Height

13 inches.

Case

The Phase 3 mid-size case comprises an oak carcass with ebony veneers and mouldings, the inverted bell top is surmounted by a gilt-brass foliate tied handle with rosette terminals, specific to Tompion’s mid-size series. The front door with Tompion’s gilt-brass acanthus cast sound fret to the top rail, having raised mouldings to the aperture and a satyr-mask foliate mount below and with typical gilt-brass foliate cartouche escutcheons, the door sill stamped 545. The glazed sides are applied with raised breakarch mouldings. The front and rear doors retain the original locks and hinges, the base resting on ebony block feet. The rear door aperture rail painted LOAN 8 CHICHESTER, with corresponding part-cut printed label underneath: ‘…Museum and Art Gallery [Brighton?], Lent by The Chichester Estate’.

Dial

The 5¼ by 6 inch Phase 2 dial retains the original fire gilding and is signed Tho: Tompion & Geo: Graham London within foliate decoration by Graver 515 and flanked by subsidiary dials for pendulum regulation and strike/silent, with fine original hands, one thumb-knob adjusted. The main silvered chapter ring has Roman hours and Arabic minutes with lozenge half-hour and half-quarter hour markers. The finely matted centre has a mock pendulum aperture and finely-shaped and sculpted blued-steel hands. Ornate cherub-head spandrels to the lower dial quadrants held by double screws, with relieved spandrels abutting the subsidiary rings above. The three dial feet are typically latched to the inside of the front plate.

Movement

The diminutive but substantial movement has stepped plates and seven ring-turned and knopped pillars all with fine original latches. With spring barrels and fusees, the going train has a pivoted verge escapement with the pendulum spring suspended in Tompion’s usual manner from a brass regulation bar atop the backplate with foliate engraved cocks. The hour strike train utilises the larger bell governed by a rack-and-snail. The pull-quarter repeat train operates on Tompion’s all-or-nothing system with twin-cocked interlocking blued-steel levers on the backplate repeating the hours and quarters, the latter on the smaller bell. The movement is secured in the case in Tompion’s usual manner with two steel bolts through the baseboard into the bottom pillars and by two foliate engraved backplate brackets.

The backplate is superbly and typically decorated by Graver 515, with fine quality scrolling foliage, flowers and strap work within a line border and centred by an oval cartouche signed Tho: Tompion & Geo: Graham London. Above the cartouche is a shell flanked by twin birds, below it rests on a pair of cornucopiae, with further birds, garlands and strap work to the sides encircled by two serpents. The central base of the backplate is clearly numbered 545 within the design.

Duration

8 days.

Provenance

Ordered from Tompion by Thomas Pelham-Holles of Halland (1693-1768), 1st Duke of Newcastle, Prime Minister, created 1st Baron of Stanmer (1762) with special remainder, thence by descent to his cousin;

Thomas Pelham (1728-1805), 2nd Baron of Stanmer and 1st Earl of Chichester, thence by descent, until sold Sotheby’s 14 December 1995, lot 337;

Private collection U.K.

Literature

FH Green, ‘Three Clocks by Tompion’, Old Furniture Magazine, vol 5, 1928, p.231-4;

FH Green, Old English Clocks, 1931, p.35, pl. XV-XVI;

RW Symonds, Thomas Tompion, 1951, fig. 55 & 88;

J Winterton, English Grande Sonnerie Clocks, 1992;

Evans, Carter & Wright, Thomas Tompion 300 Years, p.488-91;

Garnier & Carter, The Golden Age of English Horology, 2015, p.66-71.

Exhibited

London, Royal Exchange, A Loan Exhibition of Old English Clocks entirely the work of and signed by Tho. Tompion (1638-1713), 1933, cat. no. 8