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

Exhibit № 33. Henry Massey, London, Circa 1695

Exhibit № 33. Henry Massey, London, Circa 1695

A rare William III turtleshell veneered and silver-mounted striking spring clock with seconds dial, pull-quarter repeat and keyhole falseplate; attributed to Daniel Quare

£95,000


Height

11½ inches (292 mm)

Case

The case of scarlet-backed turtleshell veneer onto an oak carcass with a cushion-moulded top, inset with a silver moulding and surmounted by a sculpted double-serpentine scroll silver handle, the dial door applied with cast silver frame mouldings and with a pieced fret to the top rail, the sides glazed with further frets above, the moulded base banded in silver and set on silver gadrooned feet.

Dial

The 7¼ x 8¼ inch rectangular dial is signed Hen. Massy London on the silvered Roman and Arabic chapter-ring with sword-hilt half-hour and arrow half-quarter marks and pierced blued steel hands, the matted centre with rare seconds ring below XII, engraved date aperture and strike/silent S/N lever on the dial edge outside III, each corner set with intricate cast silver flowering-urn spandrels, the top two extending upwards and inwards to frame the subsidiary regulation ring above XII.

Movement

The movement with thick brass plates secured by six pillars pinned to the frontplate, large spring barrels with gut lines to the fusees, the going train with verge escapement, indicating seconds on the dial, the hours governed by rack and snail striking on a large horizontal bell and Daniel Quare’s system of pull-quarter repeating on six graduated smaller vertically mounted bells of differing tones, the subsidiary extended keyhole falseplate close-fitted to the case and superbly all-over engraved with scrolls and foliage within a wheatear border with a large pendulum apron with matching engraving.

Duration

8 Days

Provenance

Christie’s, 5th July 2002, lot 89, sold for £97,213.75;
The John C Taylor Collection, inventory no.94

Comparative Literature

Kenney, Horological Dialogues, Volume I, ‘Daniel Quare Keyhole Clocks’, 1979, p.39-48;
Dawson, Drover & Parkes, Early English Clocks, 1982, p.297, pl.422 and p.455, pl.666

Literature

Antique Collectors Club, March 1989, vol.23, no.10, front cover illus.;
Huygens’ Legacy, 2004, (illus.) p.232-235

Escapement

Knife-edge verge with spring suspended pendulum

Strike Type

Hour rack strike with pull-quarter repeat

Exhibited

2004, Holland, Paleis Het Loo, Huygens’ Legacy, exhibit no.80.

Henry Massey (Massy) was the son of a French Protestant Huguenot watchmaker, he was made a brother in the Clockmakers’ Company in 1692. He is recorded as marrying Anne Brissett in 1694 and continued to work until at least 1704, when it is presumed he died.
‘Keyhole’ or keyplate table clocks derive their name from their false back plates, which are secured to the actual movement back plate via pillars slotting into key-hole shaped cut-outs. Few examples are known. In a 1979 article in Horological Dialogues, George C. Kenney mentions three examples, all by Daniel Quare and dated by him to the period 1703- 1710. Interestingly he also writes the clocks were fitted with special and unusual… features such as maintaining power, seconds dials, quarter striking, and/or tortoiseshell cases. This clock, conforming to all but quarter-striking, instead utilising Quare’s own pattern of repeating system, lends credence to the attribution to Quare as the actual maker.

The present example has the comparatively rare features of both a seconds dial and a turtleshell case. Moreover, the movement of this clock displays a construction that bears all the hallmarks of a product from Daniel Quare’s workshop. The false backplate filling the rear view of the back of the case is aesthetically extremely pleasing. One of the advantages of a key-plate is that it offered a ‘blank canvas’ for the engraver who had a free rein to engrave on a large backplate which was unspoilt by pivot holes, repeat cocks and securing brackets.

One of the most notable features of this superb clock is the silver mounts. When set against the red of the turtleshell the effect created is one of unparalleled opulence. From the known provenances of silver mounted clocks within Thomas Tompion’s oeuvre, it appears his use of them may have been limited exclusively to royal commissions. Furthermore, Joseph Knibb only ever used them on his rarest Phase II velvet-dialed table clocks, the first two or even three of which appear to have been destined for Charles II, such as the example dated 1677 from the collection of the late George Daniels (Sotheby’s 1st November 2012, lot 130, and now in this collection, inventory no.145).

Contact us about this item

Product Description

Henry Massey (Massy) was the son of a French Protestant Huguenot watchmaker, he was made a brother in the Clockmakers’ Company in 1692. He is recorded as marrying Anne Brissett in 1694 and continued to work until at least 1704, when it is presumed he died.
‘Keyhole’ or keyplate table clocks derive their name from their false back plates, which are secured to the actual movement back plate via pillars slotting into key-hole shaped cut-outs. Few examples are known. In a 1979 article in Horological Dialogues, George C. Kenney mentions three examples, all by Daniel Quare and dated by him to the period 1703- 1710. Interestingly he also writes the clocks were fitted with special and unusual… features such as maintaining power, seconds dials, quarter striking, and/or tortoiseshell cases. This clock, conforming to all but quarter-striking, instead utilising Quare’s own pattern of repeating system, lends credence to the attribution to Quare as the actual maker.

The present example has the comparatively rare features of both a seconds dial and a turtleshell case. Moreover, the movement of this clock displays a construction that bears all the hallmarks of a product from Daniel Quare’s workshop. The false backplate filling the rear view of the back of the case is aesthetically extremely pleasing. One of the advantages of a key-plate is that it offered a ‘blank canvas’ for the engraver who had a free rein to engrave on a large backplate which was unspoilt by pivot holes, repeat cocks and securing brackets.

One of the most notable features of this superb clock is the silver mounts. When set against the red of the turtleshell the effect created is one of unparalleled opulence. From the known provenances of silver mounted clocks within Thomas Tompion’s oeuvre, it appears his use of them may have been limited exclusively to royal commissions. Furthermore, Joseph Knibb only ever used them on his rarest Phase II velvet-dialed table clocks, the first two or even three of which appear to have been destined for Charles II, such as the example dated 1677 from the collection of the late George Daniels (Sotheby’s 1st November 2012, lot 130, and now in this collection, inventory no.145).

Additional information

Dimensions 5827373 cm