51
51
Thomas Tompion. A walnut month-going longcase clock, London, circa 1680
JUMP TO LOT
51
Thomas Tompion. A walnut month-going longcase clock, London, circa 1680
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Recollections of Places Past, Property from the Estate of Sir John and Lady Smith

|
London

Thomas Tompion. A walnut month-going longcase clock, London, circa 1680
10-inch latched dial with double wheatear border, signed along the lower edge Tho Tompion Londini Fecit, winged cherub spandrels, finely matted centre with subsidiary seconds dial and date aperture, the movement with six latched, knopped and ringed pillars, reversed five wheel trains, anchor escapement, bolt and shutter maintaining power, external locking plate striking on a bell, pendulum replaced, the probably associated Tompion case with flat top, moulded cornice and spiral pilasters to the formerly rising hood, the rectangular trunk door with later lenticle and numbered on the inner edge 95, the inner surface with a very distressed copy of Tompion's equation table, the re-built plinth with moulded base and bun feet
200.5cm. high; 6ft. 7in.
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

The back of the dial scratched "Lord S(h)aftesbury, 50 Portland Place". Presumably descended from 5th Earl of Shaftesbury, 1761-1811, through his daughter Lady Barbara Ashley Cooper, who married Hon. Wm. Ponsonby, 1st Lord de Mauley, to their 2nd son Hon. Ashley Ponsonby Capt. Grenadier Guards, J.P., D.L., M.P. for Cirencester 1852-57 and 1859-65, b. 1831-1898, from whose house in Berkely Square, it was bought with a quantity of 'junk' for 30/- by Phineas Lazarus, one of the best Hebrews that ever attended a sale - always poor", in the words of W.E. Hurcomb, dealer and auctioneer, who was asked £2 for the clock but paid £8, restored it, and subsequently accepted Oswald Smith's offer of £30

Literature

Inventory of the Property of Guy O. Smith at Shottesbrooke Park, 1928, vol. I, 'Front Hall / Grandfather Clock by Thomas Tompson [sic] in walnut case'

Catalogue Note

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. 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 movement of the present clock is un-numbered and dates to circa 1680.  The case is numbered 95 and also has a very distressed copy of Tompion's equation table on the inside of the trunk door. Quite when the movement was fitted to this case is impossible to say.

Recollections of Places Past, Property from the Estate of Sir John and Lady Smith

|
London