A rare 19th century English brass striking skeleton clock depicting Tom Tower, Oxford Smith & Sons, Clerkenwell
Lot 29
A rare 19th century English brass striking skeleton clock depicting Tom Tower, Oxford Smith & Sons, Clerkenwell
Sold for £8,125 (US$ 13,805) inc. premium
Auction Details
A rare 19th century English brass striking skeleton clock depicting Tom Tower, Oxford Smith & Sons, Clerkenwell A rare 19th century English brass striking skeleton clock depicting Tom Tower, Oxford Smith & Sons, Clerkenwell
Lot Details
A rare 19th century English brass striking skeleton clock depicting Tom Tower, Oxford
Smith & Sons, Clerkenwell
Surmounted by the slightly curved cupola roof, complete with weather vane, over shaped finials, quatrefoils and other architectural details, the whole united by five heavy shouldered pillars screwed front and back, on a stepped oak base, the particularly elaborate pierced chapter ring with gothic Roman numerals engraved on interlinked shield shaped cartouches, with fancy pierced steel hands, the twin chain fusee movement with deadbeat escapement with passing strike on a bell on the half hour and a full strike on a coiled circular-section gong on the hour, the wheels of five crossings throughout, the pendulum with a central brass rod flanked by two steel rods to a double-brass faced lenticular bob centred by a steel flowerhead collet; all protected by a glazed dome the frame 49cms (19ins) high.

Footnotes

  • This clock shows exceptional attention to detail and finish, particularly on the frontplate where any visible part of the movement has benefitted from decorative treatment. The steelwork to the rack strike is particularly well shaped.

    A Smith and Sons price list for the "Christ Church, Oxford" model retailed for £12 in 1865.

    J. Smith & Sons are recorded as working as clockmakers in St. John's Square, Clerkenwell, circa 1850-1900. They were one of two clockmakers who probably produced more skeleton clocks than all the other makers put together. The Smiths regularly produced catalogues illustrating some of their skeleton clocks and exhibited their clocks at the Great Exhibition in 1851. By 1900, their production of skeleton clocks declined dramatically and, by 1914, production had vitually ceased.

    Tom Tower was named after the bell it houses 'Great Tom' and was rung at 9.00pm local mean time to signal the closing of the college gates. It was rung 101 times, representing the original 100 scholars, plus an additional ring added in the 17th century.
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