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Exhibit № 30. John (& Joseph) Knibb, Oxford (& London), Circa 1690

Exhibit № 30. John (& Joseph) Knibb, Oxford (& London), Circa 1690

A fine William & Mary silent pull-quarter repeating ebony veneered Phase III table timepiece, together with a scarce Knibb trade token

£60,000


Height

12¾ inches (325 mm)

Case

The archetypal ebony Phase III case surmounted by Knibb’s gilt-brass faceted foliate-tied handle with cast gilt-brass foliate mounts to the cushion moulded dome top, flanked by small urn finials to the corners of the quintessential flat-topped upper main moulding. The top rail of the front door is inset with an pierced ebony sound fret, now protected by glass, with Knibb’s cherub and scroll escutcheons, while the side apertures are glazed, all above the typical moulded base. The glazed back door is mounted with an early 20th Century ink inscribed card (Percy Webster) framing a rare Joseph Knibb in Oxon farthing trade token.

Dial

The 6½ inch square brass dial is signed John Knibb Oxon fecit along the base with reflective asymmetrical foliate engraving between the chased winged cherub corner spandrels, which are of Knibbs’ later Phase III design. The silvered chapter ring with fleur-de-lys half hour marks and Arabic minutes within the division. The fine matting with a chamfered date aperture below XII and ‘Oxford pattern’ sculpted blued steel hands. With four latched dial feet to the frontplate and fixed into the case with typical dial turns.

Movement

The movement with latches to the five typical finned vase-shaped pillars, the single fusee with offset spring barrel, gut line and knife-edge verge escapement with bob pendulum. The ‘silent’ pull-quarter repeat system powering both the hour and quarters sounding on separate bells, the smaller for the quarters. The backplate is symmetrically engraved with tulips and profuse scrolling foliage, typical of later examples, and signed in an arc Joseph Knibb Londini Fecit, over which is laid a covering plate, screw-fixed and signed Johannes Knibb Londini fecit.

Duration

8 days

Provenance

Christie’s, 1912, sold to Percy Webster;
Percy Webster Collection, sold Sotheby’s, 19th October 1954;
Professor E Hall, and sold Christie’s, 11th July 2003, lot 154;
The John C Taylor Collection, inventory no.116

Literature

Antiquarian Horology, December 1954, J Oakes, ‘The Percy Webster Collection of Clocks and Watches’, p.62;
Garnier & Hollis, Innovation & Collaboration, 2018, (illus.) p.344

Escapement

Knife-edge verge with short bob pendulum

Strike Type

Timepiece with silent pull-quarter repeat

Exhibited

2018, London, Innovation & Collaboration, exhibit no.103

This clock is a very rare, if not unique, example of a clock signed by both John and Joseph Knibb. John (1650-1722) was the younger brother of Joseph (1640-1721) to whom he was apprenticed in Oxford in about 1664. In about 1670, when John had reached the age of 20, Joseph left the city for London to assume responsibility of their recently deceased cousin, Samuel’s workshop. John thus took charge of the Oxford shop, and went on in 1673 to obtain his freedom of the city by redemption (payment of a fine). Considering the greater number of apprentices (around 10) John had compared with his brother in London, the fewer number of clocks signed by him than Joseph in London suggests a goodly part of his output was for the London shop and so signed for Joseph. This clock, however, is a rare instance of Joseph’s signature on the backplate being covered by a screw-fixed plate signed for John, as is actually signed on the dial plate. A possible explanation is that this movement was initially destined for London, but in order to satisfy a rushed order from a customer of the Oxford shop, it required resigning with John’s name after all, then fitted with an Oxford-signed dial and cased up for delivery.

It might have been soon after gaining his freedom in Oxford in 1668 that Joseph issued an undated farthing trade token. Due to a lack of coinage smaller than a penny at the time of the Restoration and the withdrawal of the Commonwealth coinage, such tokens formed the small change of the period. Tokens were produced only between the years 1649 and 1674, when the crown had once more issued smaller coins and various proclamations were made against the practice. For more notes on Joseph Knibb’s Oxford token see exhibit no.12.

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Product Description

This clock is a very rare, if not unique, example of a clock signed by both John and Joseph Knibb. John (1650-1722) was the younger brother of Joseph (1640-1721) to whom he was apprenticed in Oxford in about 1664. In about 1670, when John had reached the age of 20, Joseph left the city for London to assume responsibility of their recently deceased cousin, Samuel’s workshop. John thus took charge of the Oxford shop, and went on in 1673 to obtain his freedom of the city by redemption (payment of a fine). Considering the greater number of apprentices (around 10) John had compared with his brother in London, the fewer number of clocks signed by him than Joseph in London suggests a goodly part of his output was for the London shop and so signed for Joseph. This clock, however, is a rare instance of Joseph’s signature on the backplate being covered by a screw-fixed plate signed for John, as is actually signed on the dial plate. A possible explanation is that this movement was initially destined for London, but in order to satisfy a rushed order from a customer of the Oxford shop, it required resigning with John’s name after all, then fitted with an Oxford-signed dial and cased up for delivery.

It might have been soon after gaining his freedom in Oxford in 1668 that Joseph issued an undated farthing trade token. Due to a lack of coinage smaller than a penny at the time of the Restoration and the withdrawal of the Commonwealth coinage, such tokens formed the small change of the period. Tokens were produced only between the years 1649 and 1674, when the crown had once more issued smaller coins and various proclamations were made against the practice. For more notes on Joseph Knibb’s Oxford token see exhibit no.12.

Additional information

Dimensions 5827373 cm