+44 (0) 1962 844443|info@cartermarsh.com

Exhibit № 32: The Lee Sympson. Circa 1710

Exhibit № 32: The Lee Sympson. Circa 1710

A fine Queen Anne miniature Phase 3 ebony striking spring clock with pull-quarter repeat, by Tompion workman Charles Sympson, together with its rare wainscot oak travelling case

£165,000


Height

8¾ inches

Case

The diminutive Phase 3 ebony veneered case with inverted bell top surmounted by a baluster handle. The Tompion/Graham-type raised aperture mouldings to the break arch glazed sides and front door, which is also inset with a wooden sound fret to the top rail and plain oval escutcheons, the conforming plinth base raised on square D-moulded wooden cushion feet.

Dial

3½ x 4 inch rectangular Phase 2 gilt-brass dial with finely matted centre, accommodating the mock pendulum and date apertures, the silvered brass chapter ring with Arabic minutes, Roman hours and fleur-de-lys half hour marks, pierced and shaped blued steel hands. The lower corners with applied gilt foliate mask spandrels, the upper dial engraved with foliate decoration, attributed to Tompion’s engraver 515 (G515), encompassing the subsidiary dials, left for pendulum regulation,  the centre signed in cursive script Charles Sympson, London and the right for strike/silent selection.

Movement

The small but substantial movement with pinned ring-turned baluster pillars, twin fusees and spring barrels, verge escapement with pendulum suspended from the regulation bar in Tompion’s fashion, rack striking the hours on a large bell above, with pull-quarter repeat on two smaller bells via an engraved backplate-mounted pulley. The backplate itself, also attributed to G515, and beautifully engraved with a flaming urn, central bird, fruit within a strap cartouche and integral mask below, with scrolling foliage and typical flower heads to the fusee and barrel pivots all within a wheatear border.

Duration

8 days

Provenance

Bonhams, 19th June 1981, lot 77, the travelling case apparently bought from the vendors afterwards;

RA Lee personal collection;

John Kendall, sold in 2005 for £185,000;

John C Taylor Collection, inventory no.166.

Escapement

Pivoted verge

Strike Type

Hour striking with pull-quarter repeat

Notes

The travelling case; The wainscot oak case is of typical joinery construction, the main box with double opening doors to the front, each with two iron hinges, doors held in place when closed by the dovetailed and double-hinged lid, and secured by a fancy wrought iron lock with a strap keeper. Each side has a wrought iron lifting handle with shaped backplates, the interior lined with replacement green baize.

This is the only clock currently recorded by Tompion and Graham’s workman, Charles Sympson. Of very rare miniature size, it shows the hallmarks of their workshop with engraving executed by their engraver, G.515, while its travel case utilises Tompion and Graham’s pattern of iron hinges, as well as the same lock plate and hasp as the only known miniature Tompion travel case, found with the c.1707 Barnard Tompion, no.460 of c.1707 (now in the Science Museum, London, object number 2019-199), and probably made in the same joiner’s workshop.

Travel cases, or carrying boxes, are exceedingly rare survivals despite the fact that many or perhaps most earlier spring table clocks originally had them, used specifically for safe passage of expensive and highly prized timepieces between town and country residences. The doors can be opened, and the lid then closed, revealing the dial, perhaps for using the clock during overnight stays at coaching inns. Later in the century, when table clocks were far more commonplace, they were more likely to stay put in one residence.

Contact us about this item

Product Description

This is the only clock currently recorded by Tompion and Graham’s workman, Charles Sympson. Of very rare miniature size, it shows the hallmarks of their workshop with engraving executed by their engraver, G.515, while its travel case utilises Tompion and Graham’s pattern of iron hinges, as well as the same lock plate and hasp as the only known miniature Tompion travel case, found with the c.1707 Barnard Tompion, no.460 of c.1707 (now in the Science Museum, London, object number 2019-199), and probably made in the same joiner’s workshop.

Travel cases, or carrying boxes, are exceedingly rare survivals despite the fact that many or perhaps most earlier spring table clocks originally had them, used specifically for safe passage of expensive and highly prized timepieces between town and country residences. The doors can be opened, and the lid then closed, revealing the dial, perhaps for using the clock during overnight stays at coaching inns. Later in the century, when table clocks were far more commonplace, they were more likely to stay put in one residence.

Additional information

Dimensions 5827373 cm