A very rare third quarter of the 17th century thirty hour longcase  A. Fromanteel, Newcastle
Lot 105W
A very rare third quarter of the 17th century thirty hour longcase clock A. Fromanteel, Newcastle. The movement and dial circa 1675, the case circa 1980.
Sold for £9,000 (US$ 15,127) inc. premium
Auction Details
Lot Details
A very rare third quarter of the 17th century thirty hour longcase clock
A. Fromanteel, Newcastle. The movement and dial circa 1675, the case circa 1980.
The square brass dial measuring 9 and 7/8ths of an inch and signed along the lower edge in a flowing copperplate script "A.Fromanteel, Newcastle", applied with four winged cherub spandrels and a silvered chapter ring with outer single line enclosing the bold Roman numerals and inner quarter hour track, with fleur de lys half-hour markers, the centre with very fine matting and single blued steel hand, the dial with three feet latched to the front plate of the weight driven movement, the plates with chamfered upper corners, the backplate with cut-out for the anchor escapement and mounted with a solid outside countwheel, the plates united by four knopped and finned pillars, the three-wheel train with gently tapering steel arbors and shallow collets, the anchor escapement with a V-shaped anchor, striking the hours via the outside countwheel on the bell above, now contained in a custom-made ebonised case, with flat top over a moulded cornice and barley twist columns with Corinthian capitals over a convex throat moulding, the straight-sided trunk with 38 inch door on a rectangular base with moulded plinth 189cm (6ft2.5in) high.

Footnotes

  • An applied label to the inside of the case reads "The oak case for this clock was made by Dennis Pickup of Westerhope, Newcastle upon Tyne. Copied exactly from a clock by Joseph Knibb in Bowhill by permission of the Duke of Buccleugh. The oak came from pews of a demolished 16th century church. The hinges are hand made.
    Commissioned by A.H. Todd Newcastle upon Tyne, 1980."


    This clock is discussed in Bates's Northumberland Clocks and clockmakers and is listed as the earliest known Northern clock. Abraham was the eldest son of Ahasuerus Fromanteel and was apprenticed to him in August 1662. He was not freed until 1680 because he had been travelling - it seems that he was the family member that did most travelling, indeed he cited this as an excuse to the Clockmakers Company as late as 1694; when he was asked to be Steward - he declined saying that he was 'forthwith going to Holland' and would not return until 'Michaelmas 1697'.

    It is remarkable how similar this movement is to two others sold in these rooms in recent years( lot 147 on 13th December 2005 and lot 147 on 9th December 2008). Both are also mentioned in Darken and Hooper's The Thirty Hour Clock. The first is signed for Joseph Knibb, London and the second, though unsigned has an almost identical dial to the first. All three movements emanated from the same workshop, but precisely whose workshop it was, we do not - as yet - know. It could have been Knibb supplying Fromanteel, Fromanteel supplying Knibb, or a third party supplying both.
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