Arabesque Marqueterie Of Dark Wood On Light Ground


Collection of D. A. F. Wetherfield, Esq.

veneered with English walnut of good figure. The hood has the Tompion type of cresting (refer to Fig. 397) centred with a turned ball.

This clock has

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been specially illustrated as an example of akind and quality7 for which the clock-collector should seek. In good condition, with the base intact, and the works nottamperedvith. £100 to/i25would be a reasonable price to pay.

The collector should, however, seek for exceptional peculiarities, such as dials with the hour circle cut away between the numerals so as to show the brass dial underneath ,— the skeleton dial before described,—or

Hour Wall Clock Arabesque
Fig. 435.

Figs. 434 and 435.


S-dav Striking Clock. Added arch top to dial. Dial signed in three places. Oak cases veneered with walnut and inlaid with floral marqueterie. S ft. ins. high over all by 11-j width of waist. Dial 11 ins. wide by 15J ins. high. Date about 1720-5.

Richard Arnold, Esq.

the separate numbering of each minute in the outer ring, as such details materially7 add to the value and interest of the clock and are not always reckoned as extras in the price demanded. Clocks of unusual duration are rare. Thus a month clock will command a higher sum than an eight-day7, other things being equal, and a y7ear clock will realise at least four times the price of a month.

Fig. 436.
Fig. 437.


8-day Striking Clock. Bolt-and-shutter maintaining power. Exceptionally fine hands. Each minute on dial separately numbered. Case decorated with gilt gesso on black lacquer ground. 7 ft. 8 ins. high. 12-in. dial. Pate about 1095-1700.


S-day Striking Clock.

A year " striker," that is, a clock with a striking train of a year's duration between windings, is an impossibility. A little thought will show the reason why.

-Miniature clocks, i.e. long-cases which are from 4 ft. 6 ins. to 5 ft., or less, are very rare, and clocks with seconds pendulums almost equally so. The collector should note that primitive, "pull-up" hanging wall .clocks are frequently found enclosed in miniature cases, but they are never original in this form. Genuine miniature, -or " Grandmother,"-clocks should be eight-dav, key-winding, and, if possible, with pendulums of seconds length. They were often made, however, with short " bob " or bracket-clock pendulums reaching only to the seat board of the clock. A miniature long-case clock, with key-wind, seconds pendulum, of eight-day duration, with three trains, i.e. chiming on bells,—and in a good marqueterie case, would be worth from /200 to £300, and certain adjuncts, before described, such as a month's duration, numbered minutes or a skeleton dial, might easily add another £100 to the price. The duration of a clock, between windings, cannot be increased, as would be imagined, by lengthening the fall of the weight and the gut line, as the barrels will only allow a certain number of turns of the line. Neither can another wheel be added without absolutely remodelling the train—and spoiling the clock,—although this has been gravely stated as a possibility in a recent book on the subject.

A very exceptional miniature eight-day " Grandmother" clock by Christopher Gould, in a fine marqueterie case, is shown in Fig. 415. It is fitted with a pull-repeating string, striking the hours on a large and the quarters 011 four smaller bells. Its height is only 5 ft. 9 ins., and it is shown with another fine clock, of similar ty-pe, by Cornelius Herbert, Fig. 416, both being reproduced to the same scale.


S-day Striking Clock.

Before leaving the subject of the square dial, it will be Burr walnut case with carved mouldings

Date about 1725.

advisable to pass a few examples in review and to show


8-dav Clock. Green lacquer case. 9 ft. 4 ins. total height. Date about 1735-40.

Percy Webster, Esq.


8-dav Clock. Green lacquer case. 9 ft. 4 ins. total height. Date about 1735-40.

Percy Webster, Esq.

the changes which occur in the first years of the eighteenth century. Fig. 417 is a Tompion dial of 1700, of beautiful detail and workmanship. The hands are simple, of fine form, and well pierced and carved. The corner-pieces are of the earlier simple cherub-head form, but the later character is indicated by the banc! of engraving round the square dial, a late but unusual feature, and the settinglof the minute divisions back from the outside edge of the hour ring, with a separate circle to contain the Arabic numerals. Although the outer-edged minutes were sometimes used 011 dials as late as 1705, this separate circle for the numerals is an infallible indication of the eighteenth century. As the years advance, this separate ring becomes larger, until in the later arched form of dial the Arabic numerals are much more important than the minute divisions themselves. Long-case clocks also grow considerably in size after about 1705, about 6 ft. being the usual height from 1700 to 1705, but after 1735 it is not exceptional to find cases as much as 8 ft. 6 ins. from the floor to the top of the dome.

In the next example, Fig. 418, we have the square-dial type of 1710, the hour ring broad, the seconds dial circle slightly cutting into its inside edge, the winding-holes ringed, to prevent scratching of the matted surface of the dial with the winding-key, well pierced hands, but now trenching over their particular divisions on the hour ring ; and elaborated cherub-head spandril corners. Fig. 419 is the succeeding style, differing very little, excepting in the greater breadth of the Arabic numeral ring, and the corner-pieces of amorini supporting a crown capped by a Maltese cross. Fig. 420 has the earlier corner-piece of Fig. 418, but the hour ring of 1710-15. This example may be classed as the last phase of the square dial.

Opinions are divided as to the date of the earliest arch dials, and I am inclined to the view that they did

not bccomc fashionable until between 1720 and 1725. The earliest specimen known is the large Tompion clock in the Pump Room at Bath. I have twice seen a replica of this in private hands. The fl

Pump Room clock was made about 170c), but the arch was evidently more than an innovation at this period ; it was a discovery. A curious fact, and one showing how paramount were the dictates of fashion in the early eighteenth century, is that the very early7 arched dials are really the older square form with the arch added. The junction of the arch and the dial is sometimes hidden by a strip of brass, but in other examples the joining of the two is frankly revealed. The true arch dial, that is, one which was made specifically as such, and in the one piece, of the very earliest type, is rare. Fig. 421 is an example. The arch fulfils no function beyond one of ornament, being filled by a silvered ring, inscribed " Tempus Fugit," flanked by dolphin spandrels. It is a significant sign of an arch dial from 1725 to 1735 that the hour ring is divided into quarters between each numeral on the inside edge. In later clocks this is always omitted.

From 1740 to nearly 1765 long-case clocks were sparingly made in London and the important southern county towns. The fashion evidently veered from the long-case to the bracket clock, as the latter were plentiful enough during this period. After 1765 the long-case dial loses much of its earlier interest. Clocks being taller, and the dial in consequence being placed at a great« height, the general features become coarser. Many fine clocks were made in this late bold style, Fig. 422 being a noteworthy example. This clock strikes, chimes and plays tunes, no less than fifty hammers being used, operated from the spiked drum shown in the illustration. These drums were usually made so that one could be removed and another substituted. The four subsidiary dials, on the corners, regulate the chiming and playing. The arch has the usual moon-work, a revolving


S-day Striking Clock. Dead-beat escapement. C.reen lacquer case, l'ate about 1760—70.


" Grandfather " Clock Cases.

The cases of these so-called " Grandfather " clocks of the Stuart, Orange, Queen Anne and Georgian periods can be classified as follows : From 1670 to 1715 we find the panelled ebony or ebonised cases (which are always early) being made side by side with those veneered with plain walnut or inlaid with marqueterie. From 1715 to about 1740 we get the plain walnut case, generally veneered with wood of rich figure.

----^ -.jaui-fcj disc, numbered with the days of the lunar month, and a fixed pointer in the centre. The days of the calendar month are shown through the aperture under the hands, on either side are the month and day, respectively, and above, the number of the month itself. This clock is of Dutch make, but others of similar elaboration were made in this country7. A noticeable point of difference between the early and late arch dials is that the arch of the former is always less than half a circle, but the latter is always either a full half-circle or even more.


Lacquered cases overlap, from 1705 to 1760, but they are rare before 1715. From 1740 to 1765 long-case clocks are exceptional, and after this latter date mahogany, either solid or in veneers, is almost exclusively' employed. It is hardly-necessary here to give a number of examples of each class, ■although the types are very- numerous, as the subject has already been dealt with, in full detail, in "English Domestic Clocks." For the same reason, and also because this book is intended as a guide to the collector, to show him what to ■collect, rather than what to avoid, examples of the declining period, when the long-case clock became depraved in the hands of the small provincial and even the important Yorkshire makers, have been omitted. Those who desire information on these points can be referred to the larger book.

Marqueterie cases can be resolved into several classes or kinds, although, with some reservation, these are not indicative of late or early date. There are many reasons, and a certain ■amount of evidence., for the assertion that many7 of these marqueterie cases were made in Holland to the order of the ■celebrated makers of the period from 1690 to 1720. The reasons for this conclusion have been stated, at considerable length, and in full detail, in " English Domestic Clocks," and there is neither reason nor space for a recapitulation here. If this theory be admitted, however, the various styles may easily- be, and probably were, older than the era of the importation of these marqueterie cases into England, and differences in decoration were probably dictated, either by the stock of the Dutch case-maker, or the personal predilections of the English horologist. There is no doubt that the cases inlaid with simple marqueterie, such as Fig. 407, are usually earlier in date than those in the full marqueterie style, but ■once this type of case was admitted to the fashionable clock-making world, it was persistently- rejected by- Tompion, and ■only tolerated by Knibb in his later clocks,- any- co-ordination «of stvle and date ceased to exist.

Walnut Charles Gretton Clock
'i* " - » . . Br '**."''!

8-day Clock in red lacquer case. An example made for the Spanish market. S ft. 2 ins. high. Dial i6i ins by 12 ins.

i1 7

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