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George Graham, London
AN EXTREMELY FINE GOLD PAIR CASED QUARTER REPEATING CYLINDER WATCH WITH REPOUSSE SCENE BY ISHMAEL PARBURY AND BROWN SHAGREEN OUTER PROTECTIVE CASE 1733, NO. 679
Estimate
40,00060,000
LOT SOLD. 87,500 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
26
George Graham, London
AN EXTREMELY FINE GOLD PAIR CASED QUARTER REPEATING CYLINDER WATCH WITH REPOUSSE SCENE BY ISHMAEL PARBURY AND BROWN SHAGREEN OUTER PROTECTIVE CASE 1733, NO. 679
Estimate
40,00060,000
LOT SOLD. 87,500 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Celebration of the English Watch, Part III, The Genius of Thomas Tompion

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London

George Graham, London
AN EXTREMELY FINE GOLD PAIR CASED QUARTER REPEATING CYLINDER WATCH WITH REPOUSSE SCENE BY ISHMAEL PARBURY AND BROWN SHAGREEN OUTER PROTECTIVE CASE 1733, NO. 679
• Movement: gilded full plate, cylinder escapement with brass wheel, decoratively pierced and floral engraved balance cock with a head at the foot, diamond endstone, fusee and chain, turned cylindrical pillars, two polished steel hammers repeating on a bell to the inside case back, signed and numbered Geo. Graham, London, 679, gilt-metal dust cap signed Geo. Graham, London and scratch numbered
• 
Dial: gold champlevé, Roman numerals, outer Arabic minute ring, all against a stippled ground, two central cartouches signed Graham, London, blued steel beetle and poker hands
• 
Cases: gold inner, pierced for sound emission and engraved with scrolling foliage, a mask to the base, numbered 679 beneath the pendant, the back with winding aperture and centred with an engraved rosette, hallmarked 1733 with maker's mark IW with star above for John Ward and numbered 679 • gold outer case with repoussé scene depicting the Judgement of Hercules, signed Parbury beneath the scene, outside the symmetric cartouche two devil masks by the push piece and hinge and four subsidiary cartouches between pierced panels each with an animal's head - a lion, a boar, a bull and a stag, the front bezel with four further animals - a three-headed dog (Cerebus) a serpent, a water monster and an eagle, pulse piece to the bezel between 5 and 6 o'clock • gilt-metal and brown shagreen outer protective case with gold piqué work to the edges

With a short chain and ratchet key


diameter of outer protective case 56 mm, repousse case 49 mm, inner case 42 mm
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Catalogue Note

This exceptional watch is the result of a collaboration between George Graham, one of England’s greatest watchmakers, and Ishmael Parbury, one of the finest repoussé workers of the 18th century. Until relatively recently, this watch remained in the hands of a titled family whom it is believed had owned the watch since it was first made. The watch is in outstanding condition and the repoussé outer case retains a wonderful lustre and definition to the decorative scheme. The central scene is the Judgement of Hercules. Hercules is shown seated on the right, whilst Minerva, personifying Virtue, points to a temple in the centre with Vice to the left.  Eight of the twelve labours of Hercules are represented by the eight animals’ heads which appear within cartouches to the front and back bezels. The movement is typical of Graham’s best work of the period and incorporates Stogden-type repeating work, a cylinder escapement and diamond endstone. The watch papers to the repoussé case include one from Desgranges, "Successors to Recordon Late Emery, Watch & Clock Maker, No. 33 Cockspur Strt., Charing Cross, London."

George Graham (1674-1751), was one of England's most renowned clock and watchmakers. He apprenticed with  Henry Aske in 1688 and then entered the service of Thomas Tompion as a journeyman in 1695. He married one of Tompion's nieces and became his partner in 1704, succeeding to the business on Tompion's death in 1713. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1721 and Master of the Clockmakers' Company in 1722. It is believed that he improved or perhaps invented the cylinder escapement. He used the verge escapement up to 1726 and then predominantly the cylinder thereafter. On his death in 1751, as a sign of the great respect in which he was held, Tompion's grave in Westminster Abbey was opened to receive the body of his former partner. 

Ishmael Parbury was born in London in 1698. He was a highly accomplished artist and studied at Christ’s Hospital, perhaps learning by copying the drawings and engravings of Bernard Lens II. By 1724 he had begun to chase cases for George Graham.  Parbury died in 1746 and was described by Vertue as “a man in his art of great excellency in the neatness and finishing correctness of his works, which gained him great esteem, above any other Englishman and by that means he obtained the highest prizes for his works.” See Richard Edgcumbe, The Art of the Gold Chaser, Oxford, 2000, p. 133-134."

Celebration of the English Watch, Part III, The Genius of Thomas Tompion

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London