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Exhibit № 5: Edward East, London. Circa 1662

Exhibit № 5: Edward East, London. Circa 1662

A very rare Charles II ebony veneered architectural and gilt- brass mounted striking table clock on a turntable base

£125,000


Height

23 inches (585 mm) to the top of the central finial

Case

The case of architectural form with ebony veneers and mouldings onto an oak carcass. The full depth architectural pediment, topped by three gilt-brass finials, centred and half way back on either slope, the front tympanum with a gilt-brass cartouche. All above a plain frieze, supported by gilt-brass multipiece Corinthian capped three-quarter columns to the front and matching half columns to the rear behind the glazed sides. The front door inset between the columns with a fine mitred and raised bolection frame-molding to the glazing, the pearwood mask behind butt-jointed. The fully veneered plain flat back, the lower section inset with a veneered and glazed back door, all supported on a quarter-round stylobate plinth moulding, and resting on a reinstated mitre-veneered turntable base with gilt-brass bun feet.

Dial

The 7¾ by 8¼ inch (119 by 211 mm) rectangular fire-gilded brass dial with fine all-over punch matting framed by a burnished margin and a central reserve with a fine and well engraved Tudor rose. The slender silvered chapter ring with inner quarter divisions, Roman hours and stylised fleur-de-lys half-hour marks, the outer Arabic minutes engraved every 5, within the minute division ring. The centre with high set winding holes and early shaped, sculpted and pierced blacked steel hands. The whole dial secured to the movement via four pinned dial feet.

Movement

The large but shallow rectangular movement in East’s early pendulum style, with seven substantial finned bulbous vase-shaped baluster pillars, riveted to the frontplate and pinned to the backplate, planted with traditional flanged barrels and conical-shaped fusees; the going train with engraved apron to the knife-edge verge escapement and short bob pendulum, the under-dial with indirect floating motion-work driving the hands; the strike train governed by a small, Tudor rose and Arabic hour engraved countwheel, mounted high on the backplate with a cocked detent, and striking the hours on a large bell vertically mounted above. The going train winds anti-clockwise and the strike clockwise. The backplate retains traces of original fire-gilding and is centrally signed in a curve Edward East Londini in fine early cursive script. The movement rests on two raised blocks within the case, and held by two bolts into the base pillars.

Duration

7½ days

Provenance

Peter Van C Moore MD, 1969;

With John Carlton-Smith 1979 and sold to;

Private collection UK;

Asprey, and sold by Mark Sampson in 2002 for £77,000;

John C Taylor Collection, inventory no.14

Literature

Lee, The First Twelve Years of the English Pendulum Clock, 1969, no.18, pl.53, 54 & 55;

Horological Masterworks, Oxford, 2003, p.42-47;

Huygens’ Legacy, Holland, 2004, p.56-59;

Garnier & Hollis, Innovation & Collaboration, p.202

Escapement

Knife-edge verge with short bob pendulum

Strike Type

Small outside hour countwheel planted high on the backplate

Exhibited

1969, London, The First Twelve Years of the English Pendulum Clock, exhibit no.18;

2003, Horological Masterworks, Oxford Museum for the History of Science and the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, exhibit no.10;

2004, Holland, Palais Het Loo, Huygens’ Legacy, exhibit no.22;

2018, London, Innovation & Collaboration, exhibit no.42

In several respects this example personifies the differences between the clocks from Ahasuerus Fromanteel’s workshop and his competitors, led by Edward East. In this turntable clock the case in its general proportions and detailing is markedly less pure architecturally, although it follows the general lines first apparently established by John Webb (1611-1672) in Fromanteel’s cases. The cornice mouldings do not include a drip mould, the entablature frieze is deeper, and the relationship between columns and apertures for dial and side windows is less resolved. The dial has a burnished margin but is otherwise all-over punch-matted and has no spandrel ornamentation but has an engraved rose in the centre. The movement is shallower than Fromanteel’s, but more substantial, the seven bulbous vase-shaped baluster pillars again in contrast being riveted to the front plate and pinned on the backplate. In many ways the characteristics of the movement continue patterns from the horizontal table clock movements of the pre-pendulum era. The spring barrels are made in the traditional way with flanges and pinned on caps, contrasting with Fromanteel’s snap-fitted caps. The fusees are nearly conical, unlike Fromanteel’s more concave ones, the going train winding anticlockwise, the striking train clockwise. There is no centre pinion and the drive of the canon pinion is by an intermediate wheel on a spring collet squared on the end of the second wheel arbour, known as floating motion work, that is mounted unassisted between plate and dial, and which results in play in the minute hand.

 

Edward East (1602-c.1695) was the longest living of the important London clockmakers of the 17th Century and one of very few Londoners who served as Master to two Companies. East was baptised in 1602 in Southill, Bedfordshire and by 1618 was apprenticed to Richard Rogers of the Goldsmiths’ Company. He was made free in 1627 and in the same year he married Anne Bull, the daughter of one of the leading London watchmakers, whose family business had started in the 1570s and in the previous generation had provided two royal makers, John and Randolph Bull, to two monarchs.

Edmund Bull (1585-1644) was an astute businessman, running workshops outside the jurisdiction of the city in Ram Alley as well as within and, by marriage, East became heir to one of the most important watchmaking dynasties in London. For practical reasons, it is likely that Bull encouraged East to join the newly incorporated Clockmakers’ Company in 1632, whose success was initially uncertain. By then, East was running Bull’s Ram Alley manufactory, employing the very foreigners the company was trying to control, despite this East became the youngest of the ten original Assistants. As the Clockmakers’ influence and control grew East was to become Master twice in 1645 and 1653, however he never gave up his involvement with the more influential Goldsmiths’ and eventually made Prime Warden, the equivalent of Master, in 1671.
In 1644, as the First Civil War (1642-1646) intensified, Edmund Bull died leaving East as the primary clockmaker in Fleet Street, but also increasingly prominent in the Goldsmiths’ Company. It is often quoted that Edward East was a Royalist, but this has proved a somewhat simplistic view; the Goldsmiths’ were key financiers of the Roundhead Army and had invested over £17,000 in the Parliamentarian cause, not only is there no evidence of East’s objection but he was later to take ownership of property in West Meath, Ireland, as repayment of a personal loan to Cromwell’s army. In contrast to Fromanteel, it appears that East was more politically astute by avoiding vocal support of a Republic or the Commonwealth.

East remained in London during the First and Second (1648-1651) Civil Wars, expanding his business and taking full advantage of opportunities. In the winter of 1648/9 he took what was perhaps his most poignant commission, an alarm watch for the imprisoned King, Charles I, which although dispatched via the Earl of Pembroke on 17th January went missing during delivery. By the time of the trial three days later, the watch could not be traced and the king remarked ‘Ah! Had he not told the officer it was for me, it would have probably been delivered: he well knew how short a time I would enjoy it.’ Charles I was executed on 30th January 1649.

East’s business was flourishing, as well as controlling the premises left by Edmund Bull, including The Musical Clock in Fleet Street, East had acquired a tenement and shop in St Clement Danes. In 1647 East was made ‘Treasurer’ of the Clockmakers’, becoming its Master in 1653 for a second time. By 1657 East was also made 4th Warden of the Goldsmiths, given his duties he required several managers working to his command, we know of his brothers, James and Jeremy (by now running Ram Alley and able to use foreign workers) and his son, also James, plus a small army of journeyman and apprentices.

In 1658, Ahasuerus Fromanteel pioneered the introduction of the pendulum in London, stealing a march on his competitors, but by the early 1660s East was also producing pendulum clocks. Initially, like the present example they were unlike his rival’s, these evolved out of his traditional fare of horizontal table and lantern clocks; the plates pinned to the rear with floating motion-work, and housed by indigenous English cabinetmakers, interpreting but not following the refinement of Fromanteel’s architect designed, foreigner-made, cases. These early pendulum clocks are often referred to as ‘East school’.

Having prospered conspicuously during the Commonwealth, with the restoration of Charles II in 1660, East moved seamlessly into prominence as clockmaker to the king. Although not a lucrative position, it bestowed royal approval at a time when status was highly important, and by 1662 another warrant was issued making his son James clockmaker to the Queen. Thus East cemented the reputation of his dynasty and by the mid 1660s the ‘East school’ had also caught up technically with the ‘Fromanteel school’ and were producing clocks of equal refinement to their rivals, with lighter wheel and pinion-work, bridged motion work and lighter plates latched to the front. Now in his 60s, East was able to supplement his workforce with apprentices taken through his own ex-apprenticed journeymen, while also continuing to take apprentices through both Companies, the most celebrated of these was Henry Jones (1642-1695), who gained his Clockmakers’ freedom in 1663.

In 1665 London experienced the worst outbreak of bubonic plague that century and just as the city was recovering, the Great Fire took hold in September 1666. Two of East’s properties, Ram Alley and The Musical Clock in Fleet Street, were destroyed and it appears East was forced to retreat to his property in St Clement Danes, which had escaped destruction.

Over the following years it seems East’s son James became increasingly central to the business. As well as jointly holding the royal warrant, the accounts of Sir Thomas Clifford show payment on 26 August 1671 of £34 for a pendal clock and watch to Mr East junior. While James managed the business, Edward East was made Prime Warden of the Goldsmiths’ Company in 1671. Now almost 70, in that year the Clockmakers’ applied for a coat of arms and he was described as Edward East, the only person now living of those mentioned in the said Letters Patent of Incorporation of 1631.

The London Gazette of 12 September 1672 records an advert from East …whoever shall give notice of this Watch to Mr Styles the Goldsmith in Covent Garden, or to Mr East the Watch-maker at Temple bar, shall be extraordinary well satisfied for their pains… indicating East was now trading at Temple Bar. With the business at the height of its fame and succession seemingly secure, tragedy struck and his eldest son James died in 1674. James’s untimely death gives us a snapshot of the wealth the Easts had accumulated, and his estate was valued at the huge sum of £2027 10s 0d. He was owed over £1350 by wealthy debtors: the King and Queen, the Duke of Richmond, the Earl of Craven, Mr Rosewell the Queen’s apothecary and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sir John Duncombe. As was often the case at this time, the vast majority of debt was from the Crown.

Now in his 70s, we see renewed evidence for Edward East at the helm of his business and he again took apprentices, whilst the influential post of Royal Clockmaker, held jointly by Edward and James, was offered in 1674 to Robert Seignior (1645-1686) on the death of Edward East. This might indicate that Seignior took over management of East’s business and, at sometime after 1674, East moved out to Hampton on the outskirts of London.

In the event, East was to outlive Seignior by nearly ten years, but his business continued most probably under management. It is clear that good relations continued with East’s former apprentice Henry Jones and in 1693, East and Jones placed £100 in trust with the Clockmakers’ to pay five freemen or their widows, twenty shillings per annum. When the donation was recorded it was recommended that …the Master and Wardens do go to Mr. East and give him hearty thanks for his charity. This is the last record of Edward East alive and by now 91 years old, he was an extraordinary age for the time. He died between that date and the proving of his will on 23 February 1696, most likely in late 1695.

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Product Description

In several respects this example personifies the differences between the clocks from Ahasuerus Fromanteel’s workshop and his competitors, led by Edward East. In this turntable clock the case in its general proportions and detailing is markedly less pure architecturally, although it follows the general lines first apparently established by John Webb (1611-1672) in Fromanteel’s cases. The cornice mouldings do not include a drip mould, the entablature frieze is deeper, and the relationship between columns and apertures for dial and side windows is less resolved. The dial has a burnished margin but is otherwise all-over punch-matted and has no spandrel ornamentation but has an engraved rose in the centre. The movement is shallower than Fromanteel’s, but more substantial, the seven bulbous vase-shaped baluster pillars again in contrast being riveted to the front plate and pinned on the backplate. In many ways the characteristics of the movement continue patterns from the horizontal table clock movements of the pre-pendulum era. The spring barrels are made in the traditional way with flanges and pinned on caps, contrasting with Fromanteel’s snap-fitted caps. The fusees are nearly conical, unlike Fromanteel’s more concave ones, the going train winding anticlockwise, the striking train clockwise. There is no centre pinion and the drive of the canon pinion is by an intermediate wheel on a spring collet squared on the end of the second wheel arbour, known as floating motion work, that is mounted unassisted between plate and dial, and which results in play in the minute hand.

 

Edward East (1602-c.1695) was the longest living of the important London clockmakers of the 17th Century and one of very few Londoners who served as Master to two Companies. East was baptised in 1602 in Southill, Bedfordshire and by 1618 was apprenticed to Richard Rogers of the Goldsmiths’ Company. He was made free in 1627 and in the same year he married Anne Bull, the daughter of one of the leading London watchmakers, whose family business had started in the 1570s and in the previous generation had provided two royal makers, John and Randolph Bull, to two monarchs.

Edmund Bull (1585-1644) was an astute businessman, running workshops outside the jurisdiction of the city in Ram Alley as well as within and, by marriage, East became heir to one of the most important watchmaking dynasties in London. For practical reasons, it is likely that Bull encouraged East to join the newly incorporated Clockmakers’ Company in 1632, whose success was initially uncertain. By then, East was running Bull’s Ram Alley manufactory, employing the very foreigners the company was trying to control, despite this East became the youngest of the ten original Assistants. As the Clockmakers’ influence and control grew East was to become Master twice in 1645 and 1653, however he never gave up his involvement with the more influential Goldsmiths’ and eventually made Prime Warden, the equivalent of Master, in 1671.
In 1644, as the First Civil War (1642-1646) intensified, Edmund Bull died leaving East as the primary clockmaker in Fleet Street, but also increasingly prominent in the Goldsmiths’ Company. It is often quoted that Edward East was a Royalist, but this has proved a somewhat simplistic view; the Goldsmiths’ were key financiers of the Roundhead Army and had invested over £17,000 in the Parliamentarian cause, not only is there no evidence of East’s objection but he was later to take ownership of property in West Meath, Ireland, as repayment of a personal loan to Cromwell’s army. In contrast to Fromanteel, it appears that East was more politically astute by avoiding vocal support of a Republic or the Commonwealth.

East remained in London during the First and Second (1648-1651) Civil Wars, expanding his business and taking full advantage of opportunities. In the winter of 1648/9 he took what was perhaps his most poignant commission, an alarm watch for the imprisoned King, Charles I, which although dispatched via the Earl of Pembroke on 17th January went missing during delivery. By the time of the trial three days later, the watch could not be traced and the king remarked ‘Ah! Had he not told the officer it was for me, it would have probably been delivered: he well knew how short a time I would enjoy it.’ Charles I was executed on 30th January 1649.

East’s business was flourishing, as well as controlling the premises left by Edmund Bull, including The Musical Clock in Fleet Street, East had acquired a tenement and shop in St Clement Danes. In 1647 East was made ‘Treasurer’ of the Clockmakers’, becoming its Master in 1653 for a second time. By 1657 East was also made 4th Warden of the Goldsmiths, given his duties he required several managers working to his command, we know of his brothers, James and Jeremy (by now running Ram Alley and able to use foreign workers) and his son, also James, plus a small army of journeyman and apprentices.

In 1658, Ahasuerus Fromanteel pioneered the introduction of the pendulum in London, stealing a march on his competitors, but by the early 1660s East was also producing pendulum clocks. Initially, like the present example they were unlike his rival’s, these evolved out of his traditional fare of horizontal table and lantern clocks; the plates pinned to the rear with floating motion-work, and housed by indigenous English cabinetmakers, interpreting but not following the refinement of Fromanteel’s architect designed, foreigner-made, cases. These early pendulum clocks are often referred to as ‘East school’.

Having prospered conspicuously during the Commonwealth, with the restoration of Charles II in 1660, East moved seamlessly into prominence as clockmaker to the king. Although not a lucrative position, it bestowed royal approval at a time when status was highly important, and by 1662 another warrant was issued making his son James clockmaker to the Queen. Thus East cemented the reputation of his dynasty and by the mid 1660s the ‘East school’ had also caught up technically with the ‘Fromanteel school’ and were producing clocks of equal refinement to their rivals, with lighter wheel and pinion-work, bridged motion work and lighter plates latched to the front. Now in his 60s, East was able to supplement his workforce with apprentices taken through his own ex-apprenticed journeymen, while also continuing to take apprentices through both Companies, the most celebrated of these was Henry Jones (1642-1695), who gained his Clockmakers’ freedom in 1663.

In 1665 London experienced the worst outbreak of bubonic plague that century and just as the city was recovering, the Great Fire took hold in September 1666. Two of East’s properties, Ram Alley and The Musical Clock in Fleet Street, were destroyed and it appears East was forced to retreat to his property in St Clement Danes, which had escaped destruction.

Over the following years it seems East’s son James became increasingly central to the business. As well as jointly holding the royal warrant, the accounts of Sir Thomas Clifford show payment on 26 August 1671 of £34 for a pendal clock and watch to Mr East junior. While James managed the business, Edward East was made Prime Warden of the Goldsmiths’ Company in 1671. Now almost 70, in that year the Clockmakers’ applied for a coat of arms and he was described as Edward East, the only person now living of those mentioned in the said Letters Patent of Incorporation of 1631.

The London Gazette of 12 September 1672 records an advert from East …whoever shall give notice of this Watch to Mr Styles the Goldsmith in Covent Garden, or to Mr East the Watch-maker at Temple bar, shall be extraordinary well satisfied for their pains… indicating East was now trading at Temple Bar. With the business at the height of its fame and succession seemingly secure, tragedy struck and his eldest son James died in 1674. James’s untimely death gives us a snapshot of the wealth the Easts had accumulated, and his estate was valued at the huge sum of £2027 10s 0d. He was owed over £1350 by wealthy debtors: the King and Queen, the Duke of Richmond, the Earl of Craven, Mr Rosewell the Queen’s apothecary and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sir John Duncombe. As was often the case at this time, the vast majority of debt was from the Crown.

Now in his 70s, we see renewed evidence for Edward East at the helm of his business and he again took apprentices, whilst the influential post of Royal Clockmaker, held jointly by Edward and James, was offered in 1674 to Robert Seignior (1645-1686) on the death of Edward East. This might indicate that Seignior took over management of East’s business and, at sometime after 1674, East moved out to Hampton on the outskirts of London.

In the event, East was to outlive Seignior by nearly ten years, but his business continued most probably under management. It is clear that good relations continued with East’s former apprentice Henry Jones and in 1693, East and Jones placed £100 in trust with the Clockmakers’ to pay five freemen or their widows, twenty shillings per annum. When the donation was recorded it was recommended that …the Master and Wardens do go to Mr. East and give him hearty thanks for his charity. This is the last record of Edward East alive and by now 91 years old, he was an extraordinary age for the time. He died between that date and the proving of his will on 23 February 1696, most likely in late 1695.

Additional information

Dimensions 5827373 cm