for £30,000 by a syndicate including Francis Mallett, Percy Webster and Arthur Vernay, who likely sold this clock directly to Condé Nast, the founder of the eponymous publishing company and avid art collector.