A very fine mid 19th century brass centre-seconds skeleton clock with helical balance and lever escapement James Condliff, Liverpool 2
Lot 98
A very fine mid 19th century brass centre-seconds skeleton clock with helical balance and lever escapement James Condliff, Liverpool 2
Sold for £43,250 (US$ 73,952) inc. premium
Auction Details
A very fine mid 19th century brass centre-seconds skeleton clock with helical balance and lever escapement James Condliff, Liverpool 2
Lot Details
A very fine mid 19th century brass centre-seconds skeleton clock with helical balance and lever escapement
James Condliff, Liverpool
The apex of the scrolled frame formed as a stylised lotus leaf centred by the large gilt balance with heavy circular timing screws and large blued steel helical balance spring to the English lever escapement with cock engraved as a mythical creatures head, his jaws acting as the guard pins, the frame continuing downwards in a symmetrical pattern of open scrolls united by four crisply finished pillars, set on a platform supported on four tapering Doric columns with bud-type finials to a plinth base on ball feet, the twin chain fusees partially set within the plinth and with open ends, the going train with maintaining power, the striking train with mirror-polished rack visible to the centre striking on a gong mounted within the base, all wheels of five crossings, the silvered Roman chapter ring with outer minute track and centre seconds hand, protected by a glass shade set on a mahogany base with moulded edge and squat bun feet The frame 32cms (12.5ins) high. Total height to top of glass dome 46.5cms (18.25ins) high. (2)

Footnotes

  • Provenance:

    This skeleton clock has been in the vendor's family for over a century.

    Derek Roberts in the standard work on Skeleton Clocks comments on Condliff's production that "The designs of his skeleton clock frames and even the individual components have seldom been equalled and never bettered by an other maker ...."

    To our knowledge, the current clock is one of only two extant clocks by Condliff in a distinctive 'transitional' style that unites the best of his 'first' and 'second' series of clock. Roberts in 'British Skeleton Clocks, ACC 1987' divides Condliff's work into three distinct models. His first series of clocks are thought to have been made circa 1825-1850; they are typifed by an arched frame over a substantial lower half with a handsomely finished platform mounted on classically inspired columns, the baseplate holding the recessed barrels and displaying the balance and helical spring. The second series are thought to date from the 1850-70 period and display a much more delicate scroll frame but give more 'limelight' to the chronometer-inspired balance wheel and helical hairspring. One other transitional design is known to us, it is illustrated as figures 3.23a-d in Roberts, although this clock has a heavier frame than the current clock. Roberts states that there is bound to be some crossover in the dates of production of the three series and Liverpool directories only show James on his own at Gerard Street and Fraser Street from 1816 to 1823. Bearing in mind that the current clock is signed just for James (rather than Joseph of the more generic 'Condliff') it is not inconceivable that this clock is in fact a very early prototype for the second series frame dating from the 1820s.
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