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Exhibit № 5. Simon Bartram, London, Circa 1659

Exhibit № 5. Simon Bartram, London, Circa 1659

A historically significant and unusual Charles II ebony-veneered single-handed striking table clock

£50,000


Height

13¼ inches (334 mm)

Case

The case with ebony veneers onto a cariniana wood carcass. The shallow dome surmounted by a substantial moulded top, a small pedestal and brass turned finial. The flat top cornice moulding, prefiguring later Knibb cases, but with two matching pedestals and finials to the front, over the lockable hinged door with raised dial aperture mouldings, the glazed sides with matching mouldings with a solid cross-cleated hinged door to the rear. The whole set on an ebony cavetto/ovolo base moulding, also prefiguring later Knibb cases, with a restored front-opening concave moulded ‘key’ drawer underneath, and standing on four extended bun feet.

Dial

The 5½ inch (140 mm) square brass dial retaining its original mercury fire-gilding, the corners with finely engraved cherubs heads, the upper facing forward in the usual manner, the lower facing up towards the hour hand, a further scythe, skull and hourglass engraved above XII. The slender silvered brass chapter with inner quarter division ring, within Roman hours and stylised fleur-de-lys half-hour marks, the finely matted centre with a well pierced and sculpted hour hand with an oval centre boss. The whole dial framed by a line to the edge, and secured to the movement via three pinned dial feet.

Movement

The movement with circular plates and four tapered square pillars, riveted to the frontplate and pinned to the backplate, the two trains with spring barrels screw-fixed to the backplate and wound from the rear with stop-work mounted externally above the winding squares. The going train with further backplate mounted motion-work to the hand arbor, with knife-edge verge escapement and short bob pendulum. The strike train governed by an outside countwheel mounted on the backplate and striking the hours on the ‘pork-pie’ bell above. The plain backplate with the signature engraved lower centre, Simon Bartram, in early cursive script following the curved edge off to the right. The movement supported by the dial and an iron square-section tapered ‘spike’ resting inside the case and screwed to the lower centre of the backplate.

Duration

5 days

Provenance

Christie’s New York, 20th April 1991, lot 22;
The Jeff Darken Collection, until sold 2002 for £40,000;
John C Taylor Collection, inventory no.84

Literature

Antiquarian Horology, March 2000, Hurst, ‘Early English Pendulum Clocks’, (illus.) p.278-283;
Horological Masterworks, 2003, (illus.) p.28-29;
Huygens’ Legacy, 2004, (illus.) p.52-53;
Garnier & Hollis, Innovation & Collaboration, 2018, (illus.) p.142-143

Strike Type

Small outside hour countwheel

Exhibited

1999, London, Olympia, Passage of Time, exhibit no.16;
2003, Oxford & Liverpool, Horological Masterworks, exhibit no.6;
2004, Holland, Paleis Het Loo, Huygens’ Legacy, exhibit no.20
2018, London, Innovation & Collaboration, exhibit no.17

The circular plated movement may originally have been conceived as a large horizontal table clock, perhaps started prior to, or contemporaneously with, the introduction of the pendulum in London in 1658. Bartram’s association with Ahasuerus Fromanteel is well documented and thus the application of a very early pendulum on an expensive, but otherwise potentially redundant movement, is unsurprising. The dial features sit comfortably with this early date, but the developed form of the case might indicate that this historically significant early pendulum clock was not perhaps finished until the mid 1660s.

Simon Bartram (c.1598-1667) was born in circa 1598, the son of Robert Bartram of London, feltmaker. He was apprenticed Feb 1611/12 through the Merchant Taylors’ Company to John Jelly of Castle Baynard Ward until 1619, taking John Ball as apprentice in 1624 through the Merchant Taylors’. Having subscribed 3 in 1630 towards the formation of the Clockmakers’, Bartram became Assistant in 1632, Warden from 1638 and was Master of the Clockmakers’ in 1650/51. He worked in Blackfriars in the parish of St. Bartholomew the Less until at least 1662, and had close links with Jeremy Gregory and Nicholas Coxeter. Simon Bartram married Mary Ascoll in 1663 and his will, dated 1665, Loomes mentions: his wife who was to have the house they lived in that was hers before their marriage; a shop occupied by John Hicks at Pauls Wharfe in the parish of St. Bennett Pauls Wharfe, but we do not know whether that was his own; and his daughters Mary and Martha Bartram. He also bequeathed £5 to ‘my loving friend Jeremy Gregory, Citizen and Goldsmith’, and 40 shillings to ‘my loving friend Nicholas Coxeter, Citizen and Clockmaker, to buy him a ring to weare in remembrance of me and my love to him’. The will was proved in Nov 1667.

Bartram was also clearly associated with the Fromanteels; in 1654 he took over Ahasuerus Fromanteel son’s apprenticeship from Lionel Wyth, until Ahasuerus II gained his Freedom in 1663. In the meantime an entry in the Court of Common Council of 1655/6 shows that Simon Bartram ‘merchantaylor’, Thomas Loomes ‘clockemaker’ and Ahasuerus’s brother John Fromanteel ‘clothworker’, all gave surety for Ahasuerus Fromanteel’s acceptance into the Freedom of the City of London, when the Lord Protector, Oliver Cromwell, had personally ordered his elevation.

These links bear on the present clock, whose circular-plated movement may have been originally planned as a horizontal table clock but was in the event finished with a very early pendulum. It therefore still utilises the typical table clock layout without a centre wheel. The four tapered Egyptian square pillars are still pinned at the backplate and the two back-wound spring barrels have watch stop-work set near the winding squares on the back plate, while its dial has a single hand and engraved spandrels, all reminiscent of horizontal table clocks. These engraved spandrels are also similar to the Clifton Fromanteel (in this collection, inventory no.25), which is considered to have the earliest surviving weight driven pendulum movement.
Accordingly, Garnier argued, in Innovation & Collaboration, 2018, that it dates from soon after the pendulum’s invention and even possibly from before Fromanteel’s famed advertisements of October and November, 1658.

This clock case, probably made in c.1665, is the earliest known to use South American cariniana as carcass wood. It is also the only surviving example made during the brief English settlement of Willoughbyland (1651-1667) on the Suriname river, the only English colony at that time in which cariniana was indigenous, suggesting that this was the wood’s most likely source.

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Product Description

The circular plated movement may originally have been conceived as a large horizontal table clock, perhaps started prior to, or contemporaneously with, the introduction of the pendulum in London in 1658. Bartram’s association with Ahasuerus Fromanteel is well documented and thus the application of a very early pendulum on an expensive, but otherwise potentially redundant movement, is unsurprising. The dial features sit comfortably with this early date, but the developed form of the case might indicate that this historically significant early pendulum clock was not perhaps finished until the mid 1660s.

Simon Bartram (c.1598-1667) was born in circa 1598, the son of Robert Bartram of London, feltmaker. He was apprenticed Feb 1611/12 through the Merchant Taylors’ Company to John Jelly of Castle Baynard Ward until 1619, taking John Ball as apprentice in 1624 through the Merchant Taylors’. Having subscribed 3 in 1630 towards the formation of the Clockmakers’, Bartram became Assistant in 1632, Warden from 1638 and was Master of the Clockmakers’ in 1650/51. He worked in Blackfriars in the parish of St. Bartholomew the Less until at least 1662, and had close links with Jeremy Gregory and Nicholas Coxeter. Simon Bartram married Mary Ascoll in 1663 and his will, dated 1665, Loomes mentions: his wife who was to have the house they lived in that was hers before their marriage; a shop occupied by John Hicks at Pauls Wharfe in the parish of St. Bennett Pauls Wharfe, but we do not know whether that was his own; and his daughters Mary and Martha Bartram. He also bequeathed £5 to ‘my loving friend Jeremy Gregory, Citizen and Goldsmith’, and 40 shillings to ‘my loving friend Nicholas Coxeter, Citizen and Clockmaker, to buy him a ring to weare in remembrance of me and my love to him’. The will was proved in Nov 1667.

Bartram was also clearly associated with the Fromanteels; in 1654 he took over Ahasuerus Fromanteel son’s apprenticeship from Lionel Wyth, until Ahasuerus II gained his Freedom in 1663. In the meantime an entry in the Court of Common Council of 1655/6 shows that Simon Bartram ‘merchantaylor’, Thomas Loomes ‘clockemaker’ and Ahasuerus’s brother John Fromanteel ‘clothworker’, all gave surety for Ahasuerus Fromanteel’s acceptance into the Freedom of the City of London, when the Lord Protector, Oliver Cromwell, had personally ordered his elevation.

These links bear on the present clock, whose circular-plated movement may have been originally planned as a horizontal table clock but was in the event finished with a very early pendulum. It therefore still utilises the typical table clock layout without a centre wheel. The four tapered Egyptian square pillars are still pinned at the backplate and the two back-wound spring barrels have watch stop-work set near the winding squares on the back plate, while its dial has a single hand and engraved spandrels, all reminiscent of horizontal table clocks. These engraved spandrels are also similar to the Clifton Fromanteel (in this collection, inventory no.25), which is considered to have the earliest surviving weight driven pendulum movement.
Accordingly, Garnier argued, in Innovation & Collaboration, 2018, that it dates from soon after the pendulum’s invention and even possibly from before Fromanteel’s famed advertisements of October and November, 1658.

This clock case, probably made in c.1665, is the earliest known to use South American cariniana as carcass wood. It is also the only surviving example made during the brief English settlement of Willoughbyland (1651-1667) on the Suriname river, the only English colony at that time in which cariniana was indigenous, suggesting that this was the wood’s most likely source.

Additional information

Dimensions 5827373 cm