Lot 2
  • 2

Cornelius Mellin, Blackfriars

12,000 - 18,000 GBP
Log in to view results
bidding is closed


  • Gilt Metal
  • length 76 mm (including pendant)
• gilt oval full plate movement, verge escapement, elongated decoratively pierced and engraved pinned-on balance cock and foot, ratchet and click set-up, fusee and gut line, baluster pillars • decoratively engraved oval dial, chapter ring with Roman numerals and half hour divisions, the centre with engraved scene of a walled city with a windmill, the outer dial edge with scrolling foliage and a winged cherub above 12 o'clock, double-ended steel hand with floriate head • the cover with later rock crystal aperture (probably added before 1630), case band decorated with grotesque masks of animal heads and exotic birds within flowers and foliage, the back with similar decoration and a winged hour glass to the base, winding aperture with sliding cover • movement signed C Mellin aux Blackfries  


Terence Camerer Cuss, The English Watch, 1585-1970, p.28, pl. 5.

Catalogue Note

This is an early example of a watch by Cornelius Mellin and is of large size which, except for striking and alarm watches, ceased to be fashionable soon after 1615. Much of the front cover has been removed, probably within 20 years of the watch being made, and replaced, as was frequently done, by a crystal glass held in by tags so that the time could be read without the need to lift the cover.

Mellin was further recorded as one of the 'straingers' who was objected to in the 1622 petition to King James I for a Clockmakers' Company charter. The objection apparently had nothing to do with Mellin's  immigrant status, but because he was not a member of any guild and had too many apprentices, see Camerer Cuss, The English Watch 1585-1970,  p.37. Indeed, his house certainly appears to have been full - at the time of the petition, the following were recorded at Mellin's house in Blackfriars: Mellin, his four apprenctices: John Hutchinson, John Cooke, Peter Mitchell and Nathanial Delawe; also living at the same house were William Marmott, William La Wray Pierre and their apprentice, also Isaac Romier, John de Mouchie, William Bull and James Goallon. See, George White, English Lantern Clocks, Antique Collectors' Club, 1989, p. 507.

An alarm verge watch by Cornelius Mellin, formerly in the Courtenay Ilbert Collection, is now at the British Museum. A further watch by Mellin, in an associated case, was sold at Sotheby's London, November 1999, lot 4. For another example of Mellin’s work in this sale, see lot 6.