Stock No.

Exhibit No.14


10¾ inches (274 mm)


The early and unusually small Knibb Phase I case with ebony veneers and mouldings onto an oak carcass. The very shallow caddy top surmounted by an early form of Knibb’s brass hooped lifting handle, with folded brass pommels. The typical Knibb flat-top main ebony moulding, above a square front door with an ebony fret inset in the top rail, the sides with glazed apertures and gilt-brass dome-shaped repoussé mounts over the top sections. The typical Knibb plinth moulding supported by four turned gilt-brass bun feet. The seatboard has two brass blocks onto which the movement rests, held by blued steel square section pins.


The 6 inch (152 mm) square brass dial, retaining the original mercury firegilding, signed along the lower edge Joseph Knibb Londini fecit and attached to the frontplate by three latched dial feet. The slender silvered brass chapter ring with inner quarter division ring, Roman hour numerals and typical fleur-de-lys half-hour markers, the outer ring divided for every minute with internal Arabic minute numerals every 5, with beautifully pierced and sculpted, early Knibb-pattern blued-steel hands. The very fine and skilfully executed matting has a large Tudor rose engraved within a circular central reserve, the four corner spandrels are of Knibb’s early cherub’s head design.


The delicate fire-gilded plates with seven latched finned baluster pillars, the single fusee and tandem spring barrel held separately by the split frontplate. The IX side hour strike train with a fusee, its arbor mounted with an outside giltbrass countwheel that is divided to strike the hours at all quarters, engraved 1-12 at each hour, and fixed to a secondary wheel driven by a pinion of report behind. The III side spring-barrel has tandem greatwheels, front and rear; the rear driving the quarter train with a small gilt-brass countwheel divided for the four quarters with pins to lift the pivoted link lever and trip the hours; the front greatwheel driving the going train with knife-edge verge escapement and a short brass pendulum, the faceted bob engraved 1-8 for regulation. The backplate retains its original mercury fire-gilding with fine asymmetric engraving, inspired and possibly executed by Wenceslaus Hollar (1607-1677), with stems of foliage in the bottom left issuing into leaves, a pomegranate and open and closed flower heads, with an individual flower and leaf to the opposite bottom corner. The areas behind the countwheels left blank and signed Joseph Knibb Londini Fecit in fine early cursive script centrally along the lower edge.


30 hour


Sotheby’s 11 June 1981, lot 239, sold for £22,000 to Bobinet;
The Time Museum, Rockford, Illinois, USA, inventory no.2525;
Sotheby’s New York, Masterpieces from The Time Museum, 3 December
1999, lot 80, sold for £145,500;
John C Taylor Collection, inventory no.85


Antiquarian Horology, December 2002, John C Taylor, ‘Joseph Knibb’s First Grande Sonnerie Clock?’, p.196-198;
Horological Masterworks, 2003, p.102-107;
Huygens’ Legacy, The Golden Age of the Pendulum Clock, 2004, p.130-133;
Garnier & Hollis, Innovation & Collaboration, 2018, p.252-253


Knife-edge verge with calibrated bob pendulum