The Vulliamy clockmaking family began when Justin Vulliamy, (1710-1790) emigrated from Switzerland in 1730. Soon after settling in London he went into partnership with Benjamin Gray (1676-1764). After Gray's death Justin took, as apprentices and later partners, his two sons Benjamin (Free 1781) and Benjamin Lewis (Free 1809).
It was Benjamin who was responsible for designing the range of figurative clocks incorporating biscuit porcelain which he ordered from William Duesbury the younger (1763-1796) the proprietor of the Derby porcelain factory.
The present clock's movement is numbered '410' as indeed are many other parts of the case including most of the ormolu mounts and individual marble pieces. In the existing Vulliamy workshop record books No. '410' is recorded as:
'pedestal clock with a leaning figure and boy, case marble'
the only other information given is that 'Day' supplied the marble case and globe.
From existing records it can be assumed that the Derby factory supplied the two figures on this clock at a cost of 6 guineas for the large figure and ½ guinea (10/6) for the boy. The movement was probably supplied by Jackson, Vulliamy's main supplier who is referred to in the Vulliamy papers as:
'Mr Jackson, clock maker of 11, Chapel Row, Spc Fields, (London).'
Vulliamy used the Andromache figure for two types of clocks. The first and more common type has Andromache leaning over an urn on a pedestal and one of the finest of this model is to be found in the collection of the Duke of Marlborough at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire.
Of the present example only two others are known to exist; one is the barometer in the Victoria and Albert Museum, (W. 16-1958) and the other a clock in the collection of the Duke of Northumberland at Syon House, Middlesex numbered 167. The latter, its closest relation, differs from the present example in that the globe indicates sidereal (star) time and actually revolves in its stand with its power supplied from the main movement below. It is now thought that the Syon clock and the one depicted in Benjamin Vulliamy's portrait (above) are the same but owing to a degree of artistic licence the attribution cannot be confirmed beyond doubt.
The record books do not state who bought the present clock but it seems likely that it was probably put to one side to await a firm order and then finished and sold after about 1810 which was when that particular book from the Vulliamy records was superceded. The subsequent volume is sadly lost so the identity of the original owner remains unknown.
We are grateful to Roger Smith Esq. for his assistance in cataloguing this lot.