26 November 1996
AN EARLY VICTORIAN NICKEL-PLATED BRASS QUARTER STRIKING GIANT CHRONOMETER CARRIAGE CLOCK
dent, london. no. 14806, circa 1850
The white enamel Roman chapter disc signed Dent, London with blued moon hands, subsidiary seconds ring at XII, within a silvered foliate engraved mask, the substantial movement with five pillars and twin-chain fusees, large gilt platform with Earnshaw spring detent escapement, Dent's patent staple balance with blued helical spring and diamond endstone, the quarters chiming on two bells via two hammers on the backplate with hour strike on a blued-steel gong, numbered on the gong stand 14806, strike/silent lever at top left hand corner of the plate, the well constructed case with flush-fitting two-piece handle, the glazed rear door with three shuttered holes for hand-set and wind, the door itself with a special key-locking device in the base, with original gilt-brass double-ended winding key punch-numbered 14806
7¾in. (19.5cm.) high (2)
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Derek Roberts, Carriage and other Travelling clocks, Schiffer, 1993, pp. 312-4, figs. 21-14 & 15, 21-19
Antiquarian Horology, No. 4, Vol. 22, Summer 1994, p. 294
An identical quarter striking clock numbered 14880 is illustrated in Carriage Clocks, op. cit., p. 258, IX/26. That particular example is dated 1849/50 and it was presumably made in the same limited batch as the one currently offered for sale.
Judging by their scarcity Dent made very few carriage clocks to this design; almost certainly because their movements with high-grade chronometer escapement and quarter strike would have been incredibly expensive to produce. Their cases too were really designed before their time with beautiful rounded mouldings, clinical nickel finishing and unusual split-folding handle.
Edward John Dent, 1790-1853 was one of the most celebrated Victorian clockmakers. Having served his apprenticeship under Richard Rippon he worked for Vulliamy and then for Arnold before joining in partnership under the name of Arnold & Dent between 1820-30. In 1840 he set up on his own in 33 Cockspur Street, London and ran a business that went from strength to strength. His work included highly complicated watches, fine chronometers and best quality carriage clocks. however he is still perhaps best known for winning the order for the construction of Big Ben which was completed by his step-son Frederick who inherited the business.
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