The Hood Raised On Us Clickspring

Showing the rocketting catch which fastens the hood when the trunk door is closed.

collection, are exquisite illustrations of this point. Nothing could be finer than the Knibb dial, Fig. 398. The hour and the seconds circles are of solid silver, the dial and its beautiful corner-pieces, water gilt. Both hour and minute hands are exceptionally beautiful even for this age of fine clock-making. The striking is on two bells of different tones, and the clock strikes in Roman numeral fashion, an innovation which originated, as far as I know, with Joseph Knibb. Thus the deep tone bell is struck once at five o'clock, twice at ten. One, two or three blows on the small bell marks the first hours ; four o'clock is sounded by one blow on the small followed by- one on the large bell. One on the large followed by- one on the small marks six-o'clock ; one on the small followed by two on the large is nine o'clock, and so on. A simple calculation will show that only thirty blows are struck by this method as compared with the usual seventy-eight in the twelve hours, a valuable economy in power. Considering that this Knibb clock is of month duration,

and the striking has to function with the going train for the same period, the value of this striking system will be apparent in a clock of this size, as the case only7 measures 6 ft. 8 ins. in height, which precludes any undue length of the gut line on the barrel of the striking train. The dial is 10 ins. square. The case, Fig. 399, is veneered and panelled with ebony with the metal mounts water gilt. In rrty opinion this is one of the four finest examples in Mr. Wetherfield's collection. Of similarly high quality to Fig. 399 is Fig. 400, also from the hand of Joseph Knibb. The ^S^^cis^,, case is veneered with ebony, the mouldings Z^^Se faced from solid wood, and the caps and bases of the hood-columns are of chased If vf. brass, water gilt. The spandrel-corners ^e dial are engraved, in the early fashion of Fig. 392 ; the hour circle is

narrow, the dial finely matted and water gilt, and the movement has the bolt-and-shutter maintaining power. This clock, in nw opinion, is not only the. earliest, but also the finest example of Joseph Ivnibb's work possessed by Mr. Wetherfield, even among the unique specimens which the collection contains, the previous example alone excepted. I have recently discovered that Quare copied this Roman numeral striking from Knibb. Mr. James Stuttard of Fence g-g|gg- House, near Burnley, has kindly lent me two photographs, reproduced here in Figs. 7 4(JI and 402, which show the dial and the

  • y side view of a month clock by Dan Quare,
  • MK j (These two clocks are photcgraphed to the same scale). Fig. 415.

CHRISTOPHER GOULD, LONDON.

8-day Striking and Pull Repeating Clock. 5 bells. Marqueterie case. 5 It. 9 ins. high. 7l-in. dial. Date about 1690. C D. Rotch, Esq.

CORNELIUS HERBERT, LONDON-

8-day Striking Clock. Marqueterie case. S it. 4 ins. high. 12-in. dial. Date about 1700-

Fig. 417. THOMAS TOMPION, LONDON.

Dial of S-day clock of about 1700.

Fig. 417. THOMAS TOMPION, LONDON.

Dial of S-day clock of about 1700.

Fig. 418. JACOBUS HASSAN1US, LONDON.

Dial of S-day clock of 1710 type.

Fig. 418. JACOBUS HASSAN1US, LONDON.

Dial of S-day clock of 1710 type.

and the IV on the dial, instead of the usual IIII, indicates the adoption of this Roman numeral system of striking. (It is surprising, by the way, how many people will write the " 4 " as " IV " if they are asked to number a dial from memory. Actually this is always engraved " IIII " in any but dials of clocks striking on this plan.) The dial of this Quare clock is signed " Dan Ouare, London," and above is the Roman figure III. This probably indicates that this clock is the third made by Ouare on this system.

  1. Richard Arnold has a bracket-clock by Knibb which also strikes in the same way. It is illustrated in Figs. 403 to 406. The same peculiarity of the " IV " in the dial numbering will be noticed. It is difficult to understand the reason of this striking in a bracket-clock, the striking-duration offering no problem, as it does in the case of a month long-case, especially when of small size. Actually, the going train of this clock requires to be wound five times in the same space of time as the striking train is wound twice. The system, therefore, in the case of this bracket clock, can only have been a conceit.
  2. 407 illustrates two features which are rare on bracket-clock dials, and still rarer in the case of long-case clocks. The hour ring is cut away between the numerals, showing the matting of the dial underneath, and every minute on the outside of the circle is separately numbered from 1 to 60. This is technically known as a minute-numbered skeleton-dial. The pattern of the corner-pieces and the style of the case,

Fig. 419. JOS. DAVIS, RATLEFE HI WAY:

Dial of 8-day clock of 1710 (late) type.

Fig. 420. LANGLEY BRADLEY, LONDON.

Dial of S-day clock of the 1710—15 type.

Fig. 419. JOS. DAVIS, RATLEFE HI WAY:

Dial of 8-day clock of 1710 (late) type.

Fig. 420. LANGLEY BRADLEY, LONDON.

Dial of S-day clock of the 1710—15 type.

veneered with laburnum and inlaid with simple marqueterie of stars, fans and jessamine leaves, indicate a date not later than 1695 and possibly some ten years earlier. The movement is a month striker. The case measures 6 ft. 8 ins. in height. Fig. 408 is another skeleton minute-numbered dial from one of Joseph Knibb's bracket clocks, which shows the detail more distinctly-.

While clocks of the type of the last five examples are rare and valuable, it is possible to procure more ordinary, but still very refined specimens, at quite a commercial price. It must be remembered, however, that these early clocks were, until quite recent years, very' scantily appreciated, and have by no means reached their true value. Nothing could be more refined and pleasing, as articles of furniture, than the simple walnut long-case clocks such as Fig. 409. The movements are almost invariably- of good, if not fine quality, the cases are usually7 of small unassertive size, and the clocks fulfil all the requirements of ordinary- good-class furnishing. The collector, however, should learn to recognise a good clock at a glance. The appreciation of the following points should be practically instantaneous. The clock should be an eight-dayr, at least ; thirty-hour clocks are worthless. It should have a striking train, —unless there exist sufficient reason to the contrary, as in the case of Fig. 394,- with both trains winding from the front of the dial, and the hands should be well pierced and of the pattern of the period of the clock. A study7 of clock-hands may7 be made, with ease and advantage, by the collector.

Several typical examples are illustrated on pages 341 to 343, and each clock illustration furnishes one pair, which can be examined with a magnifying glass. Corner-pieces maybe of several patterns, but if they are merely rough castings, without chasing, they are subsequent additions, and it would be advisable to suspect the entire clock. The hournng should be silvered,- unless the silvering has, obviously, been worn away, and the minute divisions either on the extreme outer edge, or if set inside, with an additional space outside for the Arabic minute numerals, neither the space nor the numerals should be large. Coarse minute numerals indicate the late degenerate country-made clock.

The pendulum should be of seconds' length, at least,- if the clock has a seconds dial, the minimum pendulum-length can be taken for granted, —and the weights should be of the original brass-cased kind for preference, not merely coarse lumps of lead, as they so frequently are. In examining a case, always pay the greatest attention to the plinth and the base, after this to the slides of the hood. These are the places where restorations or additions are the most likely. Legitimate restorations are quite permissible. A case such as Fig. 40Q, for example, even if much restored, would be preferable to a meiB ruin. The double plinth of this case is the correct and original finish of high-grade cases of this period, and should be preferred to other patterns. Additional feet under the plinth are rarely original.

As pointed out before in this chapter, the hoods of these early long clocks have no opening doors, the hood itself being made to slide upwards 011 runners, held in position byT a click-spring while the winding operation is performed. Another ingenious device, to oblige the winder to open the bottom door, and thus to prevent the common practice of winding, vigorously, until the weight collides forcibly with the seat-board of the clock,

Clickspring

Fig. 421. JOHN DAVIS, LONDON.

12-in square dial with added arch. 173° type-

Fig. 421. JOHN DAVIS, LONDON.

12-in square dial with added arch. 173° type-

was to lock the hood with a rocketting catch, which w as-only released by opening the lower door (see Fig. 413).

The square-dial clocks are the most interesting and also the most valuable. These early-specimens, even at the present day, offer a chance, to the educated and discriminating collector, of acquiring at a price which is certain to appreciate in the near future. The same remark applies to the ebony-cased basket-top late Stuart and Orange bracket clocks, which will be described and illustrated later on. These clocks cannot be forged to deceive anyone with' a slight expert knowledge, although the names of famous makers, such as East, Tompion, Knibb, Ouare, Gretton or Graham are sometimes re-engraved on indifferent clocks, the original engraving being stoned out. A clock without a maker's name should always be regarded as suspicious,, as the rules of the Clockmakers' Company,— a powerful and autocratic guild,— obliged each maker to sign his work, up to at least as late as 1740, beyond which date custom resulted in the same practice being followed until the early years of the nineteenth century.

I have illustrated, in Figs. 410 to 414, full details of a long-case clock by Joseph Knibb, of a kind not exceptional, like many of the examples in Mr. Wetherfield's collection, in fact, of a quality which it might be the fortune of any discriminating collector to find in country districts, especially in Oxfordshire, from whence Mr. Arnold purchased this clock early in 1919. It has been chosen for this reason, and also because o begin with, the clock is not

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