BENJAMIN GRAY AND JUSTIN VULLIAMY, LONDON.
A VERY SMALL AND IMPORTANT INVERTED BELL TOP BRACKET CLOCK WITH PULL QUARTER REPEAT & ORIGINAL RARE SILENT VERGE ESCAPEMENT
An extremely attractive small ebonised bracket clock. The inverted bell top case stands only 12” high to the base of the handle. It has the usual fine quality mouldings to the case that you ssociate with these fine makers. The breakarch front door has nicely fretted sound apertures, backed with red silk at the top and brass mouldings to the edge of the glass. The glass side apertures are similarly shaped with wooden mouldings to the sides. The rear door also has nicely fretted sound frets to the top, but has wooden beading to the glass rather than brass. The clock stands on well shaped brass corner feet.
The dial is signed for the makers ‘Ben.n Gray Just Vulliamy, London’ in a small cartouche in the arch between the silvered dials for strike silent and pendulum regulation. There is light engraving to the sides of these dials and to their centres and the regulation dial is engraved ‘To Regulate’. The 5” silvered chapter ring has Roman numerals with outside Arabic minute numerals. It has a beautifully matted centre with a false pendulum aperture and a date aperture above VI. The blued steel hands are nicely fretted. It has gilded spandrels to the four corners.
The eight day twin gut fusee movement has a well engraved backplate signed in a cartouche as per the dial ‘Ben.n Gray Just Vulliaamy, London’. The clock has the rare feature of a silent verge escapement. This is original to the clock and takes the form a thin wire/gut acting as the pallet on the teeth of the escape wheel. It is often assumed that these clocks were made quieter for bedroom use but it is just as likely that they were made specifically for a customer who wanted a quieter clock. There is a folding pendulum hold fast and the wheel for the pull quarter repeat, both mounted on the backplate. The movement strikes the hours on a large bell mounted above the plates and repeats the quarters on a further small bell with two hammers. The pull quarter repeat cord comes through the bottom of the case and runs over a roller to avoid friction of the cord in the exit hole. This is a most unusual feature. The five pillar movement has fine quality wheel work with well shaped and knopped pillars.
The normal size for bell top bracket clocks is some 19” with the smaller clocks being some 14 ½”. The last small bracket clock we had by Justin Vulliamy was indeed some 14 ½”. This clock is, therefore, exceptionally small.
Justin Vulliamy & Benjamin Gray:
Justin Vulliamy spent his early years in Paris as a watchmaker and he was known to be working in London by 1739. He attracted the attention of Benjamin Gray, an eminent watchmaker who gained the Royal Appointment in 1742 and he married Grays daughter Mary. Vulliamy took an increasingly active part in the running of the business and succeeded Gray when he died in 1764. By then, in part at least because of Gray’s Royal Appointment, the business had access to the palaces and had acquired many important customers. Although there is no evidence that Vulliamy was ever a royal clockmaker, it probably had little effect on him, particularly as by then they were situated in the prestigious area of Pall Mall, close to St James Palace & Carlton House. Interestingly, probably because Gray was basically a watchmaker, Justin took over much of the clock production and even before Gray died was signing them with his own name. In 1780 Justin took his son, Benjamin, into partnership. Justin died in 1797. There are several fine clocks of his and also an exceptional barometer in the Royal Collection, most of which are illustrated in “Royal Clocks” by Cedric Jagger. Further details can be found in “The Vulliamy Clockmakers” by David G. Vulliamy.
Serviced and guaranteed for 3 years.
Height: 12″ or 30.5 cm (to the handle)
Provenance: Private collection – U.K.
*This clock is delivered and set up for free within the UK. We regularly ship clocks all over the world with our approved and well-established Antiques and Fine Art Packers & Shippers. Please ask for a quote should you require this service.
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