Large Rare 12 Tune Musical Clock by Eardley Norton, London.
The movement being triple fusee, with dead-beat escapement, chiming on the hour with a sliding assembly of fourteen bells struck by eighteen hammers which are triggered by a 9.5” barrel and regulated by a worm driven fly wheel. The shaped backplate is engraved with the signature cartouche surrounded by urns among foliage.
The dial measures 10” wide by 14” high, break arch base dial with the 12 tune selection in the break-arch with silvered chapter ring, roman and Arabic numerals, fine blued steel hands, matted centre with date aperture, subsidiary dials for chime/not chime and strike/not strike with name plaque between signed Eardley Norton, London, numbered 1861.
The pagoda top marquetry case is made from an inlaid Cuban mahogany, topped by classical bust and four urn finials, over Ionic columns, concave moulded plinth base with foliate feet, all embellished with applied musical trophies and later geometric marquetry decoration.
A similar movement is illustrated and discussed in Ord-Hume’s ‘The Musical Clock’, Mayfield Books, 1995, plate XII/10, pages 250-251, where it is mentioned that Eardley Norton was one of a small number of makers who employed the ‘carriage-change system’ of tune selection whereby the bell assembly and hammers are moved along the length of the barrel by a leaf spring, rather than the barrel being moved beneath the bell assembly, which was a more common arrangement. This system was used by John Ellicott Junior and in an earlier period by John Taylor of Ashton and earlier still by Roger Dunster.
Eardley Norton (1728 – 1792)
Eardley Norton was from yeoman stock, who are believed to have farmed at Rigsby, Lincolnshire. He was apprenticed as a clockmaker on 25 May 1743 to Robert Dawson of Alford. He is listed as working at 49 St. John’s Street, Clerkenwell between 1760 and 1794. He was also a member of the Clockmakers’ Company being freed in 1770 and remained a member until his death in 1792. He applied for a patent for a new type of striking mechanism for clocks and watches on 31 August 1771.
He’s renowned with a reputation as a very skilled clockmaker. He is most well known for making highly complex timepieces, sometimes with musical and astronomical movements for the export markets. These included Turkey and the Far East. The most notable of which may be his four-dial astronomical clock which he made to stand in the library of Buckingham House, now Buckingham Palace. In addition, there are clocks made by him in the Royal Collection, numerous museums worldwide and some of the world’s finest collections including a bracket clock in the Virginia Museum, a very small cartel clock in the National Museum of Stockholm, a marine chronometer in the Ilbert Collection at the British Museum in London and an elaborate automaton clock with organ in the Palace Museum located in Peking. He married Mary Swinnerton of Oswestry, and after retirement lived at Stonegrove House (no longer existing), Little Stanmore, Middlesex, in the parish of Whitchurch. On his death, his business was taken over by the partnership of Gravell and Tolkien. He is buried at St. Lawrence’s church in Little Stanmore.
Serviced and guaranteed for 3 years.
Height: 34″ or 85cm (Including finial) x Width: 21″ or 54cm x Depth: 14″ or 35cm
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