The typical Graham ‘mid-sized phase 3’ case is constructed using an oak carcass with ebony mouldings and veneers, it has an inverted bell top, which is surmounted by a typical Graham/Tompion pattern gilt-brass ‘foliate-tied’ D-ended handle with rosette terminals. The front door has typical ‘scroll’ escutcheons and delicate raised aperture mouldings, the top rail inset with a pierced wooden fret – with identical matching mouldings to the break-arch sides and rear door apertures, the base of the case resting on moulded block feet.
The 5½ x 6½ inch gilt-brass dial is beautifully signed Geo: Graham London in flowing script flanked by subsidiary dials for strike/silent S/N and pendulum regulation with well pieced and shaped blued-steel hands. The silvered chapter ring has Roman & Arabic numerals with typical lozenge half-hour marks and matching blued-steel hands, the centre is finely matted with apertures for the mock pendulum and calendar, above and below the centre. Silver ‘mask-and-foliate’ spandrels flank the chapter ring to the lower corners and quarter silver spandrels to the upper sections. The dial plate is held to the movement front plate by means of three latched feet.
The substantial movement plates have 7 knopped and latched pillars with two trains, each having spring barrels and fusees utilising the original chains. The going train with pivoted verge and crownwheel escapement has Graham’s workshop pallets and a screw-fixed mock-pendulum with a lenticular pendulum to the rear, suspended from the regulation bar over the backplate. The strike train is governed by an internal rack and snail and sounds the hours on the larger of the two original bells. The superbly engraved backplate, by graver 515, has a line border with scrolls and foliage incorporating putti, birds, insects and a basket of plenty surmounted by a resplendent eagle with a serpent. The central oval is signed Geo: Graham London in typical flowing script and stamped 668 twice on either side of the centre of the stepped base. The movement is secured within the case by means of two bolts into the base pillars and two engraved brass movement brackets
1968, 29th April – lot 58, Sir John Prestige Collection, Sotheby’s, London, sold to Garrard for £9,000.
Jeremy Evans, Thomas Tompion at the Dial and Three Crowns, A.H.S., 2006.
The Prestige Graham No.668 Circa 1726
A very fine and original, silver and gilt-brass mounted, ebony striking table clock.
In terms of quality, table clocks by George Graham can be compared directly with those of his former master and, latterly his partner, Thomas Tompion. However, while over 200 examples by Tompion survive, there are only 31 striking, numbered, table clocks by Graham currently recorded.
No. 668 was produced just prior to Graham ceasing to fully engrave his backplates and is a particularly fine example of graver 515’s work. The absence of a repeat system would indicate that this clock was finished to order and, as such, is of considerable rarity – indeed it is the only one recorded and, unless it was to have been used by a bedside, the repeat system would have been largely redundant in any case.
Tompion made his table clocks in three sizes and his case designs have been categorised into three phases – ranging in date from the late 1670s to 1713. This clock is a ‘mid-sized phase 3’ example, the size and phase category which Graham continued after Tompion’s death.