THOMAS TOMPION, No 121

Offered by Howard Walwyn Ltd
THOMAS TOMPION, No 121

THOMAS TOMPION, No 121

Offered by Howard Walwyn
Date & Origin c. 1688, LONDON
Dimensions
Description
A fine James II period Phase I ebony veneered striking repeating bracket clock by England’s best known clockmaker.

The 6 inch square gilt-brass dial is signed Tho. Tompion Londini fecit to the lower edge and has finely chased gilt-brass winged cherub spandrels adorning the corners to the engraved silvered chapter ring. It has both Roman and Arabic chapters and Tompion’s sword hilt half hour markers. The elaborately pierced and finely sculpted blued steel hour and minute hands which are set off by the finely matted centre are typical of his work.

The substantial twin fusee 8-day movement has latched dial feet and further latches for the six ring-turned pillars. It has a restored verge escapement with knife edge suspension and pear shaped pendulum bob, having been converted back from a later dead beat escapement. The hours are sounded upon a single bell with the quarters repeated via Tompion’s trigger piece, the so called all or nothing repeating system. This superb and beautifully designed mechanism operates the quarter hammer and sounds one to three on a further smaller bell. The backplate* is exquisitely engraved with deeply cut tulip heads in various stages of opening. The rectangular reserve below the centre is also signed Tho Tompion Londini Fecit and it has Tompion’s punch number 121 to the lower edge of the backplate.

The small and beautifully proportioned Phase I case has an oak carcass and is veneered in ebony. It has a restored gilt sound fret and escutcheons with the original gilt brass Tompion carrying handle. The exquisite replacement Tompion mounts to the caddy top are finely chased and the sides have glazed apertures below the pierced wooden sound frets.

From recent research it has become clear that Thomas Tompion made very few clocks like this example to his phase 1 design with full striking and repeating trains. The great majority are timepieces with repeat work. The present clock is remarkably similar to the one illustrated on page 146, fig 112 in R.W. Symonds’ book.

Date: circa 1688

Height: 12 ⅜ in (31.5 cm)
Width: 9 ⅜ in (23.75 cm)
Depth: 6 ⅜ in (16.25 cm)

Provenance: This clock appears to have been in the same family for a great many generations
and possibly since shortly after it was made. It is said to have been given by Queen
Anne to a Miss Nicol who was a member of the Royal household and has come
since by descent. If this is the case, the clock would have been some twenty years
old at the time of the gift from the Queen.
It was sold at Sotheby’s in July 1990, lot 336 and has since been owned by an
English collector.
Literature: Jeremy Evans, Thomas Tompion at The Dial and Three Crowns, pp.68 and 73.
R.W. Symonds, Thomas Tompion his Life and Work, p.146 fig.112, p.183 fig.154,
p.197 fig.181, p.217 fig.133.
Dawson, Drover and Parkes, Early English clocks, p.469.
Signed / Inscribed
Tho Tompion Londini Fecit
SOLD
Dimensions
Description
A fine James II period Phase I ebony veneered striking repeating bracket clock by England’s best known clockmaker.

The 6 inch square gilt-brass dial is signed Tho. Tompion Londini fecit to the lower edge and has finely chased gilt-brass winged cherub spandrels adorning the corners to the engraved silvered chapter ring. It has both Roman and Arabic chapters and Tompion’s sword hilt half hour markers. The elaborately pierced and finely sculpted blued steel hour and minute hands which are set off by the finely matted centre are typical of his work.

The substantial twin fusee 8-day movement has latched dial feet and further latches for the six ring-turned pillars. It has a restored verge escapement with knife edge suspension and pear shaped pendulum bob, having been converted back from a later dead beat escapement. The hours are sounded upon a single bell with the quarters repeated via Tompion’s trigger piece, the so called all or nothing repeating system. This superb and beautifully designed mechanism operates the quarter hammer and sounds one to three on a further smaller bell. The backplate* is exquisitely engraved with deeply cut tulip heads in various stages of opening. The rectangular reserve below the centre is also signed Tho Tompion Londini Fecit and it has Tompion’s punch number 121 to the lower edge of the backplate.

The small and beautifully proportioned Phase I case has an oak carcass and is veneered in ebony. It has a restored gilt sound fret and escutcheons with the original gilt brass Tompion carrying handle. The exquisite replacement Tompion mounts to the caddy top are finely chased and the sides have glazed apertures below the pierced wooden sound frets.

From recent research it has become clear that Thomas Tompion made very few clocks like this example to his phase 1 design with full striking and repeating trains. The great majority are timepieces with repeat work. The present clock is remarkably similar to the one illustrated on page 146, fig 112 in R.W. Symonds’ book.

Date: circa 1688

Height: 12 ⅜ in (31.5 cm)
Width: 9 ⅜ in (23.75 cm)
Depth: 6 ⅜ in (16.25 cm)

Provenance: This clock appears to have been in the same family for a great many generations
and possibly since shortly after it was made. It is said to have been given by Queen
Anne to a Miss Nicol who was a member of the Royal household and has come
since by descent. If this is the case, the clock would have been some twenty years
old at the time of the gift from the Queen.
It was sold at Sotheby’s in July 1990, lot 336 and has since been owned by an
English collector.
Literature: Jeremy Evans, Thomas Tompion at The Dial and Three Crowns, pp.68 and 73.
R.W. Symonds, Thomas Tompion his Life and Work, p.146 fig.112, p.183 fig.154,
p.197 fig.181, p.217 fig.133.
Dawson, Drover and Parkes, Early English clocks, p.469.

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