Francois Justin Vulliamy (c.1712-1797) was the first member of the famous family to receive a reputation for excellence in Britain. He came from Switzerland in circa 1730 and formed a partnership with Benjamin Gray whose daughter he married in 1746. In 1742 George II granted Gray a Royal Warrant and after his death, in 1764, it passed to Vulliamy, remaining with his family for three generation until 1854. During the 1780s Justin and his son Benjamin began a numbering system for their clocks but, to date, the earliest numbers recorded have been in the 160s. Nos. 169 and 172 are mahogany longcase clocks with architectural pediments, and the earliest positively dated clock is 166 of 1787. No. 167 is also dated 1787 and is a magnificent musical pedestal clock sold to the Duke of Northumberland and now at Syon House.
Previously unrecorded, No. 165 is therefore one of the earliest numbered Vulliamy clocks and it is particularly unusual for the numbered original winder to have remained with the clock. Apart from the conversion to the escapement, it has survived in remarkably original condition and is eminently worthy of sensitive restoration.
Sotheby's would like to thank Roger Smith for his help in cataloguing this clock.