The imposing case is constructed using an oak carcass with mahogany mouldings and veneers, it has a bell top surmounted by a fluted pedestal and large flame urn finial, all mounted above a fretted frieze, which is flanked by four smaller but similar pedestals and finials. The main body with canted and brass stop-fluted corners, the sides mounted with brass carrying handles above brass fish-scale side frets, The front and rear doors have brass framed breakarch apertures, the arches flanked by conforming sound frets, the whole case standing on a double skirted plinth with brass ogee bracket feet.
The 7 by 9¾ inch fire-gilt breakarch dial, with twin subsidiary dials to the arch for strike/silent and pendulum regulation with blued steel hands. The unique silver scroll mount between with signature shield engraved Colley & Preist in Fleet Street LONDON. The silvered chapter ring has Roman & Arabic chapters and fine quality blued steel hands, the centre is finely matted and has apertures for the mock pendulum and calendar, laid out in Graham’s fashion with a solid date ring, below the centre. The corners mounted with Graham’s special silver acanthus-scroll-and-foliate spandrels, double screwed in Tompion and Graham’s standard fashion. The dial is held to the movement front plate by means of three screw-latched feet.
The substantial movement plates have seven knopped and screw-latched pillars with two trains, each having spring barrels and fusees utilising the original chains. The going train with pivoted verge and crownwheel escapement and typical mock pendulum, screw-fixed to the front of the pallets, with a lenticular pendulum to the rear suspended from the regulation bar over the backplate. The strike train is governed by a rack and snail, sounding the hours on the larger of the three bells. The pull-quarter repeat system is of Tompion/Graham’s exceptional quality, all-or-nothing, type with a complex multi-piece lifting lever to the front plate and interlocking double-cocked blued steel levers on the plain backplate with pull cords to either side. The movement is secured within the case by means of two bolts into the base pillars and two shaped brass movement brackets in the sides of the case. The frontplate scratch signed by Graham journeyman Jas. Bullock and dated 1754.
Private Collection USA.
R.C.R. Barder, The English Bracket Clock 1714-1830, ACC, 1999.
Colley & Priest in Fleet Street, London 1754 and finished circa 1762
A magnificent brass and silver-mounted, mahogany striking table clock with Graham’s all-or-nothing pull-quarter repeat system.
When Graham died in 1751, he named two of his trusted work-force as executors to his will, who were also to be his business successors; Samuel Barkley and Thomas Colley. Barkley was Graham’s workshop foreman but his partnership did not last long, and he died two years later in 1753. Thomas Colley continued alone and a year later started construction of this clock, using a long-term journeyman of Graham’s, James Bullock, who scratch signed and dated the movement 1754. For reasons unknown, this expensive movement was left in stock until Colley took the last of Graham’s freed apprentices, John Priest, into partnership in c.1762. This arrangement lasted until Colley’s death in 1771.
Although started in 1754, the clock was only finished when Colley took Priest into partnership in c.1762, and, either for commercial reasons or as a commission, it was completed to the fashionable designs of that period; the movement making use of an up-to-date breakarch dial, while being housed in a magnificent mahogany case.
Apart from the use of Tompion and Graham’s extraordinary pull-quarter repeating system and pendulum regulation arrangement, it is fascinating to note that Colley also used the very best in finish for this clock; the latches are screw fixed, rather than riveted, something normally reserved in Tompion and Graham’s time for their most important productions; the dial is fire-gilded, which was almost unheard of on clocks by this time, and Colley used Graham’s special silver acanthus-scroll-and-foliate spandrels, which are only otherwise found on Graham’s two grande sonnerie clocks of his own manufacture; no.s 721 and 722.