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William Hughes, High Holborn, London Circa 1770

William Hughes, High Holborn, London Circa 1770

An extraordinary George III travelling table clock, one of only two known by Hughes, the other reputedly made for Captain James Cook and accompanying him on the Endeavour.

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Height

9½ inches

Case

The brass bound and ebonised breakarch case has a triple pad top surmounted by a folding flamed carrying handle with curved base. The doors with brass frames to the glazed apertures and flanked by inset brass corners. The brass bound skirt with ogee bracket feet.

Dial

4 by 5½  inch breakarch dial with The break arch gilt brass dial plate with applied gilt spandrels and set with two fired white enamel dials and finely cut blued steel hands.

Movement

The twin fusee movement with five baluster pillars and heavy plates, the going train having a verge and balance wheel escapement with large engraved  balance cock and numbered regulation sector below. The hours, governed by a rack and snail, striking on the bell mounted above. The floral and foliate engraved backplate signed to the centre Will.m Hughes, High Holborn, London.

Duration

8 days

Provenance

Private collection UK

Comparative Literature

R. K. Foulkes, Captain Cook’s Cabin Clock and its maker William Hughes. Antiquarian Horology, June 1954, p. 29-30.

This extraordinary little clock was made for travelling and even perhaps for use at sea. Being portable and miniature it is extremely rare and the superb movement displays the capabilities of this fine maker.

It is one of only two clocks recorded made by Hughes to this particular design; miniature with verge balance wheel escapement. The other clock was reputedly made for Captain James Cook and accompanyed him on his travels on the Endeavour. That clock now resides in the Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa.

William Hughes worked at 119 High Holborn from 1755-1792. In 1763 he took Thomas Earnshaw as an apprentice, who eventually took over his premises when Hughes died.

 

Five visions of Captain Cook by Kenneth Slessor, 1931.

Two chronometers the captain had,

One by Arnold that ran like mad,

One by Kendal in a walnut case,

Poor devoted creature with a hangdog face.

 

Arnold always hurried with a crazed click-click

Dancing over Greenwich like a lunatic,

Kendal panted faithfully his watch-dog beat,

Climbing out of Yesterday with sticky little feet.

 

Arnold choked with appetite to wolf up time,

Madly round the numerals his hands would climb,

His cogs rushed over and his wheels ran miles,

Dragging Captain Cook to the Sandwich Isles.

 

But Kendal dawdled in the tombstoned past,

With a sentimental prejudice to going fast,

And he thought very often of a haberdasher’s door

And a yellow-haired boy who would knock no more.

 

All through the night-time, clock talked to clock,

In the captain’s cabin, tock-tock-tock,

One ticked fast and one ticked slow,

And time went over them a hundred years ago.

Contact us about this item

Product Description

This extraordinary little clock was made for travelling and even perhaps for use at sea. Being portable and miniature it is extremely rare and the superb movement displays the capabilities of this fine maker.

It is one of only two clocks recorded made by Hughes to this particular design; miniature with verge balance wheel escapement. The other clock was reputedly made for Captain James Cook and accompanyed him on his travels on the Endeavour. That clock now resides in the Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa.

William Hughes worked at 119 High Holborn from 1755-1792. In 1763 he took Thomas Earnshaw as an apprentice, who eventually took over his premises when Hughes died.

 

Five visions of Captain Cook by Kenneth Slessor, 1931.

Two chronometers the captain had,

One by Arnold that ran like mad,

One by Kendal in a walnut case,

Poor devoted creature with a hangdog face.

 

Arnold always hurried with a crazed click-click

Dancing over Greenwich like a lunatic,

Kendal panted faithfully his watch-dog beat,

Climbing out of Yesterday with sticky little feet.

 

Arnold choked with appetite to wolf up time,

Madly round the numerals his hands would climb,

His cogs rushed over and his wheels ran miles,

Dragging Captain Cook to the Sandwich Isles.

 

But Kendal dawdled in the tombstoned past,

With a sentimental prejudice to going fast,

And he thought very often of a haberdasher’s door

And a yellow-haired boy who would knock no more.

 

All through the night-time, clock talked to clock,

In the captain’s cabin, tock-tock-tock,

One ticked fast and one ticked slow,

And time went over them a hundred years ago.

Additional information

Dimensions 5827373 cm