6 foot 5¾ inches
The archetypal Type 1 case of figured-walnut veneered onto an oak carcass, the rising hood with flat-topped architectural cornice mouldings, including a drip mould, above the walnut fretted frieze, all supported by reflected three-quarter Solomonic columns to the front and matching quarter-columns to the rear, behind glazed side apertures. The hood resting on a convex throat-moulding above the long rectangular trunk door, with book-matched figured-walnut veneers framed by D-shaped block-mouldings, the sides with figured veneer panels in cross-grain frames, the base with cavetto/ovolo mouldings atop the similarly book-match veneered and panelled plinth, raised on four later walnut bun feet.
The 10 inch square gilt-brass dial with four latched dial feet, the matted centre pierced with calendar apertures for: days-of-the week above their corresponding astrological symbols (Monday/Moon, Tuesday/Mars, Wednesday/Mercury etc.) below XII; and the date, above the month with Zodiac symbols. The silvered brass chapter ring with Roman numerals and archetypal sword-hilt half-hour markers, the outer division indicating quarter-minutes, with every individual minute numbered outside. The lower edge of the dial signed Tho: Tompion Londini Fecit in a rectangular reserve, interrupting the single wheat-ear border, the corners with gilt-brass winged-cherub spandrels. The centre with a silvered-brass Arabic and rose engraved alarm disc, the whole indicated by finely pierced and shaped blued-steel hands of typical Tompion pattern, the hour hand with shaped extension for setting the alarm. As is usual with most of Tompion’s complex calendar work, the wheels and engraved discs are mounted to the rear of the dial.
The complex two-train 8-day movement, with substantial brass plates held by six finned baluster pillars, latched to the frontplate, the backplate with typical escapement pallet cut-out and both shaped at the top to take the bells. The going train with anchor escapement, bolt-and-shutter maintaining power, and multi-piece brass rod one-second pendulum. The strike train regulated by a substantial, 5½ inch diameter, outside count-wheel with chamfered securing cock and roller-guides, and ting-tang quarters struck on the two bells above, the pump activated hour on the larger bell. The alarm train mounted to the edge of the going side of the plates with verge wheel and flagged hammer arbor striking on the smaller bell, activated via an underdial release lever to the dial alarm disc.
The Matthey Collection, by mid 1940s, inventory no.1;
Christie’s, London, 24 November, 1983, lot 208;
Christie’s, London, 28 October, 1991, lot 177;
The Tom Scott Collection, inventory no.97.
British Clockmakers’ Heritage Exhibition, 1952 Catalogue, p.49;
Evans, Thomas Tompion at the Dial and Three Crowns, 2006, listed;
Evans, Carter & Wright, Thomas Tompion 300 Years, 2013, p.454-455;
Garnier & Carter, The Golden Age of English Horology, 2015, p.52-55.
Height 6 foot 5¾ inches; width 18 inches; depth 9 inches
London, Science Museum, 1952, British Clockmakers’ Heritage Exhibition, exhibit no. 141.
This is the only Tompion longcase recorded that has complex quarter strike from a single train, with a full astrological calendar and alarm. However, the oversized count-wheel can be compared to the two-train Grande Sonnerie Tompion longcase, no.3, at the National Maritime Museum (ref. ZAA0524).
The Matthey Tompion, circa 1680
A unique Charles II pre-numbered 8-day two-train quarter-striking figured-walnut Type 1 longcase clock with full calendar and alarm by Thomas Tompion, London