Height

7 foot 1 inch.

Case

The case with burr walnut veneers on an oak carcass, transitional rising hood with opening door and an iron interlocking peg preventing the hood from being lifted with the door closed. Brass-capped Doric columns, gilt-brass fruit swag to the top rail, caddy top surmounted by five brass ball finials. With convex throat moulding above the rectangular trunk door, punch-numbered 131 twice along the top and leading edge, ogee plinth moulding above the cross banded panels with a plain skirting.

Dial

11 inch square gilt-brass dial with four latched dial feet, finely matted centre with seconds ring, date aperture and three shuttered winding holes, cherub-and-foliage spandrels, silvered chapter-ring with sword-hilt half-hour marks and blued-steel hands with a line border and scroll and foliate engraving (Tulip graver) between, signed Tho=Tompion Londini Fecit at the base, Strike/Not strike lever above XII

Movement

Large three-train movement, 7 by 8⅜ inch plates with six latched baluster pillars, going train with anchor escapement, bolt-and-shutter maintaining power through the seatboard, brass-rod pendulum with calibrated rating nut, rack-and-snail strike, sounding the hours on the larger bell, the quarters on three smaller graduated bells, punch-numbered 131 at the base of the backplate.

Duration

8 days.

Provenance

FH Green, before 1928, to 1933;

Arthur Vernay, New York, c. 1950;

Private collection, New York, and sold Sotheby’s, London, 28th June, 1974 lot 165 (£30,000, a record price for a Tompion);

Time Museum Collection, Rockford, Illinois, inv. no. 1101;

Sold Sotheby’s, New York, 13th October, 2004, lot 533 ($680,000);

The Tom Scott Collection;

The Chelworth House Collection.

Literature

FH Green, ‘Three Clocks by Tompion’, Old Furniture Magazine, vol 5, 1928, pp.231-4;

FH Green, Old English Clocks, 1931, p.35, pl. XV-XVI;

RW Symonds, Thomas Tompion, 1951, fig. 55 & 88;

J Winterton, English Grande Sonnerie Clocks, 1992;

Evans, Carter & Wright, Thomas Tompion 300 Years, pp.488-91;

Garnier & Carter, The Golden Age of English Horology, 2015, pp.66-71.

Exhibited

London, Royal Exchange, A Loan Exhibition of Old English Clocks entirely the work of and signed by Tho. Tompion (1638-1713), 1933, cat. no. 8.

Notes

The present clock is the earliest of Tompion’s three-train full grande sonnerie movements, whether spring clocks or longcase clocks, allowing the suggestion that 131 was a royal commission along with documented spring clock no. 133. No. 131 is one of only three extant grande sonnerie longcases by Tompion (the others being nos. 275 and 387) and is also the earliest numbered Type 2 longcase, and the first with an 11 inch dial, all bespeaking the level of attention to new features that might be paid to a royal commission.