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The Bradby Tompion, No.391. Circa 1703.

The Bradby Tompion, No.391. Circa 1703.

An exceptional Queen Anne, ebony and gilt-brass mounted mid-sized Phase 2 striking table clock with pull-quarter repeat by Thomas Tompion, London.

£375,000


Height

12 1⁄4 inches (312 mm).

Case

The well-proportioned mid-sized ebony veneered Phase 2 case has the original gilt-brass foliate-tied handle, specific to Tompion’s mid- size series, that surmounts the cushion-moulded top. The sides of the case have later gilt-brass foliate frets above glazed apertures with a glazed door to the rear. The front door is applied with gilt foliate cartouche escutcheons to the sides whilst the bottom rail has a typical satyr mask and foliate mount. The seatboard is punched numbered 577, indicating an exchange or repair in George Graham’s workshop ledger, circa 1716. The whole case is raised on conforming ebony base mouldings and block feet.

Dial

The 5 3⁄4 by 6 3⁄4 inch brass Phase 2 dial has retained the original fire-gilding on the front, it is signed Tho: Tompion LONDINI Fecit within a wheatear oval, executed by Graver 195, and flanked by subsidiary silvered rings for strike/silent and pendulum regulation. The main silvered chapter ring has Roman hours with typical sword-hilt half-hour markers, while the Arabic minutes have cross half-quarter markers outside their division ring, both indicated by delicately pierced blued steel hands. The finely matted centre has a mock pendulum and pinhole-adjusted calendar apertures, the lower double-screwed spandrels are finely cast ornate foliage, the upper spandrels are matching quarter versions. The dial is fixed to the frontplate by three latched dial feet.

Movement

The substantial mid-size movement is fixed by seven finned baluster pillars, all latched, with twin fusees and spring barrels. The going train has a pivoted verge escapement with brass rod lenticular pendulum, spring-suspended from the regulation bar atop the plates with pinion adjustment through the dial. The striking train strikes the hours on the larger bell and the quarter repeat operates on Tompion’s own fail-safe-system with double-cocked interlocking blued steel levers that may be pulled from either side of the case. The backplate was executed by Graver 195 and is profusely engraved with scrolls and foliage within a scored line border and signed in the lower centre Tho: Tompion Londini Fecit within a cartouche and punch-numbered 391 at the base. The movement is secured within the case by means of two steel bolts into the base pillars.

Duration

8 days

Provenance

Bishop Richard Pococke (1704-1765), purchased secondhand, possibly from Graham, thence by female descent to the Bradby family;

Rev. Dr. Bradby c.1890, thence still by family descent until sold, Sotheby’s 22nd February 1990, lot 316 (£176,250);

The Tom Scott Collection, inventory no.85, until sold 2015;

Private collection UK.

Literature

Entry in D Desbois & Sons ledger, 18 Feb 1891: Rev Dr. Bradby of St. Katherine’s Dock House [London, LMA, GB 0074 CLC/B/064];

Evans, Carter & Wright, Thomas Tompion 300 years, 2013, illust. p.154, 185;

Garnier & Carter, The Golden Age of English Horology, 2015, p.90-93.

When this small and beautifully proportioned example sold at Sotheby’s in 1990, it made an auction record for a mid-sized Tompion table clock, £176,250, while the following lot in the same sale was a good standard-sized Tompion table clock, no.394, that sold for almost a third less, £121,000.

Bishop Richard Pococke (1704–1765)

Pococke was an English-born Irish churchman, inveterate traveller, antiquary and travel writer. He was born in Southampton, son of Richard Pococke, rector of Colmer, Hampshire, and his wife Elizabeth, the only daughter of another clergyman, Isaac Milles (1638–1720). Elizabeth Milles’s three brothers obtained lucrative church appointments, two of them in Ireland, Thomas as Bishop of Waterford (1708–40) and Isaac was treasurer of Waterford and prebendary of Mondelligo (1714–27). On his father’s death in 1710, the Pococke family moved to Isaac Milles’s rectory at Highclere, Hampshire. The Milles influence, upbringing and connections gave the motive and means for an ecclesiastical career. Having been taught at the school conducted by his grandfather, he entered Corpus Christi College, Oxford, on an exhibition (1722), graduating BA (1725), MA (1731) and Doctor of Laws (1733). When he was ordained has not been ascertained, but he was appointed to the precentorship of Lismore, a sinecure, in 1725 by his bishop-uncle and was thus set on a career in Ireland. Five more sinecures in the same diocese followed (1729–32), and most of these he held for many years.

Between 1733 and 1736 he undertook two Grand Tours with his cousin, the Rev. Jeremiah Milles (1714– 1784), treasurer of Lismore (1729–32), travelling through France, the Low Countries, Hanover, Prussia, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, and, even more adventurously, Greece. Detailed accounts of his travels survive in a collection of letters written to his mother and uncle, Bishop Milles, as well as in a number of notebooks in the British Library (Add. Ms. 19939, 15779, 22998, etc.). The earlier manuscripts include probably the most detailed description of Venice’s Marriage to the Sea ceremony as well as precious information on contemporary music, especially opera. Meanwhile, in 1734, he had been made vicar-general of Waterford and Lismore. By 1737 Jeremiah Milles had been recalled by their mutual uncle, the Bishop of Waterford & Lismore, leaving Pococke to continue his major excursion to the Middle East alone.

From 1737 to 1741 he explored Egypt, Palestine and Asia Minor, returning to Egypt to go up the Nile as far as Aswan before revisiting Greece and, on his way home, penetrating the Mer de Glace in the Savoy; he was thus also considered one of the first Alpine travellers. After these travels he joined the Egyptian Society (founded 1741) and acted as its secretary (1742-3). The account Pococke published of his eastern travels, A description of the East (2 vols, 1743-45), was translated into French, German and Dutch, establishing him as a pioneer Egyptologist. It remains an important record of sites and monuments that had disappeared by 1798, when Napoleon Bonaparte’s invasion opened up Egypt to European scholars. Among other things, he was one of the European travellers to give an account of the origins of the medieval Arabic document, the Ashtiname of Muhammad, which claims that Muhammad had personally confirmed a grant of protection and other privileges to the monks of Saint Catherine’s Monastery at Sinai, in Egypt.

Each year, after returning from the east, Pococke toured a part of Britain or Ireland and wrote a regular account of his travels in the form of letters to his mother or sister, most of which have been published since his death. His visits to England and Wales took him into every county (see his visit to Eywood House, Herefordshire, under The Eywood Tompion, no.323). His first tour of Scotland in 1747 was only a year after Culloden, while on his second in 1750 he saw the Border Country, his third tour in 1760 was more extensive and his itinerary took him in a clockwise circuit round most of Scotland, including Loch Lomond, Iona, Fort William, Inverness, the North West, Orkney, the North East, Perth, Fife and Edinburgh, finishing at Berwick on Tweed. His travels and observations were recorded in a series of letters and sketches to his mother and sister, these were published for the first time by the Scottish History Society in 1887. Pococke’s narratives of his Irish travels survive for 1752 (a tour of the coastal counties) and 1758 (Cork and Kerry), as do accounts of short journeys made in 1753 and 1750, while an earlier tour of Ireland in 1749 is lost. His narratives of his travels are interesting for his disregard of accepted itineraries and they contain much on antiquities and local customs.

Richard Pococke was elected FRS in 1741, which would have introduced him to George Graham FRS (1673-1752), who it seems likely supplied him with the current clock: the re-sale of goods was an important part of Graham’s business, and the secondary stamp on the seatboard, 577, indicates this clock had initially returned to Graham as early as c.1716. Pococke was an active member of the Physico-Historical Society, founded in Dublin in 1744, and is mentioned in the charter of the Dublin Society granted in 1750. It was Pococke’s ecclesiastical career that gave him means and leisure to travel. He was appointed to what was probably another sinecure, the precentorship of Waterford, in 1744 and, after arriving in Ireland as lord lieutenant, the Earl of Chesterfield, appointed him Archdeacon of Dublin (1746), while a successor, the 4th Duke of Devonshire, nominated him Bishop of Ossory (5 March 1756). Despite long absences, which were commonplace in the 18th century, Pococke was a conscientious and industrious clergyman. While at Kilkenny (1756–65) he restored St Canice’s Cathedral, partly at his own expense. After his appointment as Bishop of Meath (22 June 1765) he moved to the episcopal palace at Ardbraccan, in the grounds of which he planted seeds of cedars of Lebanon, one of which is still standing. Three months later, on 15 September 1765, Pococke died of apoplexy during a pastoral visitation to Charleville Castle and he was buried at Ardbraccan, County Meath, Ireland.

Bishop Pococke was the only Bishop of the Church of England, since the Revolution, that preached and confirmed in Scotland when Episcopacy was there abolished. For in the summer of 1760, this prelate made a journey from Ireland to the north parts of it [Scotland]... He preached and confirmed in the English Church in Elgin, and continued to do so in every other of that persuasion which he had occasion to be near, greatly regarded and esteemed by all ranks and degrees of people. The Cambridge Chronicle, 5 October, 1765.

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Product Description

When this small and beautifully proportioned example sold at Sotheby’s in 1990, it made an auction record for a mid-sized Tompion table clock, £176,250, while the following lot in the same sale was a good standard-sized Tompion table clock, no.394, that sold for almost a third less, £121,000.

Bishop Richard Pococke (1704–1765)

Pococke was an English-born Irish churchman, inveterate traveller, antiquary and travel writer. He was born in Southampton, son of Richard Pococke, rector of Colmer, Hampshire, and his wife Elizabeth, the only daughter of another clergyman, Isaac Milles (1638–1720). Elizabeth Milles’s three brothers obtained lucrative church appointments, two of them in Ireland, Thomas as Bishop of Waterford (1708–40) and Isaac was treasurer of Waterford and prebendary of Mondelligo (1714–27). On his father’s death in 1710, the Pococke family moved to Isaac Milles’s rectory at Highclere, Hampshire. The Milles influence, upbringing and connections gave the motive and means for an ecclesiastical career. Having been taught at the school conducted by his grandfather, he entered Corpus Christi College, Oxford, on an exhibition (1722), graduating BA (1725), MA (1731) and Doctor of Laws (1733). When he was ordained has not been ascertained, but he was appointed to the precentorship of Lismore, a sinecure, in 1725 by his bishop-uncle and was thus set on a career in Ireland. Five more sinecures in the same diocese followed (1729–32), and most of these he held for many years.

Between 1733 and 1736 he undertook two Grand Tours with his cousin, the Rev. Jeremiah Milles (1714– 1784), treasurer of Lismore (1729–32), travelling through France, the Low Countries, Hanover, Prussia, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, and, even more adventurously, Greece. Detailed accounts of his travels survive in a collection of letters written to his mother and uncle, Bishop Milles, as well as in a number of notebooks in the British Library (Add. Ms. 19939, 15779, 22998, etc.). The earlier manuscripts include probably the most detailed description of Venice’s Marriage to the Sea ceremony as well as precious information on contemporary music, especially opera. Meanwhile, in 1734, he had been made vicar-general of Waterford and Lismore. By 1737 Jeremiah Milles had been recalled by their mutual uncle, the Bishop of Waterford & Lismore, leaving Pococke to continue his major excursion to the Middle East alone.

From 1737 to 1741 he explored Egypt, Palestine and Asia Minor, returning to Egypt to go up the Nile as far as Aswan before revisiting Greece and, on his way home, penetrating the Mer de Glace in the Savoy; he was thus also considered one of the first Alpine travellers. After these travels he joined the Egyptian Society (founded 1741) and acted as its secretary (1742-3). The account Pococke published of his eastern travels, A description of the East (2 vols, 1743-45), was translated into French, German and Dutch, establishing him as a pioneer Egyptologist. It remains an important record of sites and monuments that had disappeared by 1798, when Napoleon Bonaparte’s invasion opened up Egypt to European scholars. Among other things, he was one of the European travellers to give an account of the origins of the medieval Arabic document, the Ashtiname of Muhammad, which claims that Muhammad had personally confirmed a grant of protection and other privileges to the monks of Saint Catherine’s Monastery at Sinai, in Egypt.

Each year, after returning from the east, Pococke toured a part of Britain or Ireland and wrote a regular account of his travels in the form of letters to his mother or sister, most of which have been published since his death. His visits to England and Wales took him into every county (see his visit to Eywood House, Herefordshire, under The Eywood Tompion, no.323). His first tour of Scotland in 1747 was only a year after Culloden, while on his second in 1750 he saw the Border Country, his third tour in 1760 was more extensive and his itinerary took him in a clockwise circuit round most of Scotland, including Loch Lomond, Iona, Fort William, Inverness, the North West, Orkney, the North East, Perth, Fife and Edinburgh, finishing at Berwick on Tweed. His travels and observations were recorded in a series of letters and sketches to his mother and sister, these were published for the first time by the Scottish History Society in 1887. Pococke’s narratives of his Irish travels survive for 1752 (a tour of the coastal counties) and 1758 (Cork and Kerry), as do accounts of short journeys made in 1753 and 1750, while an earlier tour of Ireland in 1749 is lost. His narratives of his travels are interesting for his disregard of accepted itineraries and they contain much on antiquities and local customs.

Richard Pococke was elected FRS in 1741, which would have introduced him to George Graham FRS (1673-1752), who it seems likely supplied him with the current clock: the re-sale of goods was an important part of Graham’s business, and the secondary stamp on the seatboard, 577, indicates this clock had initially returned to Graham as early as c.1716. Pococke was an active member of the Physico-Historical Society, founded in Dublin in 1744, and is mentioned in the charter of the Dublin Society granted in 1750. It was Pococke’s ecclesiastical career that gave him means and leisure to travel. He was appointed to what was probably another sinecure, the precentorship of Waterford, in 1744 and, after arriving in Ireland as lord lieutenant, the Earl of Chesterfield, appointed him Archdeacon of Dublin (1746), while a successor, the 4th Duke of Devonshire, nominated him Bishop of Ossory (5 March 1756). Despite long absences, which were commonplace in the 18th century, Pococke was a conscientious and industrious clergyman. While at Kilkenny (1756–65) he restored St Canice’s Cathedral, partly at his own expense. After his appointment as Bishop of Meath (22 June 1765) he moved to the episcopal palace at Ardbraccan, in the grounds of which he planted seeds of cedars of Lebanon, one of which is still standing. Three months later, on 15 September 1765, Pococke died of apoplexy during a pastoral visitation to Charleville Castle and he was buried at Ardbraccan, County Meath, Ireland.

Bishop Pococke was the only Bishop of the Church of England, since the Revolution, that preached and confirmed in Scotland when Episcopacy was there abolished. For in the summer of 1760, this prelate made a journey from Ireland to the north parts of it [Scotland]... He preached and confirmed in the English Church in Elgin, and continued to do so in every other of that persuasion which he had occasion to be near, greatly regarded and esteemed by all ranks and degrees of people. The Cambridge Chronicle, 5 October, 1765.

Additional information

Dimensions 5827373 cm