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.