The small and well-proportioned mid-size Phase 2 case, ebony-veneered onto an oak carcass, with a dome top surmounted by Tompion’s newly introduced foliate-tied handle. The front door with scroll escutcheons and shell-and-eagle sound fret, satyr-mask mount to the lower rail, numbered 286 on the front door sill. The sides glazed with matching gilt-brass sound frets above, the rear door inset and with a D-moulded outer frame, all above a moulded base resting on block feet.
The 5¼ by 6¼ inch rectangular gilt-brass Phase 2 dial with three latched feet, signed THO·TOMPION + EDW·BANGER LONDINI FECIT above foliate scrolls, decorated by Graver 195, and flanked by strike/silent and pendulum regulation-rings. The silvered chapter ring has Roman numerals with Tompion’s sword-hilt half-hour markers and outer Arabic five-minute numerals with Maltese-cross half-quarters. The hands finely sculpted and pierced in blued-steel, with a mock pendulum and pinhole-adjusted calendar aperture to the well-matted centre. The bottom corners having double-screwed ornate cherub’s head spandrels, with quarter versions above.
The optional date indication that Tompion provided on no.286, was an extra expense not afforded by many of his customers, and only one other clock in the mid-size series has this feature.
The movement with 5⁷⁄₁₆ by 6⅞ inch plates held by seven latched baluster pillars, the twin fusees and barrels with original chains. The going train with pivoted-verge escapement and spring-suspended lenticular pendulum, rise-and-fall lever with pinion adjustment through the dial. The strike train governed by a rack-and-snail, and sounding the hours on the larger bell, Tompion’s pull-quarter system repeating the quarters on the smaller bell via double-cocked interlocking blued-steel levers. The backplate signed THO·TOMPION + EDW·BANGER LONDINI FECIT in a cartouche within profuse foliate decoration by Graver 195 with unusual strapwork and masks, punch-numbered 286 at the base.
The use of expensive chain lines on no.286, was also a costly upgrade which undoubtedly added considerably to its initial expense.
By 1929, The Percival D Griffiths Collection, Sandridgebury, Hertfordshire, inv. F293;
The FH Green Collection, purchased in 1932;
By 1940s, The Eric B Moller Collection, Thorncombe Park, Surrey;
Sotheby’s, London, 16 October. 1986, lot 126;
Christie’s, London, 3-4 July 1991, lot 296;
The Tom Scott Collection, inventory no.102;
Private collection, UK.
Symonds, English furniture from Charles II to George II, 1929, p.299, fig. 246 & 247;
Symonds, Thomas Tompion, His Life & Work, 1951, figs.127, 132A, 165, 190, 218 & 236;
Symonds, Furniture Making in 17th & 18th Century England, 1955, fig. 352;
Evans, Thomas Tompion at the Dial and Three Crowns, 2006, p.77;
Loomes, Watchmakers and Clockmakers of the World, 2006, p.37 & 775;
Evans, Carter & Wright, Thomas Tompion 300 Years, p.350-351;
Garnier & Carter, The Golden Age of English Horology, 2015, p.86-90.
Jussel & DeGregorio, The Percival D Griffiths Collection, Vol. I, 2023, inv. F293, p. 238, 239 & 339.
Height 11¾ inches; width: 8¹⁄₁₆ inches; depth: 5¼ inches
1933, The Royal Exchange, A Loan Exhibition of Old English Clocks entirely the work of and signed by Tho. Tompion (1638-1713), cat. no.21 (noted in error as no.282).
For the last 100 years, Tompion no.286 has formed a part of four of the most significant private collections of furniture and clocks of the early 20th and 21st Centuries.
The Griffiths Tompion, no.286, is the smallest of Tompion’s mid-size clocks; it is the second mid-size clock in his small series of 12, but is the first to utilise the specially-commissioned castings in gilt-brass that would subsequently become standard on his mid-size clocks. Significantly, no.286 is also the first recorded clock signed with Edward Banger, whom Tompion took into partnership as this clock was being finished in c.1702. Interestingly, the introduction of the partnership name was gradual, over a year or two, and meanwhile they also continued to produce clocks under Tompion’s name alone, (see the Kenmare Tompion, no.291).
It is the first to have gilt-brass mounts specific to the mid-size cases and, although started in c.1697, it was probably not finished until c.1702. This was perhaps concurrent with the next clock in the mid-size series, no.369, that was reputedly made for Queen Anne, or her husband Prince George of Denmark, just after her succession in March 1702.
While no.286 is smaller and has additional date complication with expensive chain lines, which are lacking on no.369, both share similar mid-size mounts. There is some logic to these new mounts being first commissioned in silver, specially for that c.1702 royal clock, which were then applied in gilt-brass, perhaps concurrently, on this example. All eight of the known silver-mounted clocks by Tompion are thought to have royal provenance (see list on p.28 of the catalogue).
The Griffiths Tompion no.286, circa 1697
An unusually small and rare William III mid-size ebony Phase 2 striking table clock with pull-quarter repeat by Thomas Tompion and Edward Banger
Out of stock