26 November 1996
A CHARLES II EBONIZED QUARTER REPEATING BRACKET TIMEPIECE
thomas tompion, london no. 42, circa 1685
The gilt dial with silvered Roman and Arabic chapter ring with sword-hilt half-hour markers, typical pierced blued steel hands, matted centre, finely chased winged cherub spandrels, signed below the chapter ring Tho:Tompion Londini Fecit, latches to the dial feet and to the five ringed pillars of the single gut fusee movement, verge escapement, full quarter repeat on two bells via Tomion's single-cocked steel bar system with hinged levers and pull cords from either side, the large backplate with best quality tulip engraving within scrolling foliage, the signature repeated within a rectangular reserve Tho: Tompion Londini Fecit, the backplate punched numbered 42 once at the base in the center and again in the top left corner, the case with typical laurel-tied facetted gilt handle to the cushion moulded top applied with foliate gilt-metal mounts, foliate giltmetal soundfrets and escutcheons to the front door, glazed sides and rear door
12in. (30.5cm.) high
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R.W. Symonds, Thomas Tompion, his life and work, London, 1969, pp. 147, 194, 214 & 280, figs. 114, 175 & 211
The present clock numbered 42 is a fine example of one of Tompion's early timepieces whose large backplates filled out the the back of the case and were engraved by an unknown 'graver whose early work was some of the best to be found on Tompion's clocks.
The position of the punch numbers on the backplate provides another interesting feature. It seems that Tompion began by numbering his very earliest bracket clocks at the top left corner of the backplate in amongst the tulip engraving in the same manner as this example and then started to use a larger set of punches which he had positioned at the base of the backplate, which then became the norm. The present clock was probably on the bench having been numbered at the top left when Tompion decided to change the system.
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