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Exhibit № 29: Christopher Gould, London. Circa 1705

Exhibit № 29: Christopher Gould, London. Circa 1705

A magnificent Queen Anne burr-walnut veneered musical longcase clock with moonphase and tidal indication

£110,000


Height

8 foot 10¼ inches (2697 mm)

Case

The case with burr walnut veneers, inlaid with inset cross-banding in Princes-wood and tulipwood outlined by boxwood and ebony stringing, onto an oak carcass. The forward sliding hood with four-sided caddy top, and ‘Regal’ flat front-and-back bell upstand, surmounted by a pedestal with brass urn and flame finial and flanked by four matching inset pedestals and finials. The cross-grain break-arch cornice moulding above a conforming frieze with fine pierced wood sound frets, supported by brass-capped Doric three-quarter columns flanking the inset hood door, with matching quarter columns to the rear hood uprights, the sides with fretted access doors. The hood resting on concave throat mouldings, above the rectangular trunk door with spectacular veneers, Princes-wood cross-banding over cross-grain moulded outer-frame. The trunk door surround and sides all with matching inlays, the concave veneered base moulding, crowning the similarly cross-banded and veneered plinth, raised on a matching single skirting. The inside of the trunk door pasted with an original equation-of-time table, printed for Christopher Gould and dated 1701.

Dial

The 13 x 17 inch (331 x 430 mm) break-arch lacquer-gilt brass dial with decoration attributed to Tompion’s engraver, G.195. The subsidiary in the break-arch indicating the moon’s phases, via a penny moon, together with a lunar calendar, 1 to 29½, and double 12-hour tidal ring, flanked by foliate scroll engraving, typical of G.195. The silvered chapter ring with inner quarter divisions, Roman hours and fancy fleur-de-lys half-hour marks, signed Chr Gould Londini fecit around VI, the outer division ring with Arabic minutes and cross half-quarter markings, with finely pierced and sculpted blued steel hands. Elaborate winged cherub and foliate spandrels with engraved foliate decoration between and STRIKE/SILENT lever at IX. The matted centre with foliate engraved central reserve, ringed winding holes, seconds ring and wheatear engraved date aperture. The dial held by with four pinned dial feet.

Movement

The massive three-train rectangular movement, extended to the music side, with eight finned baluster pillars, pinned to the frontplate, the going train with anchor escapement and one seconds pendulum. The music train with inter-changeable pin-barrel, playing 14 graduated bells with 28 hammers on the hour every hour,  giving a choice of two tunes; Lily Bolero and Cold and Raw, the music selected using a steel lever accessed through the hood side door. The hour train governed by a rack and snail striking on the large vertically mounted bell above. The hour strike and music set off at will via a trip repeat cord, and silenced via a lever through the dial at IX. The brass flat-section pendulum with lenticular bob, calibrated rating nut and three brass cased weights.

Duration

8 days

Provenance

Anthony Woodburn, 1998, and sold for £90,000;

The John C Taylor Collection, inventory no.24

Literature

Huygens’ Legacy, 2004, p.250-251 (illus)

Garnier & Hollis, Innovation & Collaboration, 2018, p.372-373 (illus)

Escapement

Anchor with one seconds pendulum

Strike Type

Music every hour followed by hour strike, with trip repeat via a pull cord

Exhibited

1998, Grosvenor House Antiques Fair, with Anthony Woodburn

2004, Palais Het Loo Holland, Huygens’ Legacy, exhibit no.85

2018, London, Innovation & Collaboration, exhibit no.115

This complex and magnificently cased clock by Christopher Gould is exemplary in many ways; the musical movement is extraordinary for the early 18th century; while the superb case is an early example with a broken arch and about as impressive as one can find at this, or any, period.

Christopher Gould (active from 1682-d.1718)

It is not known when, where or to whom Gould was born, but a clue may be given by an apprentice he took later, Charles Gould in 1701, who may have been a relation and was from Middlemarsh in Dorset, the son of a blacksmith. Gould’s first entry into the Clockmakers’ was as a Free brother in 1682, presumably by redemption, and named as a Great (Turret) clockmaker which, like his possible relation, hints at a smithing backgound. Gould’s known signed work is of invariably of high quality, as is testified by this complex and magnificent example and another in this collection, inventory no.73.

By 1701, Gould was working near the north east corner of the Royal exchange, he was made Beadle in 1713 and from that time he received regular Clockmakers’ charity (pension) until he died in 1718, when his wife was chosen as pensioner in his place. Loomes states that it seems strange that such a prolific and competent worker should have been such a poor man, but this may have been the result of a long term illness, perhaps similar to his contemporary and close neighbour in Exchange Alley, Daniel Quare, for whom he may well have worked and whose eyesight suffered in his latter years. A correspondent in the Ipswich Journal of March 1756, wrote that he was once in Quare’s shop, while I was discoursing with the Master of it, about a small Improvement in Watches, not in the Movement Part, but in the striking … but Quare could not take it well, having just then lost his Sight.

In contrast to Gould, Quare had accumulated both wealth and a widespread reputation, and his affliction may have been a primary reason for taking on a business partner in c1717/18, which enabled his business to continue and prosper while he was alive, in spite of his condition. It is perhaps interesting to note that, without Quare’s business acumen and despite continuing to use his name, his partner Stephen Horseman went bankrupt within a few years of Quare’s death. Although Gould’s work is reasonably prolific and of unusually high quality, it appears he was not as capable a businessman as he was a clockmaker. The making of this magnificent commissioned musical longcase would have cost Gould a small fortune and it can be a very fine line between profit and loss, particularly to craftsmen with a perfectionist bent that Gould clearly had, but whatever the circumstances here, by 1713 Gould had been unable to accumulate enough wealth to sustain himself and his wife in his latter years.

 

The high cost and inherent risk of making such a complex and high grade clock on spec, means it could only have been borne as a specially ordered commission and very clearly, no expense was spared by Gould’s patron. If one can translate today’s experiences, rich clients would more often have enjoyed the security of patronizing the better known clockmakers of the day, and as it is highly unlikely that Gould would have been able to show his client an example such as this ‘in stock’, one might speculate as to whether this was one and the same customer who had faith in Gould and ordered the magnificent Grande Sonnerie Mulberry longcase from him a few years before, in c.1698 (see inventory no. 73 in this collection)? Or perhaps this was for someone who had seen that example, and understood exactly what Gould was capable of?

It was Anthony Woodburn that first recognised similarities in construction, moulding shapes and brass castings that lead him to conclude it was undoubtedly made by Tompion’s cabinetmaker, and while at first sight the break-arch cornice appears anomalous to Tompion’s oeuvre, it is not unprecedented; Tompion had first tackled a break-arch dial and case over 10 years before for William III, on his year-going equation longcase, now found in Buckingham Palace (RCIN 57800).

The form, carcass construction and mouldings of this case are directly comparable to Tompion’s longcase format, certainly close enough for Woodburn to draw his conclusion, and it is logical that when fulfilling this undoubtedly valuable commission, Gould would not have taken any chances, and gone direct to an experienced clock casemakers’ workshop. In fact by this date, we are aware that Gould had already made use of this particular casemaker of Tompion’s at least once before, as testified by the aforementioned Mulberry Grande Sonnerie longcase (inventory no.73), which is directly based on Tompion’s Type 3 standard format, and has also been attributed to this casemaker.

It has already been established that Tompion ordered his cases in similarity to his own workshop practices (Thomas Tompion 300 years, A Study of Tompion’s Domestic Clocks, 2013), whereby standard carcasses were ‘at the ready’ for completion with finishes ‘to order’ that were multitudinous, from veneers to caddy shapes – but, to save time and money, all were fundamentally based on the same carcass construction. On close inspection, the fundamental construction of this hood is within the tolerances of Tompion-type carcassing, but with an arch assembled bespoken for this movement and dial, while the case finish also displays identical scratch-mould tooling and castings for the longcases being produced for Tompion.

Even the mouldings that seem at first atypical, such as the laid on bolection moulding to the glazed door aperture, can be directly compared to those used on the so called Record Tompion, now at Colonial Williamsburg, USA. Meanwhile the carcass of the added superstructure is of pine, similar to Tompion’s cases, but not necessarily found as standard in other cases of the period, whose were often integral to the hood, using oak, furthermore the ‘Regal’ flat front-and-back bell upstand is almost unique to Tompion’s ‘special’ cases of this period. The main moulding application in comparison to Tompion’s numbered series, can thus be used here to assist in dating this clock; in c.1699 Tompion introduced veneered concave mouldings to both his throat and base plinths which were then continued until his death in 1713. On the understanding that a casemaker would be unlikely to change his methodology and tooling for a single case order, one can reasonably safely conclude that this case was likely manufactured by Tompion’s casemaker after 1700 and, in seeming confirmation, Gould printed an equation table in 1701 that is pasted inside this trunk door. As a single engraved copper plate could be used in batch production, the resulting stockpile of printed sheets might then be applied over succeeding years, and thus the 1701 date only indicates the start date of the batch manufacture. The break-arch format started to become commonplace in c.1710, however the nature of this example, with deep shoulders and a full semi-circle, indicate an early application, and taken altogether, indications are that this clock was likely made circa 1705.

The final veneer and banding choice would also have been the customer’s own, and the particular choice here by Gould’s customer of Princes wood cross-banding, strung by ebony and boxwood, is not familiar in Tompion’s oeuvre, but it is very similar to the aforementioned Mulberry Grande Sonnerie longcase by Gould from this collection (inventory no. 73), and any experienced casemaker would undoubtedly have had a stunning array of different exotic inlays, at different price points, from which to choose. Prior to oxidization and mellowing over 300 years, the colour combination found here would originally have been absolutely stunning, the outstanding burr walnut veneers would have been a more contrasted shade of light and dark, while the bright purplish-red Princes wood cross-banding would also have been more distinct, particularly framed as it is by the bright white and black of the boxwood and ebony stringing.

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Product Description

This complex and magnificently cased clock by Christopher Gould is exemplary in many ways; the musical movement is extraordinary for the early 18th century; while the superb case is an early example with a broken arch and about as impressive as one can find at this, or any, period.

Christopher Gould (active from 1682-d.1718)

It is not known when, where or to whom Gould was born, but a clue may be given by an apprentice he took later, Charles Gould in 1701, who may have been a relation and was from Middlemarsh in Dorset, the son of a blacksmith. Gould’s first entry into the Clockmakers’ was as a Free brother in 1682, presumably by redemption, and named as a Great (Turret) clockmaker which, like his possible relation, hints at a smithing backgound. Gould’s known signed work is of invariably of high quality, as is testified by this complex and magnificent example and another in this collection, inventory no.73.

By 1701, Gould was working near the north east corner of the Royal exchange, he was made Beadle in 1713 and from that time he received regular Clockmakers’ charity (pension) until he died in 1718, when his wife was chosen as pensioner in his place. Loomes states that it seems strange that such a prolific and competent worker should have been such a poor man, but this may have been the result of a long term illness, perhaps similar to his contemporary and close neighbour in Exchange Alley, Daniel Quare, for whom he may well have worked and whose eyesight suffered in his latter years. A correspondent in the Ipswich Journal of March 1756, wrote that he was once in Quare’s shop, while I was discoursing with the Master of it, about a small Improvement in Watches, not in the Movement Part, but in the striking … but Quare could not take it well, having just then lost his Sight.

In contrast to Gould, Quare had accumulated both wealth and a widespread reputation, and his affliction may have been a primary reason for taking on a business partner in c1717/18, which enabled his business to continue and prosper while he was alive, in spite of his condition. It is perhaps interesting to note that, without Quare’s business acumen and despite continuing to use his name, his partner Stephen Horseman went bankrupt within a few years of Quare’s death. Although Gould’s work is reasonably prolific and of unusually high quality, it appears he was not as capable a businessman as he was a clockmaker. The making of this magnificent commissioned musical longcase would have cost Gould a small fortune and it can be a very fine line between profit and loss, particularly to craftsmen with a perfectionist bent that Gould clearly had, but whatever the circumstances here, by 1713 Gould had been unable to accumulate enough wealth to sustain himself and his wife in his latter years.

 

The high cost and inherent risk of making such a complex and high grade clock on spec, means it could only have been borne as a specially ordered commission and very clearly, no expense was spared by Gould’s patron. If one can translate today’s experiences, rich clients would more often have enjoyed the security of patronizing the better known clockmakers of the day, and as it is highly unlikely that Gould would have been able to show his client an example such as this ‘in stock’, one might speculate as to whether this was one and the same customer who had faith in Gould and ordered the magnificent Grande Sonnerie Mulberry longcase from him a few years before, in c.1698 (see inventory no. 73 in this collection)? Or perhaps this was for someone who had seen that example, and understood exactly what Gould was capable of?

It was Anthony Woodburn that first recognised similarities in construction, moulding shapes and brass castings that lead him to conclude it was undoubtedly made by Tompion’s cabinetmaker, and while at first sight the break-arch cornice appears anomalous to Tompion’s oeuvre, it is not unprecedented; Tompion had first tackled a break-arch dial and case over 10 years before for William III, on his year-going equation longcase, now found in Buckingham Palace (RCIN 57800).

The form, carcass construction and mouldings of this case are directly comparable to Tompion’s longcase format, certainly close enough for Woodburn to draw his conclusion, and it is logical that when fulfilling this undoubtedly valuable commission, Gould would not have taken any chances, and gone direct to an experienced clock casemakers’ workshop. In fact by this date, we are aware that Gould had already made use of this particular casemaker of Tompion’s at least once before, as testified by the aforementioned Mulberry Grande Sonnerie longcase (inventory no.73), which is directly based on Tompion’s Type 3 standard format, and has also been attributed to this casemaker.

It has already been established that Tompion ordered his cases in similarity to his own workshop practices (Thomas Tompion 300 years, A Study of Tompion’s Domestic Clocks, 2013), whereby standard carcasses were ‘at the ready’ for completion with finishes ‘to order’ that were multitudinous, from veneers to caddy shapes – but, to save time and money, all were fundamentally based on the same carcass construction. On close inspection, the fundamental construction of this hood is within the tolerances of Tompion-type carcassing, but with an arch assembled bespoken for this movement and dial, while the case finish also displays identical scratch-mould tooling and castings for the longcases being produced for Tompion.

Even the mouldings that seem at first atypical, such as the laid on bolection moulding to the glazed door aperture, can be directly compared to those used on the so called Record Tompion, now at Colonial Williamsburg, USA. Meanwhile the carcass of the added superstructure is of pine, similar to Tompion’s cases, but not necessarily found as standard in other cases of the period, whose were often integral to the hood, using oak, furthermore the ‘Regal’ flat front-and-back bell upstand is almost unique to Tompion’s ‘special’ cases of this period. The main moulding application in comparison to Tompion’s numbered series, can thus be used here to assist in dating this clock; in c.1699 Tompion introduced veneered concave mouldings to both his throat and base plinths which were then continued until his death in 1713. On the understanding that a casemaker would be unlikely to change his methodology and tooling for a single case order, one can reasonably safely conclude that this case was likely manufactured by Tompion’s casemaker after 1700 and, in seeming confirmation, Gould printed an equation table in 1701 that is pasted inside this trunk door. As a single engraved copper plate could be used in batch production, the resulting stockpile of printed sheets might then be applied over succeeding years, and thus the 1701 date only indicates the start date of the batch manufacture. The break-arch format started to become commonplace in c.1710, however the nature of this example, with deep shoulders and a full semi-circle, indicate an early application, and taken altogether, indications are that this clock was likely made circa 1705.

The final veneer and banding choice would also have been the customer’s own, and the particular choice here by Gould’s customer of Princes wood cross-banding, strung by ebony and boxwood, is not familiar in Tompion’s oeuvre, but it is very similar to the aforementioned Mulberry Grande Sonnerie longcase by Gould from this collection (inventory no. 73), and any experienced casemaker would undoubtedly have had a stunning array of different exotic inlays, at different price points, from which to choose. Prior to oxidization and mellowing over 300 years, the colour combination found here would originally have been absolutely stunning, the outstanding burr walnut veneers would have been a more contrasted shade of light and dark, while the bright purplish-red Princes wood cross-banding would also have been more distinct, particularly framed as it is by the bright white and black of the boxwood and ebony stringing.

Additional information

Dimensions 5827373 cm