Height

32 inches

Case

Turtle-shell veneered breakarch case, topped by a figure of Apollo over a satyr mask with pierced gilt foliate drape beneath, flanked by four multi-piece urn finials above a foliate frieze with cherubs interrupted at the front by the gilt-brass breakarch, sides with pierced gilt foliate panels, the chamfered angles with caryatid brackets and acanthus corner volutes beneath, the gilt-brass moulded base on chased gilt-brass scroll feet.

Dial

7¾ by 11½ inch breakarch dial signed Tho Tompion London on a plaque covering THO TOMPION + [EDW BANGER] LONDINI FECIT, with engraved, gilt matted centre with mock pendulum aperture, double-screwed Minerva mask & foliage spandrels, standard silvered chapter-ring with silvered subsidiary dials, the left for pendulum regulation, the right engraved Son 6/Sil 6 Son 1/Sil 1. Sectoral apertures in the arch for weekday with appropriate deity and the date of the month.

Movement

Triple fusee latched seven-pillar movement with 8 by 9½ inch plates, pivoted verge escapement with pendulum suspended from brass regulation bar, quarters striking on one or six bells, hours on another bell. Trip quarter repeat via blued-steel double-cocked interconnecting levers on the profusely foliate engraved backplate signed THO TOMPION + EDW BANGER LONDINI FECIT in an octagon (G.195) and punch-numbered 417.

Duration

8 days.

Provenance

Queen Anne;
George I, then given to his mistress, Ehrengard von der Schulenburg; left on her death in 1743 to their natural daughter, Petronella, wife of the famed 4th Earl of Chesterfield, and at her death in 1778 specifically left to her cousin, Reichsgraf Jebhard von der Schulenburg, of Wolfsburg at which time its scroll feet may have been added;
Thence by family descent at Schloss Wolfsburg and sold Sotheby’s, London, 19th June 2003, lot 41;
The Tom Scott Collection.

Literature

Evans, Carter & Wright, Thomas Tompion 300 Years, 2013, p. 404;
Garnier & Carter, The Golden Age of English Horology, 2015, pp. 94-99.

Notes

This is the second of the series of four turtle-shell grande sonnerie spring clocks, the frontplate scribed by Bullock (journeyman to George Graham) in the 1740s, presumably on cleaning it following Lady Chesterfield’s inheritance.

Nothing certain is known of the precise reason for the dismissal of Banger but Jeremy Evans in his research on Tompion discovered a contemporary reference to Banger that he interpreted as indicating Banger had seduced and made Graham’s wife pregnant. Both Banger and Graham were married to Tompion’s nieces, so protection of their virtue would have been natural for him. If Evans is correct in his interpretation, that was clearly a step too far for Tompion to tolerate, leading to not only Banger’s dismissal but also the physical excision of Banger’s name from the joint signature on this clock and a few others.