7 foot 10 inches
The Type 3 case, veneered in burr and figured walnut onto an oak carcass. The hood is surmounted by the original caddy top with three brass ball finials, beneath which are elaborate foliate-pierced walnut frieze-frets. The dial is flanked by brass-capped three-quarter columns and the sides are set with further elaborately pierced walnut sound frets. The convex throat moulding leads down to the rectangular trunk door which has cross-grain D-end mouldings and is punch-numbered 291 in Tompion’s usual place on the leading edge of the top cleat, together with a secondary number 9. The door and sides of the trunk are inlaid with fine boxwood and ebony stringing with similar inlay to the plinth, which is supported on a single skirt.
The 11 inch square gilt-brass dial is signed Tho: Tompion Londini Fecit beneath the silvered chapter ring; with Roman hours and typical sword-hilt half hour markers, the Arabic five-minutes set outside the division ring with corresponding cross half-quarters. The blued-steel hands are elaborately pierced and well-sculpted, and the finely matted centre has both a seconds ring and pin-adjusted calendar aperture. The shuttered winding holes with an activation lever to the left edge of dial between IX and X. Each corner is set with cast and chased double-screwed gilt-brass Indian mask-and-foliate spandrels with scroll engraving between, attributed to Graver 195. The dial is secured to the movement by means of four feet, latched behind the front plate.
The archetypal month-going movement with rectangular plates held by six latched and finned baluster pillars. The going train with bolt-and-shutter maintaining power, anchor escapement and one-second multi-piece brass-rod pendulum with lenticular bob and calibrated rating nut. The strike train governed by a typical large external countwheel, driven by a pinion of report, and striking on the bell above. The backplate with cut-out for the pallets and punch-numbered 291 to the bottom centre, with two typical multi-piece pulleys and original brass cased weights. The whole resting on the original seatboard, held by two screws into the base pillars and secured to the backboard by a screwed L-shaped brass bracket.
18th century, the Browne family, Baronets and Viscounts Kenmare (created 1689, but disputed) of Kenmare House, Co. Kerry, Ireland, and thence by descent to:
The 1st Earl of Kenmare (1754-1812) of Kenmare House, and thence by descent to:
The 4th Earl of Kenmare (1825-1905) who demolished Kenmare House in 1872 and built Killarney House, thence by descent until one of the Killarney House fires of:
Either 1897, or 1913, when sold to an Irish family, thence by descent until:
Private collection UK.
Evans, Carter & Wright, Thomas Tompion 300 Years, 2013, p.153, 201, 202, 203, 210, 211, 214, 217 & 470-1.
Height 7 foot 10 inches; width 18¾ inches; depth 10¼ inches
No. 291 is the earliest recorded Tompion Type 3 longcase finished in sequence. The case is punch numbered 291 on the leading edge of the trunk door, with a secondary number 9; from the early 1690s until 1707/8, a small number of Tompion’s cases have a secondary number which bears no relation to Tompion’s running serial numbers. Of the twenty-two secondary numbers now known, 19 are on longcases and 3 are on spring clocks. While it is extremely difficult to ascertain any pattern within these numbers, they would certainly have related to a second ledger, that was possibly held by Tompion’s casemaker (discussed on p.36 of the catalogue).
For more information on the Kenmare titles and seats (with illustrations), see p.80 of the catalogue.
The Kenmare Tompion no.291, circa 1697
An exceptional William III burr-walnut Type 3 striking and month-going longcase clock by Thomas Tompion, London