Height

6 foot 10 inches.

Case

The later purpose-made solid mahogany case of lyre form with marquetry chequer-inlaid hollow-cornered panel to the plinth on double-footed skirt, similar marquetry inlay to the waisted trunk door, the hood with beaded and lappet-carved circular moulded door applied with a floral guilloche brass frame, the top surmounted by an associated mahogany urn elaborately carved with leaves and rams’ heads joined by foliate swags and surmounted by a pineapple finial.

Dial

The original silvered regulator dial, signed George Graham, London, with hour and date apertures, blued-steel minute and seconds hands, bolt-and-shutter lever by chapter 15, now reduced with corners removed to form a near perfect circle.

Movement

The massive movement with thick brass rectangular plates with chamfered tops, six robust latched pillars, original bolt-and-shutter maintaining power, original half deadbeat escapement with steel end-screw to the escapement pivot, the original brass-rod pendulum suspended from a backcock on the backplate and with massive brass-faced bob with calibrated silvered rating nut with typical brass nib-piece, the back plate punch-numbered 622 at the base.

Duration

Month.

Provenance

1722- 1955 Sloane-Stanley family Paultons House, remodelled 1805/07 by architect John Kent Southampton;
Woolley & Wallis, Paultons House sold September 1955 to Captain LR Bomford DSO;
Woolley & Wallis, sold deseased estate 15th October 1981;
JW Blanchard Antiques, Winchester, sold to Algy Rothman circa 1990.

Notes

Paultons was owned in the 1720s by George Stanley, who had married in 1719 Sarah, elder daughter and co-heiress of Sir Hans Sloane, founder of the Chelsea Physic Garden and successor to Sir Isaac Newton as President of the Royal Society in 1727. Sloane bequeathed his collection to the nation, providing the foundation of the British Museum. George Stanley died circa 1734 and Sarah Stanley in 1764. Their only son, Hans Sloane (b.1720) inherited Paultons. Upon his suicide in 1780 the house passed, subject to the life interest of his sisters, to a cousin, Hans Sloane. It was this Hans Sloane who first remodelled Paultons (1805-7), with his son making further alterations circa 1825.

The number of this clock (622) suggests that it was the next clock made after Graham No.621, the regulator which he made for the Greenwich Observatory and which was delivered in 1721. It is therefore likely that it was made in 1721/22, not least because its movement is identical to Greenwich regulator number one (621).

The case is later than the clock and its style indicates a date of circa 1795/1800. The lyre-shaped form is very unusual. Two other examples are known, both with clocks by John Cragg of Southampton. One is illustrated in Ralph Edwards Shorter Dictionary of English Furniture, Country Life, 1964, p.239, the other in Tom Robinson The Longcase Clock, Antique Collectors’ Club, 1981, p.404, fig. 11/32. It seems probable that the present case was provided by Cragg’s casemaker, who would have been local to Paultons.

Why the original case provided by George Graham was replaced must remain a matter of conjecture. It is likely that it was simply a matter of changing fashion. The original case would have probably been oak, austere and functional, appropriate for an observatory (Paultons was destroyed in 1955 and it is not known whether one existed there). The Sloane-Stanley family certainly updated their property. Paultons itself was extensively remodelled by the architect John Kent of Southampton between 1805 and 1807 and it is possible a new clock case may have been commissioned then.