Lady Hague, The Chantrey, Elstree, sold in these rooms lot 62, 1st December 1961. Lady Hague was the widow of Sir Harry Hague (1880-1960); he was a prominent figure in British society during the 1930s and 1940s and enjoyed being known as `Mr Ovaltine’ through being the managing director of A.Wander, the company that made Ovaltine. He designed the great art deco Ovaltine factory at Kings Langley in 1929
Thomas Tompion (1639-1713), the greatest of English clockmakers was born the son of a blacksmith in the parish of Northill, Bedfordshire.
There is no record of Thomas Tompion serving as an apprentice in a clockmaker’s workshop but in 1671 he was admitted to the Clockmakers’ Company in London as a `Brother’ and two and a half years later was made a ‘Free Clockmaker upon Redemption’ and allowed to set up his own workshop and take apprentices. During this important year he moved into an influential circle where he met Robert Hooke and John Flamsteed who introduced him to the distinguished scientists of the day, the nobility and King Charles II.
Shortly after 1680 Tompion devised a numbering system for all the clocks and watches that he made and this was continued after his death by his successor George Graham. Towards the end of the century Tompion was employing several apprentices, the most famous of whom was Edward Banger with whom he formed a partnership in 1701. Some years later they quarrelled and after about 1708 ceased to collaborate. Thomas Tompion died in 1713 and an indication of the high esteem in which he was held during his lifetime was demonstrated by his burial in Westminster Abbey.
The beautiful and unusual hour hand on this clock may be compared with the hour hand on another late Tompion clock No.502 sold in these rooms lot 318 22nd February 1990. For another example of a Tompion longcase clock dial with engraved calendar aperture and elaborate half-hour marks see No.486 sold Christie's NY lot 21 20th April 1991
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