Height

10¼ inches.

Case

Ebony veneers and mouldings, thistle bud scroll handle. Glazed sides, gilt-brass foliate scroll sound frets, bellflower escutcheons, numbered 285 on front door sill.

Dial

4½ x 5¾ inch gilt-brass latched dial, signed Tho Tompion Londini Fecit in a palmate cartouche above the chapter ring flanked by strike/silent and pendulum regulation rings, double-screwed ornate cherub’s head spandrels, mock pendulum to matted centre.

Movement

7 latched baluster pillars, twin chain fusees, pivoted verge escapement, hour striking, with quarter repeating via single-cocked interlocking blued-steel levers. Foliate engraved back plate (G.195) signed Tho Tompion LONDINI Fecit in a foliate oval cartouche and numbered 285 at base.

Duration

8 days.

Provenance

Purchased by S.E. Prestige circa 1914 from English furniture dealer Sidney Letts;

Sold by order of the executors of the late Mrs S. E. Prestige, Sotheby’s, London, 29 April 1968, lot 62 (The Prestige Collection of Clocks & Watches);

Private collection UK; Squadron Leader Pat Womersley, DFC;

The Richard Thompson Collection.

Literature

W. Symonds, Thomas Tompion, his life and work, 1951, illustrated on p. 151, fig. 126;

Evans, Carter & Wright, Thomas Tompion 300 Years, 2013, pp. 348-9.

Notes

Miniature striking table clocks by Thomas Tompion are among the most rare of his work with only nine being recorded.

These nine recorded clocks were made, starting from 1693, over a period of some 17 years, with the last one completed circa 1710. The earliest numbered striking miniature to this Phase 2 design is number 215 which, unusually, was not fitted with Tompion’s repeating system.

Every element of making these small clocks was scaled down with new mount patterns being made, including the thistle bud scroll handle which was only used on this size of case. The 1690s were a particularly busy and vibrant period for Tompion having upgraded his designs of domestic clocks, and with several Royal commissions, most notably the Mostyn Tompion, a grand year duration spring table clock designed for William III.

Tompion Miniature Ebony Striking Table Clocks

  1. No. 215 – Private collection UK
  2. No. 225 – Private collection UK
  3. No. 226 – Private collection UK
  4. No. 270 – Private collection UK
  5. No. 271 – Private collection UK
  6. No. 285 – Richard Thompson Collection UK
  7. No. 414 – Private collection UK
  8. No. 457 – Private collection UK
  9. No. 460 – British Museum

Number 285 was purchased by G.H Bell in 1968 for the princely sum of £15,500, then an auction record, on behalf of Squadron Leader Pat Womersley, a doting groom, as a joint wedding gift for himself and his bride, remaining in their collection until 2012 then sold to the current owner.

Patrick Womersley joined 609 (West Riding) Squadron AAF on 29 March 1939 as an Acting Pilot Officer. He was later posted to 59 Squadron, flying numerous sorties over France and the Low Countries gaining his first DFC for his actions.

In 1943 he was posted to 18 Squadron flying the Douglas Boston, a twin-engined light attack and bomber aircraft. He saw much action in Italy until the end of the war.

Post-war he returned to the now reformed 609 Squadron at RAF Yeadon on 1 August 1946, as Squadron Leader. Initially flying De Havilland Mosquito NF32s and then Spitfire Mk 16s, he served as the Officer Commanding until 3 October 1949.