Fine Clocks, Barometers & Scientific Instruments Sale at Dreweatts & BLoomsbury Auctions

. August 1, 2014

A very rare German Renaissance monstrance clock case in the manner of Jeremias Metzger will be offered in Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions’ sale of Fine Clocks, Barometers & Scientific Instruments on Thursday 28th August 2014 at the Donnington Priory saleroom in Berkshire.

Monstrance clock case in the manner of Jeremias Metzger

Monstrance clock case in the manner of Jeremias Metzger

Monstrance type clocks, made in Augsburg, were a desirable and highly fashionable luxury item, only available to the very wealthy aristocratic gentleman during the Renaissance period. Like this example, they often had astronomical and calendar details.

This current example is an extremely rare survivor (albeit in partial-form) from the ‘golden’ period of early German Renaissance clockmaking with strong stylistic similarities to an example from arguably the most important workshop of the period – that of Jeremias Metzger of Augsburg.

The original fitment of a Universal Astrolabe to the rear of the case appears to be an extremely rare, if not unique feature of possibly documentary importance.

Historically not known for their excellent time-keeping abilities, this particular example of a monstrance type clock is now fitted with a fine quality purpose-made English fuse timepiece movement, leaving it not only a sophisticated and beautiful mechanical device but also, unlike it’s renaissance counterparts, an accurate time-keeper. This highly interesting horological artifict is estimated to realise £4,000-6,000 [Lot 119].

Other significant horological works in the sale include the last recorded example of a watch to be signed by Thomas Tompion, regarded as the Father of English Clock and Watchmaking. The fine and rare Queen Anne verge pocket watch movement, number 4650, circa 1713, was probably made just prior to his death in 1713, when he was in partnership with his pupil and successor George Graham.

The movement belongs to belongs to a group of less than 20 examples signed by both Tompion and Graham from around four hundred known surviving watches from Tompion’s first numbered series as recorded by Jeremy Evans in Evans, Carter & Wright THOMAS TOMPION, 300 YEARS.

Tompion’s work continues to command exceptional prices, and this movement (albeit in partnership with George Graham) is a significant work, marking the end of his extraordinary and revolutionising career. It carries a pre-sale estimate of £2,000-3,000 [Lot 121].

Elsewhere in the sale is a fine and rare mid-18th century, George II, English ormolu rococo mantel timepiece in the French Louis XV taste with an unusual calendar dial, signed by Clay of London. The year calendar hand is ingeniously driven by a disc covering the rear of the movement and is advanced on a daily basis via a flag engaging with teeth cut to the circumference. The positioning of the mechanism allows for easy adjustment of the date as well as straightforward servicing of the mechanism.

It is possible that the current lot may have been made by Charles Clay who originated from near Huddersfield and gained his freedom of the Clockmaker’s Company prior to 1716. He specialised and experimented with musical mechanisms and is perhaps now best known for his organ clocks.

This unique timepiece is presented in original unrestored condition and is estimated to realise £1,500-2,000 [Lot 118].

Further Highlights
An important Charles II architectural key-wound thirty-hour hooded wall clock, by Jonathan Chambers, Shefford, circa 1670.
The substantial four finned pillar single-handed movement latched at the front and originally pinned to the rear with thick plates measuring 7.5 by 5.75 inches incorporating integral cast extensions for the strike detents to left hand side and with rounded-arch shaped lower edge, the going train regulated by verge escapement and short bob pendulum with unusual angled escapewheel and arbor to allow offset positioning of the contrate wheel, the backplate fitted with hour wheel on an arbor passing through the movement to the dial, the strike train with outside countwheel and hammer pivot arbor positioned to the centre of the movement fitted with hammer at the front for striking on the inside edge of a vertical bell mounted above the plates, the 9.75 inch square brass dial centred with an engraved five-petal rose motif above drapery lambrequin signed Jonathan Chambers, Fecit to lower margin within applied 1 inch wide silvered Roman numeral chapter ring with stylised fleur-de-lys half hour markers, with fine generous pierced steel hand and spandrel areas engraved with unusual symmetrical decoration incorporating a dog rose over pomegranate and other fruit, in a wall mounted pedimented case veneered in a padouk-like timber with fine architecturally correct ebonised mouldings, the rising hood with applied gilt brass cherub mount to tympanum above raised mouldings to the glazed dial aperture and rectangular side windows, the backboard fitted with latch to hold the hood in raised position above horizontal table applied with a pair of tall blocks to support the movement, the underside with ebonised shaped apron flanked by conforming side brackets with a short rectangular veneered back panel behind, (case probably later) 58.5cm (28ins) high.
Provenance: From the estate of an esteemed antiquarian horologist, sold at Sotheby’s, Bond Street, London, 22nd October 1987 (lot 197) subsequently purchased by the vendor from Aspreys, London.
Estimate £7,000-10,000 [Lot 122]

A fine and rare Charles II brass lantern clock of impressive large proportions by Thomas Knifton, London, circa 1665
The posted countwheel bell striking movement with remote hour hammer pivoted between lugs riveted to the upper surface of the gallery top plate above verge escapement set within the gallery and short bob pendulum now swinging within the frame of the case at the rear, the dial signed Thomas Knifton at the (crossed keys) in Lothbury, London towards the upper margin of the dial centre and with engraved stylised flowering tulip scrolling infill beneath, the centre with alarm disc and distinctive sculpted iron ‘arrowhead’ hand within applied 7.25 inch circular silvered Roman numeral chapter ring with stylised fleur-de-lys half hour markers and leafy infill to spandrel areas, the large ‘Lothbury’ type frame with column-turned corner posts beneath open-work gallery and foliate pierced and engraved frets set between multi-knop vase-shaped finials with domed bell bearer incorporating decorative pierced lobes and fitted with further central finial above, the sides with brass doors, the rear with iron hanging hoop and short spurs, on turned ball feet, 50cm (19.75ins) high.
Provenance: From the estate of an esteemed antiquarian horologist, purchased at Sotheby’s, Bond Street, London, 11th June 1998 (lot 343).
Estimate £10,000-15,000 [Lot 123]

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