A very rare third quarter of the 17th century architectural ebony table clock Samuel Knibb, London
Lot 67*
A very rare third quarter of the 17th century architectural ebony table clock Samuel Knibb, London
Sold for £457,250 (US$ 767,762) inc. premium
Auction Details
A very rare third quarter of the 17th century architectural ebony table clock Samuel Knibb, London A very rare third quarter of the 17th century architectural ebony table clock Samuel Knibb, London A very rare third quarter of the 17th century architectural ebony table clock Samuel Knibb, London A very rare third quarter of the 17th century architectural ebony table clock Samuel Knibb, London A very rare third quarter of the 17th century architectural ebony table clock Samuel Knibb, London A very rare third quarter of the 17th century architectural ebony table clock Samuel Knibb, London A very rare third quarter of the 17th century architectural ebony table clock Samuel Knibb, London A very rare third quarter of the 17th century architectural ebony table clock Samuel Knibb, London A very rare third quarter of the 17th century architectural ebony table clock Samuel Knibb, London A very rare third quarter of the 17th century architectural ebony table clock Samuel Knibb, London
Lot Details
A very rare third quarter of the 17th century architectural ebony table clock
Samuel Knibb, London
The veneered case originally with a turntable base, and with a triangular pediment to the front and back so that it can be viewed 'in the round', surmounted by twin raised rectangular panels, over long glazed side apertures to an ogee moulded base, the rear door glazed (now painted all over in a 20th century painted matt finish) the dial measuring 21.3cms (8 and 3/8ths of an inch) square with a lightly scored single line border enclosing the engraved floral corner pieces, each decorated with between 3 and five flowerheads or buds including a dog rose, tulips, lillies and daisy-like flowers, the upper left hand quadrant is further enriched by the presence of a hovering dragonfly, signed along the lower edge 'Samuel Knibb Londini fec:', the chapter ring 1 inch in width with an outer Arabic minute track, each five-minute numeral centred by a radial line including the 5, with trident half hour marks and inner quarter hour track, the very finely matted centre with a large engraved Tudor rose with intricately shaded detailing, with the original finely fettled steel hands, the dial secured to the movement via four latched dial feet (two latches now replaced with pins) the movement with split frontplate, secured via ten knopped and finned pillars, all latched to the frontplate, the going train previously with bolt and shutter maintaining power to the verge escapement now converted to silk suspension, but retaining the original back cock secured with a single screw, the strike train with small countwheel mounted high on the backplate striking on the bell, signed in an upward curve on the otherwise plain backplate Samuell Knibb, Londini fecit (sic), the movement set on a pair of heavy brass strips let into the top of the seatboard and originally secured to the strips via two L-shape brackets, the brackets now lacking, but holes in strips and backplate present. 41.2cms (16.25ins) high.

Footnotes

  • Samuel Knibb (1625-c.1670) worked in London for eight of the first twelve years of the pendulum clock. He is a particularly enigmatic figure in the world of antiquarian horology - his known work can be counted on the fingers of one hand. But it is not only the rarity of his work that tantalises, it is also the remarkable similarity of his work to that of his contemporary, Ahasuerus Fromanteel. The published clocks by him comprise:

    1. A Dutch-striking architectural table clock, c1666. Private Collection, exhibited Horological Masterworks Exhibition, The Museum of the History of Science, Oxford March, exhibit 17 - June 2003. See also Dawson Drover Parks, Early English Clocks, ACC 1982, plates 130-136, 194-199. This is the sister clock to the cupola clock by Ahasuerus Fromanteel, see Dawson Drover Parks, (ibid) plate 193.

    2. Kingwood and cocuswood quarter striking longcase clock. Private collection, formerly in the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle. Illustrated in Lee, The Knibb Family Clockmakers, Manor House Press, 1964, page 13.

    3. A Dutch-striking ebony architectural table clock, c1665-1670. Illustrated in Dawson, Drover, Parkes: Early English Clocks, Antiques Collectors Club, 1982 plates 212, 141 and 142. Possibly originally with crossbeat escapement. Collection of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers.

    4. A miniature ebony architectural longcase timepiece. Private collection. Exhibited 'The first twelve years of the English Pendulum Clock, Fromanteel and their Contemporaries' exhibit 16, R.A. Lee 1969.

    As well as these clocks, there is a trigonometrical Calculating Machine, produced in conjunction with Henry Sutton in 1664 in the collection of the Science Museum, London.

    The catalogue of Horological Masterworks (ibid) notes that there are five clocks known by him, but at this point in time, it has not been possible to track down the fifth example.

    Samuel Knibb began his clockmaking in Newport Pagnell, a small town about 50 miles north west of London in 1655, where it is suggested that he took on his younger cousin Joseph as an apprentice. He was recorded in Westminster in 1662 and became a member of the Clockmakers' Company by redemption in July 1663. Once established in London, he took two apprentices, George Tipping in 1664 and John Miller in 1667.

    The work of Samuel is so closely linked in style to that of Ahasuerus Fromanteel, and Samuel's output so small, that it is almost impossible to think that there was not some form of working relationship between the two. The 'Cupola' Knibb (item 1 referred to earlier) is probably the most compelling evidence of this, but there is also more; Samuel's miniature timepiece longcase, exhibited by Lee in 1969 (item 4 referred to earlier), for instance, has its pendulum suspended from a block with a graduated regulation dial, in the same manner as some of the early Fromanteels - see also lot 69 in this sale.




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  1. Charles Crisford
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  2. James Stratton
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    Bonhams
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