Fine Clocks / A FINE AND RARE LATE 17TH CENTURY 'PHASE TWO' EBONY CASED QUARTER REPEATING STRIKING TABLE CLOCK THOMAS TOMPION, LONDON NO. 198, CIRCA 1692
£200,000 - £300,000
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A FINE AND RARE LATE 17TH CENTURY 'PHASE TWO' EBONY CASED QUARTER REPEATING STRIKING TABLE CLOCK
The 'Phase Two' style case surmounted by a bold gilt brass handle centred with a cast foliate bud on internal pommels with flowerhead bases set on a low caddy over elaborate cornice mouldings, the sides with silk-backed sound frets and long glazed apertures to a moulded base on block feet, the rear door with central glazed panel, the front with gilt brass escutcheons.
The 6 and 7/8ths inch rectangular dial with twin subsidiaries in the upper corners – the left for rise-and-fall regulation, the right for strike/not strike, flanking the signature Thomas Tompion, LONDINI, fecit within an oval wheat-ear border with further engraved scrollwork and twin rose heads in the subsidiaries, the silvered Roman and Arabic chapter ring with sword-hilt half-quarter marks, minute band, meeting-arrow-head half-hour marks and quarter-hour track enclosing the finely matted centre with chamfered mock pendulum aperture and blued steel hands, all framed by cherubs head spandrels to the lower corners with quadrant spandrels above.
The substantial eight-day movement united by seven knopped and finned pillars latched to the frontplate which is cut to accommodate Tompion's unique quarter repeating system. The going train with gut fusee to a pivoted verge escapement with long steel crutch to the pendulum with lenticular brass-bob, suspended on a spring and pinned to the massive rise-and-fall lever spanning the top of the backplate, with pendulum holdfast to the left of centre. The strike train with gut fusee and rack striking the hours via a facetted steel hammer on a large bell. The repeat train sounding the time to the nearest fifteen minutes by pulling a cord from either side of the case to engage a pair of pivoted repeat levers cocked on the left-hand side of the backplate. The elaborate backplate signed in a shaped wheatear cartouche Thomas Tompion, LONDINI, Fecit and punch-numbered 198 to the centre of the rear edge. The fully engraved foliate scroll backplate attributable to Engraver 155 (possibly Bartholemew le Maire, Engraver of His Majesty's Arms-in-Ordinary, working in Charing Cross between 1684-1698) and featuring his interlaced foliate scrolls with bold shading and crisp details in flowing patterns, with secret porpoise head in profile.
Sotheby's 13.12.1963, lot 87. Property of J.F.R. Peel, hammer price £3,000, together with the 'original' wall bracket.
Christies 5.7.1989 lot 32. Anonymous sale, hammer price £90,000. By this time, opinion was that the wall bracket was later.
Evans, J., Carter, J., Wright, B. (2013) Thomas Tompion 300 Years. Kent: White Horse Press, page 338.