A late 17th century ebony veneered bracket timepiece with pull quarter repeat Joseph Knibb, London

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Lot 114
A late 17th century ebony veneered bracket timepiece with pull quarter repeat
Joseph Knibb, London

Sold for £ 40,800 (US$ 50,649) inc. premium

Fine Clocks

13 Jun 2006, 14:00 BST

London, New Bond Street

A late 17th century ebony veneered bracket timepiece with pull quarter repeat
Joseph Knibb, London
Shallow caddy top surmounted by a foliate-tied handle of typical facetted section, each side set with a long rectangular glazed panel, the front door now with filled sound fret aperture and missing escutcheons, on a well moulded plinth base on (later) ball feet screwed into the typical solid base panel with grain running from side to side, the 6.25 inch square brass dial signed along the lower edge 'Joseph Knibb, London', with winged cherubs head spandrels enclosing the silvered chapter ring with outer arabic minute track, Roman hour numerals interspersed with fleur-de-lys half hour markers and inner quarter-hour track, to a finely matted centre, secured to the frontplate via four latched dial feet, the single gut fusee movement with rectangular plates united by boldly turned baluster pillars latched to the front plate, the verge escapement with knife edge suspension and pear shaped bob, repeating the hours on a large bell and the quarters on a smaller bell via a repeat cord from either side through the use of a pair of runners, the backplate engraved with entwined flower sprigs and centred by the slightly curving signature 'Joseph Knibb Londini fecit' 35cm (13.75in) high.

Footnotes

  • Joseph Knibb was born in 1640. It is assumed that he served his apprenticeship under his cousin Samuel Knibb in Newport Pagnell from 1655 to 1662. He began his independent career working just outside the City of Oxford, but by the mid 1660s had moved within its jurisdiction. There was some initial resentment to his becoming Free of the City and it was only through the support of the University, where he matriculated as a gardener, that he was granted Freedom in 1678 on payment of a fine of 20 nobles and a leather bucket.

    In 1670 Joseph moved to London, this was the same year that his past Master, Samuel who had moved to the capital in 1662, died, and it was natural that Joseph should carry on the family firm. London at this time, in the very early years of the development of the pendulum clock, provided a wonderful opportunity for an ambitious young man with an inventive horological brain. By 1677 he had earned such a reputation that he was commissioned to supply a turret clock for Windsor Castle. More royal work followed and in 1682 Knibb was paid for work carried out for Charles II. He took on nine apprentices, including John Drew in September 1676 (see lot 115) and Brouncker Watts in January 1684 (see lot 126). He was Assistant to the Clockmakers Company in 1689 and is well recorded in the Companys accounts until 1697 when he retired to Hanslop. He died in December 1711.

    Joseph Knibb is possibly best remembered for his pioneering work on the different methods used to strike and repeat the hours and quarters. The current timepiece illustrates this aspect of his work well, with its unusual straight rack, which, via a pair of pulleys can be activated from either side of the case. Holes in both vertical uprights to the front edges of the case indicate both that the case and movement are original to one another, and that this facility to operate the repeat from either side was found to be most useful.
A late 17th century ebony veneered bracket timepiece with pull quarter repeat Joseph Knibb, London
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