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The Callander Knibb. Circa 1683-85.

The Callander Knibb. Circa 1683-85.

An extremely rare and important Charles II olivewood, walnut, ebony and boxwood parquetry miniature longcase clock with skeleton chapter ring by Joseph Knibb, London.

£295,000


Height

5 foot 6 inches (168 cms).

Case

The case, with an oak carcass, has a walnut-veneered shallow domed top, with five brass finials, over a delicately fretted frieze supported by ebonised Solomonic columns to the front and matching quarter columns to the rear. The trunk, headed by a convex throat moulding, has a long rectangular door veneered with three geometric stylised parquetry flowers in holly and ebony, on an oyster-veneered ground. The plinth has cavetto/ovolo block mouldings above a further conforming geometric stylised parquetry panel to the front, which is raised on ebonised bun feet.

Dial

The 8 inch square gilt-brass dial has four latched dial feet and is signed Joseph Knibb London interrupting the scored line border beneath the silvered skeletonised chapter ring, with an outer ring engraved with every minute and typical fleur-de-lys half-hour markers. The blued steel hands are exquisite with a bold S-curve for the minute hand and multiple delicate C-scrolls for the hour hand. The centre of the dial is delicately and finely matted to the outside of the chapter ring and there is a date aperture directly above chapter VI. The corners are applied with well-chased gilt-brass winged cherub spandrels.

Movement

The 8-day movement has delicate brass plates secured by six latched and finned baluster pillars. The going train has an anchor escapement with bolt-and-shutter maintaining power that is cocked via a large, round-end and tapered iron, hand lever. The striking train has an outside countwheel for hour strike on a ‘pork-pie’ bell above the movement plates. The backplate has a brass L-shaped securing bracket that fixes the movement to a forged iron bracket in the top right corner of the backboard, while the base pillars rest in iron taper pins on the seatboard.

Duration

8 days

Provenance

The Callander Family, Preston Hall, Midlothian, until sold;

Christies, The Exceptional Sale, July 2011, lot 24;

The Keith Roberts collection, inventory no.13.

Comparative Literature

FJ Britten, Old English Clocks, The Wetherfield Collection, 1907;

RW Symonds, The Rare Grandmother Clock, Country Life Annual 1955;

FJ Britten, Old Clocks and Watches and Their Makers, 7th ed, 1956;

RA Lee, The Knibb Family, Clockmakers, 1964;

HA Lloyd, The Collector’s Dictionary of Clocks, 1964;

Dawson, Drover & Parkes, Early English Clocks, 1982;

Dawson, The Iden Clock Collection, 1987;

J Darken (ed.), Horological Masterworks, 2003.

Literature

Exceptional English Clockwork, The Keith Roberts Collection, 2015, p. 336-339;

Garnier & Hollis, Innovation & Collaboration, 2018, p. 110-119.

Exhibited

London 2018, Innovation & Collaboration, exhibit no. 101.

This superb miniature 8-day longcase clock by Joseph Knibb has exceptional provenance and is one of only three currently recorded. While being typical of work produced at the height of his success, it also epitomises Joseph Knibb’s renowned eye for proportion, gracefulness and elegance, scaled down to a miniature format. The clock is said to have remained in situ at Preston Hall for over two hundred years, and perhaps because of this, the case is remarkably complete and in original condition with an unaltered rising hood, even retaining its original spoon catch.

Joseph Knibb’s Series of Miniature Longcase clocks

Miniature longcase clocks are exceedingly rare, none more so than those dating from the late 17th century. Including the present clock, there are just three authenticated examples recorded, listed here in probable date order:

  1. Miniature longcase clock in an ebony case, 5 foot 4 inches (162.5 cm);
  2. Miniature longcase clock in an olivewood stylised parquetry case (the present clock), 5 foot 6 inches (168 cm);
  3. Miniature longcase clock in an olivewood and floral marquetry case, 5 foot 5½ inches (166.5 cm).

The shallow-domed caddy tops to the hoods of all three clocks show a strong family resemblance, and each one has an 8-inch square dial in keeping with their small size. The other two examples have standard chapter rings with wheat-ear engraved borders, whilst the present example has a sophisticated skeletonised chapter ring, complemented by a simple scored line border. The floral marquetry Knibb has a seconds ring as well as a date aperture and is signed, as is the present clock, Joseph Knibb London; the ebony clock simply has a date aperture, and is signed Joseph Knibb Londini Fecit.

The stylised flowers in the parquetry design seen on this clock can also be found on two other full-sized Knibb longcase clocks originally illustrated by FJ Britten, Old English Clocks, The Wetherfield Collection, 1907: John Knibb, Oxon illustrated on page 24, fig. 26; and Joseph Knibb, London illustrated on page 27, fig. 28.

Contact us about this item

Product Description

This superb miniature 8-day longcase clock by Joseph Knibb has exceptional provenance and is one of only three currently recorded. While being typical of work produced at the height of his success, it also epitomises Joseph Knibb’s renowned eye for proportion, gracefulness and elegance, scaled down to a miniature format. The clock is said to have remained in situ at Preston Hall for over two hundred years, and perhaps because of this, the case is remarkably complete and in original condition with an unaltered rising hood, even retaining its original spoon catch.

Joseph Knibb’s Series of Miniature Longcase clocks

Miniature longcase clocks are exceedingly rare, none more so than those dating from the late 17th century. Including the present clock, there are just three authenticated examples recorded, listed here in probable date order:

  1. Miniature longcase clock in an ebony case, 5 foot 4 inches (162.5 cm);
  2. Miniature longcase clock in an olivewood stylised parquetry case (the present clock), 5 foot 6 inches (168 cm);
  3. Miniature longcase clock in an olivewood and floral marquetry case, 5 foot 5½ inches (166.5 cm).

The shallow-domed caddy tops to the hoods of all three clocks show a strong family resemblance, and each one has an 8-inch square dial in keeping with their small size. The other two examples have standard chapter rings with wheat-ear engraved borders, whilst the present example has a sophisticated skeletonised chapter ring, complemented by a simple scored line border. The floral marquetry Knibb has a seconds ring as well as a date aperture and is signed, as is the present clock, Joseph Knibb London; the ebony clock simply has a date aperture, and is signed Joseph Knibb Londini Fecit.

The stylised flowers in the parquetry design seen on this clock can also be found on two other full-sized Knibb longcase clocks originally illustrated by FJ Britten, Old English Clocks, The Wetherfield Collection, 1907: John Knibb, Oxon illustrated on page 24, fig. 26; and Joseph Knibb, London illustrated on page 27, fig. 28.

Additional information

Dimensions 5827373 cm