Height

18½ inches.

Case

The brass-bound and ebonised fruitwood veneered case with inverted bell top, surmounted by a heavy brass handle mounted on a brass plate, with an asymmetric shell and foliage cast brass mount to the centre, all flanked by chased brass pineapple finials. The cornice supported by cast brass torso figures with trailing flowers below, mounted to the canted corners. The front door with a brass-bound glazed ogee dial aperture, flanked by pierced engraved sound frets, and a brass escutcheon. The glazed sides with circular apertures above, and conforming rectangular apertures below, all with brass frame mouldings. The glazed back door mirroring the front with canted corners and applied chased floral busts. The moulded plinth, with brass binding to the front, and brass ogee feet.

Dial

The ogee shaped brass dial, with painted automaton scene to the top section depicting a farrier’s workshop with a seated horseman watching three automated farriers making and fitting shoes to his horse. The lower section with chased brass asymmetric floral spandrels to the corners and applied with a silvered brass chapter ring, with Roman hours and Arabic minutes, every five outside the division track. The matted centre with chamfered cut-out for the rear mounted silvered signature plate, engraved Step.n Rimbault, London.

Movement

The rectangular brass plates, held by six baluster pillars, with triple gut fusees and barrels; the going train with knife-edge verge escapement and short bob pendulum, the rod cranked to avoid the adjustable centrally mounted fly; the two strike trains governed by racks, the quarters sounding via a large pinwheel on 14 bells, the hours struck on a separate larger bell. The backplate profusely engraved with scrolls and foliage.

Duration

8 days.

Provenance

Private collection, UK.

Comparative Literature

Barder, The Georgian Bracket Clock 1714-1830, 1993, p.97, pl.IV/17 and p.59-61, pls.II/41-43;

Vehmeyer, Clocks, Their Origin and Development 1320-1880, Vol.II, 2004, p.670-671.

Notes

John Stephen Rimbault (active 1744-1788) was a clockmaker of Huguenot descent, based in Great Andrew’s Street, St Giles. He is particularly noted for his complex, musical or quarter striking, clocks with automaton, as seen here. Interestingly, a number of painted scenes on Rimbault’s clocks of this period can be attributed to the artist Johann Zoffany (1733-1810), whom Rimbault employed as an assistant to paint dials and automaton figures, after his arrival in England in 1761. A portrait of Rimbault pleased the clockmaker so much that he introduced Zoffany to the portrait painter Wilson, who employed him at £40 to fill in draperies, and Zoffany’s talent was subsequently recognised by David Garrick, for whom he painted pictures of actors on stage.