Thomas Tompion Miniature Striking Table Clock
Dial: The delicate phase I dial with square gilt brass dial plate measuring just 5 ¾” featuring all of the original gilding with pronounced winged cherub spandrels, a fine matted centre with date aperture above No. VI, the silvered date ring can be adjusted by Tompions pin hole adjustment feature, which can be advanced by a pin via the front dial plate. Silvered chapter ring with predominately Roman numerals, small Arabic minute numerals outside the division ring and sword-hilt half hour markers. The clock also features the beautiful original delicately sculpted finely blued steel hands.
Movement: The 8-day substantial yet miniature twin fusee spring clock movement, `Dutch striking` with original verge knife edge escapement, finely pierced apron to the rear of the back cock and brass rod short bob regulated pendulum. The superb robust plates are held together by five latched baluster pillars. The back plate is beautifully engraved and signed “Tho Tompion Londini Fecit” to the left with the large numbered count wheel to the right and English rose engraved to the centre of the wheel.
Case: The fine phase I Ebony veneered case with oak carcase standing upon ebonised bun feet, featuring original fire gilding to all chased mounts on top of the cushion domed top including the foliate scroll handle. Glazed lockable doors to front and rear with glazed apertures to both sides.
- Currently: Private collection, UK
- Previously: owned privately by a family in UK and Canada.
- Previously: owned by Charles Drover.
- Early English Clocks by P. G. Dawson, C. B. Drover & D. W. Parkes:
Page 303 – Plates 433 & 434.
Page 304 – Plates 435 & 436.
Page 305 – Plate 437.
Page 422 – Plates 605 & 606.
- Thomas Tompion, The Dial and Three Crowns by Jeremy Evans
- Thomas Tompion 300 years, Evans, Carter & Wright
This clock is accompanied with a genuine mezzotint of Thomas Tompion originally taken from an oil painting by Geoffrey Kneller. The mezzotint has been framed in a beautiful early 19th century frame.
Height: 10 5/8” to top of case – 12” to top of handle.
*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.
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.
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