Gilt-brass basket top, well-proportioned and cast with symmetrical foliage, surmounted by gilt-brass thistle bud handle. Elaborate gilt-brass mouldings above and below the blued-steel body, acanthus-cast gilt-brass sound panels to the side and rear, base on gilt block feet; release mechanism in base allows the case to slide up and over the movement. Punch-numbered 23 twice on the rear base moulding. With pendulum locking system to the front base section.
4½ inches square, gilt-brass dial with four latched feet, signed Tho Tompion Lon: engraved within the matted centre beneath the rosette-engraved (Rose Graver) silvered alarm disc, narrow silvered chapter-ring, blued-steel hands, cross-winged cherub spandrels. Pendulum bob visible beneath chapter-ring when door is open.
3½ by 4¼ inches with six latched baluster pillars; single fusee and spring barrel, securing pin in the baseplate for the front-mounted rhomboidal pendulum with an unusual calibrated regulation disc in the centre of the bob, adjusted by a male key, the crown-wheel mounted at 20° from vertical to avoid the fusee. Twice-six pull-quarter repeat on two bells, modified to repeat 1-12 (in Tompion’s workshop?), alarm on the larger bell.
By family descent to W.J.E. Lonsdale, of Auckland, New Zealand, and sold Christie’s, London, 29th Oct, 1959, lot 9: for a record price of 4,200 guineas (£4,410) to R A Lee.
Untermeyer Collection, New York.
R A Lee, 1974.
Hochschild Collection, Paris, and sold Sotheby’s, London, 31 March, 1978 lot 211.
Christie’s, London, July, 1990, lot 103.
Dawson, Drover & Parkes, Early English Clocks, Woodbridge, 1982, p. 430, 432, pl. 626.
R Garnier, ‘Striking Royal Connections’, Country Life, 6 Dec 1990. p.128.
Evans, Carter & Wright, Thomas Tompion 300 Years, 2013, p.418.
Garnier & Carter, The Golden Age of English Horology, 2015, p.56-59.
Knife-edge verge; cock mounted on front plate.
The Lonsdale Tompion, No. 23 circa 1683
A highly important gilt-brass and blued-steel miniature timepiece with alarm and silent pull-quarter repeat
No. 23 is the harlequin pair to No. 21; together these are the only two known examples by Tompion to these miniaturised specifications in blued-steel and gilt-metal cases. Because of their unusual nature and extraordinary quality, it cannot be discounted that these two timepieces may have been Royal commissions.