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Exhibit № 8: John Wise, Warwick. Circa 1665

Exhibit № 8: John Wise, Warwick. Circa 1665

An exceedingly rare and unusual Charles II Provincial sycamore and pearwood box table timepiece

£32,000


Height

8¾ inches (222 mm)

Case

The case of early box form with sycamore veneers and a solid pearwood box carcass with dovetailed corners, surmounted by a carrying handle of unusual tulip-sculpted and tear-drop centred design. The glazed front door lap-jointed and mitre-veneered in sycamore with a solid-pearwood mitred mask behind, and with a solid back door (with signs of earlier hinges). It is conceivable that the case was dual-purpose, to be alternatively hung on the wall, as the early Coster and Fromanteel box clocks. The surfaces have been stained to a walnut colour and it was possibly originally ebonised. The whole case stands on brass corner squares, with squat bun feet below.

Dial

The 6½ inch (165 mm) square gilt-brass dial with finely engraved tulip corners within an outer frame line, interrupted by the signature John Wise along the lower edge. The silvered brass chapter ring with quarter division ring and Roman hours with fleur-de-lys half-hour marks between. The finely matted centre with winding hole below XII and a well-sculpted counterpoised blued steel hour hand. The dial held to the movement by three pinned dial feet, and into the case by two bent-brass brackets.

Movement

The slightly tapered movement with tall slender plates, held by two further horizontal plates top-and-bottom, riveted to the back and slotted to the front and pin-fixed. Planted with an off-set spring barrel and central chain fusee, with separate hand arbor driven by indirect gearing to the backplate, and governed by a knife-edge verge and crown-wheel escapement with short bob pendulum. The backplate with two high-positioned banking pins, to limit the pendulum, and a holdfast below, with corresponding bevelled backplate corner in which to park the bob.

Duration

2 days

Provenance

1980s-90s, The Time Museum, Rockford, Illinois, USA;

The Time Museum Collection, Rockford, Illinois, USA, inventory no.3762, until sold;

Sotheby’s New York, 19 June 2002, lot 162 for $10,157;

John C Taylor Collection, inventory no.91

Literature

Horological Dialogues, vol.2, American section of the Antiquarian Horological Society, New York 1986, pages 68-69;

Horological Masterworks, Oxford, 2003, p.82-83

Escapement

Knife-edge verge with short bob pendulum

Exhibited

1986, New York, American Section of the Antiquarian Horological Society, Tenth Anniversary Exhibition, exhibit no.24;

2003, Horological Masterworks, Oxford Museum for the History of Science and the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, exhibit no.18

John Wise was born circa 1625 and apprenticed to Peter Closon, the famous lantern clockmaker, and was Freed in 1646. He appears to have worked in Warwick between 1653 and 1668, repairing St. Mary’s church clock, where his children were baptised, including John junior in 1658, Joseph in 1661, Thomas in 1663 and Robert in 1666. Wise had returned to London by 1670, there taking ten apprentices, including all of his aforementioned sons. His death is believed to have occurred at some time between 1690 and 1693.

The carrying handle is of an unusual design, but not unprecedented to Wise’s oeuvre; this tulip-shaped handle, with the teardrop centre deleted, can be found on an a large Dutch striking ebony table clock, of Knibb’s Phase I type, by John Wise of circa 1675 (private collection, Cornwall), as well as an early Tompion of similar style and date (illustrated in Early English Clocks, pl.458 & 602).

The dial corners are pleasingly engraved with naive foliage and early tulips, the early cursive signature is ‘un-located’, while the silvered chapter ring is slightly wider than most early pendulum clocks, all perhaps in confirmation of its provincial heritage. The fusee winds clockwise and has normal stop work; the great wheel arbor floats in the fusee and is extended through the back plate where it carries the pinion of report, which engages a twelve-hour wheel mounted on the hand arbor that passes through the movement to the dial; while the single blued steel hand is of an elegant sturdy early design, well finished and rounded. All of which assist with dating this clock to c.1665, and indicates that it was likely made during his time in Warwick, between 1653-1668.

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Product Description

John Wise was born circa 1625 and apprenticed to Peter Closon, the famous lantern clockmaker, and was Freed in 1646. He appears to have worked in Warwick between 1653 and 1668, repairing St. Mary’s church clock, where his children were baptised, including John junior in 1658, Joseph in 1661, Thomas in 1663 and Robert in 1666. Wise had returned to London by 1670, there taking ten apprentices, including all of his aforementioned sons. His death is believed to have occurred at some time between 1690 and 1693.

The carrying handle is of an unusual design, but not unprecedented to Wise’s oeuvre; this tulip-shaped handle, with the teardrop centre deleted, can be found on an a large Dutch striking ebony table clock, of Knibb’s Phase I type, by John Wise of circa 1675 (private collection, Cornwall), as well as an early Tompion of similar style and date (illustrated in Early English Clocks, pl.458 & 602).

The dial corners are pleasingly engraved with naive foliage and early tulips, the early cursive signature is ‘un-located’, while the silvered chapter ring is slightly wider than most early pendulum clocks, all perhaps in confirmation of its provincial heritage. The fusee winds clockwise and has normal stop work; the great wheel arbor floats in the fusee and is extended through the back plate where it carries the pinion of report, which engages a twelve-hour wheel mounted on the hand arbor that passes through the movement to the dial; while the single blued steel hand is of an elegant sturdy early design, well finished and rounded. All of which assist with dating this clock to c.1665, and indicates that it was likely made during his time in Warwick, between 1653-1668.

Additional information

Dimensions 5827373 cm