A late 17th century longcase clock movement Joseph Knibb, London
Lot 137W
A late 17th century longcase clock movement Joseph Knibb, London
Sold for £16,250 (US$ 26,953) inc. premium
Auction Details
Lot Details
A late 17th century longcase clock movement
Joseph Knibb, London
The 9.5 inch brass dial with cherub mask spandrels within a single line border, intersected along the lower edge by the signature 'Joseph Knibb Londini fecit', beneath the silvered Roman and Arabic chapter ring with trident half hour markers, the finely matted centre with subsidiary seconds, calendar aperture and well shaped hands, the weight driven movement with anchor escapement, latched plates united by five knopped and finned pillars, with rack strike on a bell, the movement formerly with bolt and shutter maintaining power; together with an associated mahogany floorstanding case. The dial 24cm (9.5in)

Footnotes

  • The movement and dial compare closely with the 'Admiral Bing' longcase movement illustrated in Dawson, Drover, Parkes 'Early English Clocks', Antique Collectors Club 1982, plates 261-264, pages 194-196

    Joseph Knibb was born in 1640. It is assumed that he served his apprenticeship under his cousin Samuel Knibb in Newport Pagnell from 1655 to 1662. He began his independent career working just outside the City of Oxford, but by the mid 1660s had moved within its jurisdiction. There was some initial resentment to his becoming Free of the City and it was only through the support of the University, where he matriculated as a gardener, that he was granted Freedom in 1668 on payment of a fine of 20 nobles and a leather bucket.

    In 1670 Joseph moved to London, this was the same year that his past Master, Samuel who had moved to the capital in 1662, died, and it was natural that Joseph should carry on the family firm. London at this time was experiencing something of a re-birth after the Great Plague and the Great Fire, and the scientific and horological sectors were closely intertwined. Joseph was obviously a talented horologist; with just three years under his belt in the capital, he was accomplished enough to supply Professor James Gregory, Astronomer of St Andrews University, with a pair of longcase clocks and a 'split second' weight driven timer capable of showing thirds of a second via it's tic-tac escapement. Gregory boasted of them in a letter to the Astronomer Royal, John Flamsteed in a letter date 19th July 1673 "I have 2 Pendulum Clocks makinge with long swinges, vibrating seconds, (no) stikinge; and also one little Pendulum Clock, vibrating 4 times a second, also without strikinge for discerninge small intervalls; where there may be a parte of a second in question." These three clocks are still at St Andrews today.

    Four years later, in 1677 Knibb was commissioned to supply a turret clock for Windsor Castle. The Dukes of Sussex and York also had Knibb clocks in their collections and in 1682 Knibb was paid for work carried out for Charles II. He took on nine apprentices, including Edward Massey, John Drew and Brouncker Watts. He was Assistant to the Clockmakers Company in 1689 and is well recorded in the Company's accounts until 1697 when he retired to Hanslop. He died in December 1711.
Auction information

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