6 foot 4¾ inches
Case of superbly contrasted and figured walnut veneered onto a cariniana-wood carcass, the rising hood with typical shallow, cushion-moulded, dome top and three finials above a fretted frieze, the dial aperture flanked by Solomonic columns with mirror-reflected turning, the convex throat moulding above the long rectangular trunk door with typical snakes head escutcheon and framed with cross-grain D-section mouldings, the ogee base mouldings above a cross-banded plinth on walnut bun feet.
10⅛ inch square fire-gilt brass dial with four latched dial feet, the finely matted centre with calendar aperture below XII, superbly sculpted blued-steel hands. The skeletonised silvered chapter-ring with pierced Roman hours and trident half-hours, every minute numbered. Flanked by fire-gilt winged-cherub spandrels; the line engraved border interrupted along the lower edge and signed Joseph Knibb Londini Fecit.
Delicate, two-train, quarter striking, weight-driven movement, 5⅞ by 7⅝ inch plates, secured by six latched finned baluster pillars, the going-train with anchor escapement. The strike train governed by a large diameter outside, hour and quarter, countwheel, sounding the quarters on the smaller bell and the hours on the larger, both mounted above. The hammer linkages ingeniously pumped from the under-dial work, to govern the use of each bell and allowing the quarter and hours to be struck from a single train.
Christie’s, 22 March 1989, lot 195 (£167,250 – Auction record).
Garnier & Carter, The Golden Age of English Horology, 2015, p.360-363.
The Scott Knibb circa 1680
A very fine walnut on coriniana two-train quarter striking longcase clock with skeletonised dial
When the late Tom Scott bought this extraordinary Knibb longcase in 1989 it made a record price at auction out-selling by nearly £40,000 the most expensive of the two month-going numbered Tompion longcases sold in that year.
The case is one of a very rare series of Knibb cases veneered on coriniana rather than oak; his casemaker purchased a small stock of this distinctive South American wood and used it for carcasses, presumably because of its straight grain and consequent stability.
Knibb is perhaps best known for his ingenious striking methods, exemplified in this clock, and he also limited the use of his beautiful skeletonised chapter rings to his more complicated and expensive clocks.