A truly wonderful musical clock bearing the highly esteemed name Thomas Tompion.
Dial: The 10” square brass dial signed Tho. Tompion London to the lower edge with fine winged cherub spandrels to each corner, silvered chapter ring with predominately Roman numerals, small Arabic minute numerals outside the division ring and sword-hilt half hour markers. The fine matted centre with date aperture above No. VI, seconds silvered subsidiary dial featuring Arabic numerals and finished with finely blue shaped steel hands.
Movement: The weight driven 8-day substantial musical clock movement with anchor escapement and seconds pendulum consists of the going train, the hourly strike train working via an internal count wheel and the musical train playing three hourly or at request on two separate nests of seventeen bells played by thirty-two hammers.
Accompanied to the clock is a later oak box designed to contain four of the five interchangeable musical barrels, each able to play two separate tunes, being;
- A health to betty and Lily Burlero
- Ladyes of London or The Boarding School
- A French Minuet or The Boree
- Black Jack or Fiery Courage and Spite
- Castle-maine or Toule Toule
Please note: Some of the barrels may need re-pinning and some of the original hammer springs are tired and need to be replaced if the clock is to work as a musical clock. It has currently been left as it is to maintain the originality of the clock and is being sold in this condition. The clock is a wonderful timekeeper and can run using only the going and strike trains.
Case: The beautiful case is Walnut veneered with the finest choice veneers upon a pitch pine carcass. The rising hood has a moulded flat top supported with a fine bible back moulding and spiral “barley twist” columns either side of the glazed front aspect. Convex cheeks come down to a long trunk door with original hinges which covers the majority of the trunk, crossbanded and inlaid with stringing to the boarder to match the plinth below. The plinth has previously been rebuilt to the original style to stand upon bun feet.
Duration: 8 days
Height: 80” or 6ft 8” or 203cm.
- Currently: Private collection, UK
- Previously: Purchased through the trade.
- Early English Clocks by P. G. Dawson, C. B. Drover & D. W. Parkes:
Pages 501 – 512.
This clock is accompanied with a framed picture of Tompion.
Thomas Tompion B. 1639 – D.1713.
Affectionately known as the father of English clockmaking and widely regarded as the greatest clock maker of all time. This Englishman was a pioneer of his time, working at the very top of the horological scale during the “The golden age of clockmaking”.
Thomas Tompion was born 1639 in a hamlet in the parish of Northill, Bedfordshire called Ickfield Green. The eldest son to a blacksmith also with the name Thomas and his wife Margret, Thomas Tompion Jr was baptised at Northill on 28th July that year. Not much is known today about his upbringing, however it is understood that Tompion first apprenticed as a blacksmith until the age of 21 and spent the next 11 years somewhere in a provincial town and it is within these 11 years that Tompion became a blacksmith as well as a “great clockmaker” (a turret clock maker). In The Court Minute Book of The Clockmakers’ Company it lists Tompions admission to the company on 4th September 1671 as a Brother. The book describes him as a “Great Clockmaker” indicating that he was a recognised Master Blacksmith/Clockmaker who specialised in large Iron clocks intended for churches. It is after this that it is believed he began to make his fortune.
On the 6th April 1674 Thomas Tompion became a Free Clockmaker upon Redemption and so then allowed to set up his own workshop and take on apprentices. During this very same year Dr Robert Hooke (considered by many to be the greatest experimental physicist of the seventeenth century) was introduced to him who commissioned Tompion to make a quadrant. This turned out to be the making of Tompion, by 5th July Tompion had completed the quadrant and it was acknowledged with great recognition by Hooke and subsequently many other members of the Royal Society, this helped catapult Tompion into mixing with the upper echelons of society including King Charles II.
When the Royal Observatory was established in 1676, Tompion was requested to make two clocks of year duration which were more accurate timekeepers that any at other observatories. Tompion went onto make many clocks and watches for numerous important places and countless important people. He took on at least 27 apprentices along with many journeymen during his career and it is understood that in his workshops there were over 5000 watches and 650 clocks made, many of which unfortunately no longer exist. His stylishness and restraint in the design of clock cases, combined with his vast productivity, assisted with making him the most celebrated of English clockmakers. Tompion was a bachelor. His portrait was painted by Kneller and he is painted holding a watch. He died in 1713 and was buried in Westminster Abbey. He left most of his estate to his nephew, Thomas Tompion, a youth who does not appear to have followed in the footsteps of his illustrious uncle.
J. C. Collection
The J. C. Collection is one mans collection of fine antique clocks based in the county of Bedfordshire.
A highly respected horologist and a Fellow of The British Horological Institute, James has held many horological positions of high esteem working for contracts with H. M. Government to the The Honourable Society of the Inner Temple.
For more information about any of these clocks or to view the collection, please contact James on:
Telephone: 01525 221165 – Mobile: 07790 000629 – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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