A VERY FINE EBONISED “BASKET TOP” TABLE CLOCK – JOSEPH NORRIS OF AMSTERDAM

Description

An outstanding quality Ebonised, 8-day striking table clock with alarm by the renowned Joseph Norris of Amsterdam, who famously worked alongside the prestigious Fromanteel family. This particular clock dates from the late 17th Century.

The case is ebony veneered onto an oak carcass with an over-elaborate gilt-brass repoussé basket top, side panels, and mounts decorated with flowers, cherubs, and fruits with a gilt-brass carrying handle and gilt-brass bun feet. Extending from each side of the case is the pull/push quarter repeat lever to sound the quarters and the hour last struck.

A high-quality 6” square gilt-brass dial with four winged cherub spandrels, strike/silent above XII of the silvered, engraved chapter ring, featuring Roman numerals, half-hour markers, and Arabic numerals outside of the division ring. The centre of the dial being matted, a decorated date aperture under XII, complimented with finely pierced blued steel hands and the centre alarm setting disc to the centre.

The movement of 8-day duration with original verge escapement and short bob pendulum is rack striking, sounding the hours to a bell with a repeat system connected to the strike train, striking both the hours and quarters along with an independent alarm. The stunning tulip and floral engraved backplate within a line border and is signed Joseph Norris, Amsterdam.

A stunning, collectable and truly breath-taking clock from the golden age of clock making.

Joseph Norris:

Joseph Norris was born in Abingdon near Oxford in 1650, the brother of Edward Norris (1637-1726), who was twelve years his senior. At the age of 12, Joseph was apprenticed to his brother for eight years. He survived ‘The Plague’ and ‘The Great London Fire’, respectively, in 1665 and 1666. Because of the fire, the two brothers had to leave The Crossed Keys in Lothbury and move to Dove Court in London. After the peace treaty between England and the Netherlands in 1674, Joseph went to Amsterdam and settled there. It may have been because his former mentor Ahasuerus Fromanteel had been there since 1667; Norris did not return to England until 1692. Several authorities think that during his Dutch period Fromanteel did not produce longcase clocks with a long pendulum and anchor escapement in Holland but that he imported them ready-made from London. He, therefore, concludes that Joseph Norris was the first to make such clocks with a ’Royal Pendulum’ in Holland, starting in or immediately after 1675.

Norris lived near the Beurs (the Exchange) on Damrak in Amsterdam, where he also had his workshop. In 1677 he married Alicia Arnold (from Tonstell, probably Tunstall, Kent, England) in the English Reformed Church. He quickly became one of the city’s leading clockmakers. In 1692 he returned to Abingdon, where he held numerous prominent public and clerical life positions until he died in 1726. During this period, he made clocks in London in his brother’s workshop in Dove Court. It will be clear from the preceding description that clocks signed ’Joseph Norris London’ must date from either the pre-Amsterdam years 1670-1675 or from the post-Amsterdam years 1692-1696, the last year of his membership of the Clockmakers Company; clocks signed ‘Joseph Norris Amsterdam’ are to be dated between 1675 and 1692.

Comparative Literature:

Dr R. Plomp – Spring-driven Dutch pendulum clocks 1657-1710, p. 66, 174-175.

Serviced and guaranteed for 3 years.
Height: 15” or 38cm (Handle up)
CIRCA. 1680
Provenance: Private collection U.K.
*Pictures taken prior to restoration*

 

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