A rare third quarter of the 18th century mahogany longcase clock Thomas Mudge, London
Lot 27W
A rare third quarter of the 18th century mahogany longcase clock Thomas Mudge, London
Sold for £55,250 (US$ 88,678) inc. premium

Lot Details
A rare third quarter of the 18th century mahogany longcase clock Thomas Mudge, London A rare third quarter of the 18th century mahogany longcase clock Thomas Mudge, London
A rare third quarter of the 18th century mahogany longcase clock
Thomas Mudge, London
Surmounted by a ball finial on a concave-moulded socle over an elaborately moulded arched cornice, the hood door with concave moulded frame flanked by canted reeded corners, the long trunk door of good figure over a panelled base on double plinth, the 12 inch arched brass dial with strike/silent subsidiary in the arch flanked by bird and scroll quarter spandrels, the silvered Roman and Arabic chapter ring enclosing the matted centre with a large Arabic subsidiary seconds dial and applied oval nameplate over the chamfered date aperture, the weight driven movement with shouldered plates united by five knopped pillars, the anchor escapement with endstops to the pallet arbor and 'scape wheel arbor, with rack strike on a bell, the pendulum suspended via a T-bar on a steel rod terminating in a heavy brass-faced bob 2.21m (7ft 3ins) high.

Footnotes

  • Thomas Mudge (c1715-1794) is one of the outstanding horologists of the 18th century. He was apprenticed to George Graham on 4th May 1730 and after his Master's death in late 1750, published the following advertisement:

    "THOMAS MUDGE WATCHMAKER, late Apprentice to Mr Graham deceased, carries on Business in the same Manner Mr Graham did, at the Dial and One Crown, opposite the Bolt & Tun, Fleet Street"

    Graham, of course, had been an apprentice to Thomas Tompion and because of the apprenticeship system regulated by the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers, Mudge offers a direct link back to Tompion, the finest clockmaker of the late 17th century. Perhaps Mudge's greatest invention was the detached lever escapement, first seen in the mid 1750s lunar clock now held at the British Museum, but he is also revered for the quality of his work and the handful of outstanding marine chronometers produced later in his life. He was awarded funds from the Board of Longitude, was Watchmaker to the King and enjoyed the patronage of King George III, Count von Bruhl, Dr Johnson and King Ferdinand VI of Spain amongst others.

    Failing health meant that in 1771 Mudge retired from the London business and settled in Plymouth, on the south coast of England with his brother John. Here, he was able to concentrate fully on precision horology and after five years he completed his first marine timekeeper. After initial tests, the Board of Longitude awarded him 500 guineas and asked him to make another - he in fact made two, now referred to as 'Green' and 'Blue'. The chronometers did not perform as well as Mudge might have hoped, but this may well have been due to the treatment that they received under Neville Maskelyne the Astronomer Royal. This argument was still running publicly in the 1790s, with pamphlets published by both Mudge junior and Maskelyne.

    He was in partnership with William Dutton by the early 1760s, and a similar clock to the present lot with the original numbered winding key, numbered 201, was sold in these rooms in December 2012, lot 110. Another partnership longcase was sold in these rooms December 2009, lot 130 and a triple pad top bracket clock by the firm was sold in these rooms in December 2007, lot 155.

    His pre-Dutton output is very rare to find on the market today.
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