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The Howard Graham, No.643. Circa 1723.

The Howard Graham, No.643. Circa 1723.

A very fine George I ebony veneered and silver-mounted Phase 3 striking and pull-quarter repeating table clock.

£135,000


Height

13¼ inches (336 mm).

Case

The archetypal Graham mid-sized Phase 3 case, with ebony mouldings and veneers onto an oak carcass. The inverted bell top surmounted by Tompion’s ‘mid-size’ gilt foliate-tied handle with rosette terminals. The front door has Tompion’s gilt ‘scroll’ escutcheons and the top rail of the door is inset with a finely pierced sound fret and the door glazing is framed by delicate ebony mouldings with matching mouldings to the break-arch side apertures, as well as framing the rear door. The base resting on ebony moulded block feet.

Dial

The Phase 2 fire-gilded, 5½ by 6½ inch brass dial is signed at the top, Geo: Graham London, and flanked by subsidiary dials for strike/silent and pendulum regulation. The silvered chapter ring has Roman hours with ‘lozenge’ half-hour markers and Arabic minutes outside the division ring. The lower double-screwed ‘foliate-and-scroll’ spandrels are cast and chased in solid silver, the upper spandrels are matching quarter versions, also in solid silver. The finely matted centre has a chamfered D-ended aperture for the mock pendulum and a pin-adjusted calendar aperture, with fine quality pierced and shaped blued steel hands, all held to the frontplate by three latched dial feet.

Movement

The substantial movement has seven knopped and latched pillars with twin spring barrels and fusees. The going train with restored verge and crown wheel escapement and typical mock pendulum with a lenticular bob suspended on the regulation bar. The strike train is governed by an internal rack and snail sounding the hours on the larger bell, the restored pull-quarter repeat system is of Tompion/Graham’s ‘all-or-nothing type’ with original interlocking double-cocked blued steel levers on the backplate, which is superbly engraved by Graver 515. Profusely decorated with birds, scrolls and flowers with a central basket, above the elaborate oval cartouche  signed Geo Graham London, and flanked by trumpeting winged cherub’s with further scrollwork below, and stamped 643 to the centre of the stepped base. Fixed to the case with two steel brackets and two screws into the lower pillars.

Noteworthy here, is Graham’s continued use of stepped plates, whereby the bottom edges were recessed to form, in effect, four feet. This would have kept the movement steady if the wooden seatboard bowed, a feature first introduced by Tompion from c.1704.

Duration

8 days

Provenance

Possibly purchased second hand by John Lloyd FRS (1749-1815) of Wigfair and Hafodunos, by descent to his unmarried sisters, who in turn may have bequeathed it to their niece;

Dorethea Catherine Howard (née Clough, d.1872), thence by descent to her son;

Rev. Richard Henry Howard of Wigfair Hall, St Asaph, Denbighshire, thence by descent to his son;

Col. Henry Richard Lloyd Howard (1853-1922), thence to his daughter;

Lady Gwladys (d.1965), wife of Lord Lloyd Tyrell-Kenyon, 4th Baron Kenyon, KCVO, TD (1864 –1927), remaining with the family until sold, Bonhams 2017;

Private collection UK.

Tompion made his table clocks in three sizes; miniature, mid-sized and standard, while his case designs have been categorised into phases 1, 2 & 3 – ranging in date from the late 1670s to 1713. This example is a ‘mid-sized phase 3’ case, the size and phase category which Graham continued after Tompion’s death, and all of his scarce wooden cased striking and repeating table clocks are of this type.

While Graham’s dial layout is of fully-developed Phase 2 format, first introduced by Tompion c.1691, noteworthy is Graham’s use of spandrels in solid silver, which Tompion reserved for his few silver-mounted table clocks, that all have a definite, or presumed, royal provenance. Meanwhile, the use of a calendar also became a rarity on Tompion’s standard later table clocks, and this solid disc format was originally laid out for his mid-sized table clocks.

Graver 515 continued to work for Graham until the 1740s, and his quality was outstanding. His subject matter was more extensive than Tompion’s earlier engravers and included eagles and snakes, winged cherubs, trophies, birds, vases and bowls containing fruit or flowers, and insects. However, by the late 1720s, Graham had moved to using plain backplates with a signature only.

The Howards and Lloyds of Wigfair, Denbighshire

By family tradition Graham no.643 can be traced back to Wigfair Hall, near St Asaph, Denbighshire. The current Victorian house was a lavish commission, elaborately-detailed inside and out, and was conceived in ‘Tudorbethan’ red brick style. It was designed by the Chester architect, John Douglas (1830-1911) and built for Rev. Richard Henry Howard between 1882-84. The house is centred by a large, pyramid-roofed ‘feudal’ tower, designed to hold vast water tanks that served as the original electricity generating system. Its tanks, pipework and associated generator and battery houses survive intact, and with the exception of an early addition of a service block later in the 19th century, the house remains practically unaltered and is consequently listed Grade II.

The Graham clock then passed to his son, Col. Henry Richard Lloyd Howard CB of Wigfair (1853-1922), who was commissioned into the 16th (Queen’s Royal) Lancers and, as Captain, served in the Zulu wars of 1879, receiving the South African Campaign Medal with Clasp. An old note from Chas. Frodsham & Sons, was found in the clock giving regulation instructions, indicating it was in London at some stage for repairs, however a clue to its possible background prior to the Howards, might be suggested by the Colonel Howard’s middle name, Lloyd. Wigfair, formerly known as Wickwer, is an ancient site and was the seat of the Lloyd family, who lay claim to being one of the ‘Fifteen Tribes’ of North Wales. The present house replaced an original sub-medieval hall that had been in the Lloyd family’s possession since at least the 16th century, and the Rev. Richard Henry Howard’s mother, Dorethea Catherine Howard (née Clough), was the owner of Wigfair and had left it to him when she died in 1872. Dorothea herself had come by the Wigfair estate (via maiden aunts) from her great uncle, John Lloyd FRS (1749-1815), who had renowned scientific interests and after whom her grandson Colonel Howard was named.

John Lloyd FRS (1749-1815) of Wigfair and Hafodunos, was a Welsh speaking landowner who was conversant with every branch of natural science and dubbed ‘The Philosopher’ by his friends. He was admitted to the Middle Temple in 1770 and, after a tour of the Continent, was called to the bar 1781, then practising on the Northern and Chester circuits and becoming Bencher of his Inn in 1811. Lloyd was one of the politest gentlemen in Wales and according to Mrs Thrale extremely agreeable, gentlemanlike in carriage, polished in talk, and has a mind so completely stored – I consider his acquaintance as a treasure (Broadley, Doctor Johnson and Mrs. Thrale, 1910). Lloyd was also a sometime politician, and it was under peculiar circumstances that he represented Flintshire for two years. He was put up at the by-election of 1796, when there was opposition to the return of Sir Thomas Mostyn, who was still a minor when his father died in that office. The allegation, freely made at the time, was that Lloyd was being sponsored by the Mostyn family (longtime owners of two royal clocks by Graham’s partner, Tompion) as their friend and stopgap, which seems to have been warranted as, although Lloyd went through the process of unseating Mostyn on petition, he resigned his seat in Mostyn’s favour in 1799, pleading ‘indisposition’.

However, it is for his scientific curiosity and collecting that John Lloyd is chiefly renowned. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1774, as well as holding fellowships of the Society of Antiquaries (FSA) and the Linnean Society (FLS). He had a wide range of interests, and corresponded with the leading scholars of the day, including Sir Joseph Banks (PRS); the astronomers Herschel and Maskelyne; the engineer John Rennie; the antiquaries Daniel Lysons, Thomas Pennant, Philip Yorke, and Daines Barrington; and the close friend of Samuel Johnson, Hester Lynch Piozzi (Mrs Thrale). He amassed a library of more than 10,000 volumes (books, manuscripts and maps) and a large collection of scientific apparatus, including clocks.

John Lloyd died at Wigfair on 24 April 1815, leaving his estates to his sisters and his nephew Thomas Hugh Clough, who subsequently sold Hafodunos in 1830. However, Wigfair was left to his two unmarried sisters, who in turn bequeathed it to their niece Dorethea Catherine Howard (née Clough), the mother of Rev. Richard Henry Howard, who tore down the old house and rebuilt Wigfair Hall in 1880s.

John Lloyd’s collections were sold by John Broster of Chester in January 1816, taking nearly a fortnight, and the catalogue survives: Bibliotheca Llwydiana. A catalogue of the entire library and philosophical apparatus, late the property of John Lloyd which will be sold by auction. The scientific section lists nine clocks, three being domestic longcases and the rest of a scientific bent; namely regulators and observatory timers, three of which were by the famous Fleet Street maker of the period, John Holmes. There is little doubt that John Lloyd would have been fully conversant with George Graham’s clocks and instruments, as well as his scientific reputation, through the Royal Society. Lloyd’s scientific curiosity and collecting habits testify to him being just the kind of character who would have wanted, and appreciated, a rare clock by Graham. It is quite conceivable that his spinster sisters, who clearly had no particular interest in precision timepieces, may have wanted to retain a number of domestic clocks for continued to use at Wigfair, and perhaps this small and particularly attractive table clock by George Graham, no.643, was one of those?

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Product Description

Tompion made his table clocks in three sizes; miniature, mid-sized and standard, while his case designs have been categorised into phases 1, 2 & 3 – ranging in date from the late 1670s to 1713. This example is a ‘mid-sized phase 3’ case, the size and phase category which Graham continued after Tompion’s death, and all of his scarce wooden cased striking and repeating table clocks are of this type.

While Graham’s dial layout is of fully-developed Phase 2 format, first introduced by Tompion c.1691, noteworthy is Graham’s use of spandrels in solid silver, which Tompion reserved for his few silver-mounted table clocks, that all have a definite, or presumed, royal provenance. Meanwhile, the use of a calendar also became a rarity on Tompion’s standard later table clocks, and this solid disc format was originally laid out for his mid-sized table clocks.

Graver 515 continued to work for Graham until the 1740s, and his quality was outstanding. His subject matter was more extensive than Tompion’s earlier engravers and included eagles and snakes, winged cherubs, trophies, birds, vases and bowls containing fruit or flowers, and insects. However, by the late 1720s, Graham had moved to using plain backplates with a signature only.

The Howards and Lloyds of Wigfair, Denbighshire

By family tradition Graham no.643 can be traced back to Wigfair Hall, near St Asaph, Denbighshire. The current Victorian house was a lavish commission, elaborately-detailed inside and out, and was conceived in ‘Tudorbethan’ red brick style. It was designed by the Chester architect, John Douglas (1830-1911) and built for Rev. Richard Henry Howard between 1882-84. The house is centred by a large, pyramid-roofed ‘feudal’ tower, designed to hold vast water tanks that served as the original electricity generating system. Its tanks, pipework and associated generator and battery houses survive intact, and with the exception of an early addition of a service block later in the 19th century, the house remains practically unaltered and is consequently listed Grade II.

The Graham clock then passed to his son, Col. Henry Richard Lloyd Howard CB of Wigfair (1853-1922), who was commissioned into the 16th (Queen’s Royal) Lancers and, as Captain, served in the Zulu wars of 1879, receiving the South African Campaign Medal with Clasp. An old note from Chas. Frodsham & Sons, was found in the clock giving regulation instructions, indicating it was in London at some stage for repairs, however a clue to its possible background prior to the Howards, might be suggested by the Colonel Howard’s middle name, Lloyd. Wigfair, formerly known as Wickwer, is an ancient site and was the seat of the Lloyd family, who lay claim to being one of the ‘Fifteen Tribes’ of North Wales. The present house replaced an original sub-medieval hall that had been in the Lloyd family’s possession since at least the 16th century, and the Rev. Richard Henry Howard’s mother, Dorethea Catherine Howard (née Clough), was the owner of Wigfair and had left it to him when she died in 1872. Dorothea herself had come by the Wigfair estate (via maiden aunts) from her great uncle, John Lloyd FRS (1749-1815), who had renowned scientific interests and after whom her grandson Colonel Howard was named.

John Lloyd FRS (1749-1815) of Wigfair and Hafodunos, was a Welsh speaking landowner who was conversant with every branch of natural science and dubbed ‘The Philosopher’ by his friends. He was admitted to the Middle Temple in 1770 and, after a tour of the Continent, was called to the bar 1781, then practising on the Northern and Chester circuits and becoming Bencher of his Inn in 1811. Lloyd was one of the politest gentlemen in Wales and according to Mrs Thrale extremely agreeable, gentlemanlike in carriage, polished in talk, and has a mind so completely stored – I consider his acquaintance as a treasure (Broadley, Doctor Johnson and Mrs. Thrale, 1910). Lloyd was also a sometime politician, and it was under peculiar circumstances that he represented Flintshire for two years. He was put up at the by-election of 1796, when there was opposition to the return of Sir Thomas Mostyn, who was still a minor when his father died in that office. The allegation, freely made at the time, was that Lloyd was being sponsored by the Mostyn family (longtime owners of two royal clocks by Graham’s partner, Tompion) as their friend and stopgap, which seems to have been warranted as, although Lloyd went through the process of unseating Mostyn on petition, he resigned his seat in Mostyn’s favour in 1799, pleading ‘indisposition’.

However, it is for his scientific curiosity and collecting that John Lloyd is chiefly renowned. He was elected Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1774, as well as holding fellowships of the Society of Antiquaries (FSA) and the Linnean Society (FLS). He had a wide range of interests, and corresponded with the leading scholars of the day, including Sir Joseph Banks (PRS); the astronomers Herschel and Maskelyne; the engineer John Rennie; the antiquaries Daniel Lysons, Thomas Pennant, Philip Yorke, and Daines Barrington; and the close friend of Samuel Johnson, Hester Lynch Piozzi (Mrs Thrale). He amassed a library of more than 10,000 volumes (books, manuscripts and maps) and a large collection of scientific apparatus, including clocks.

John Lloyd died at Wigfair on 24 April 1815, leaving his estates to his sisters and his nephew Thomas Hugh Clough, who subsequently sold Hafodunos in 1830. However, Wigfair was left to his two unmarried sisters, who in turn bequeathed it to their niece Dorethea Catherine Howard (née Clough), the mother of Rev. Richard Henry Howard, who tore down the old house and rebuilt Wigfair Hall in 1880s.

John Lloyd’s collections were sold by John Broster of Chester in January 1816, taking nearly a fortnight, and the catalogue survives: Bibliotheca Llwydiana. A catalogue of the entire library and philosophical apparatus, late the property of John Lloyd which will be sold by auction. The scientific section lists nine clocks, three being domestic longcases and the rest of a scientific bent; namely regulators and observatory timers, three of which were by the famous Fleet Street maker of the period, John Holmes. There is little doubt that John Lloyd would have been fully conversant with George Graham’s clocks and instruments, as well as his scientific reputation, through the Royal Society. Lloyd’s scientific curiosity and collecting habits testify to him being just the kind of character who would have wanted, and appreciated, a rare clock by Graham. It is quite conceivable that his spinster sisters, who clearly had no particular interest in precision timepieces, may have wanted to retain a number of domestic clocks for continued to use at Wigfair, and perhaps this small and particularly attractive table clock by George Graham, no.643, was one of those?

Additional information

Dimensions 5827373 cm