Coming up on Wednesday 13 September, we have our auction of Fine Clocks, Barometers and Scientific Instruments. Here we take a look at some of the highlights.
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A rare Swiss miniature shagreen mounted silver petit sonnerie striking and repeating carriage clock
Lot 133, is a rare Swiss miniature shagreen mounted silver petit sonnerie striking and repeating carriage clock. The inscription to the backplate indicates that it was once the property of Ellen Willmott, one of the most significant female horticulturalists of the late 19th century and early 20th centuries. Born in 1858, Willmott, together with her parents and sister, built Warley Place within extensive landscaped grounds after benefitting from a substantial inheritance from Ellen's Aunt, Countess Helen Tasker, who died in 1888.
Ellen's skill and dedication in developing the gardens at Warley led her to support plant-hunting expeditions and collect new species for planting; it was the introduction of non-native specimens, such as Veronica prostrata 'Warley Blue', Potentilla nepalensis 'Miss Willmott', and Syringa vulgaris 'Miss Ellen Willmott', that she became best known for.
The gardens at Warley were held in such high regard that they were subsequently visited by Queen Mary, Queen Alexandra, and Princess Victoria. Ellen Willmott was also further recognised for her talent by her peers, receiving the Royal Horticultural Society's Victora Medal in 1897, the 'grande medaille Geoffroi St. Helaire' (from the Societe d'acclimation de France) in 1912 and the Hean Hole medal (from The National Rose Society) in 1914.
Lot 133: A rare Swiss miniature shagreen mounted silver petit sonnerie striking and repeating carriage clock, unsigned, circa 1900 | Est. £1,200-1,800 (+ fees)
A fine and rare pair-cased verge Fusee striking clock-watch by Thomas Tompion
Lot 233 is a fine and rare pair-cased verge Fusee striking clock-watch with a pierced and engraved scrolling foliate decoration to rear. Circa 1697, the clock-watch was made by Thomas Tompion, who has often been referred to as the ‘father of English clock and watchmaking’ and when considering the legacy of his work and influence on subsequent generations, such a compliment is justly deserved.
Born in Ickwell, Suffolk in 1639, Thomas Tompion appears to have developed an affinity for metalworking from his father, also named Thomas, who worked as a blacksmith. By 1670 Tompion had moved to London and was working in the clock and watchmaking trade. Although there is no record of his apprenticeship or whether he received any formal training prior to moving to London, he quickly became established and obtained his freedom of the Clockmaker's Company in late 1671. His early clocks demonstrate a close working relationship with the Fromanteel, East and Knibb workshops. His excellent craftsmanship was showcased through many Royal commissions, firstly from Charles II for whom Tompion is known to have made one of the earliest balance-spring watches in 1676 and later William III who ordered numerous clocks to furnish his various palaces throughout his reign.
Lot 233: A fine and rare pair-cased verge Fusee striking clock-watch, Thomas Tompion, London, circa 1697, the dial and cases later | Est £3,000-5,000 (+ fees)
A fine rare George III twelve-tune musical table clock
Also offered, Lot 244, is a fine rare George III twelve-tune musical brass mounted mahogany table clock with double automaton by Thomas Monkhouse, circa 1775. Clearly a very skilled maker, Thomas Monkhouse appeared to specialise in the production of musical and chiming clocks. This piece plays a delightful choice of twelve tunes via an 11 inch pinned cylinder on thirteen bells with twenty-four hammers transversely mounted across the top of the mechanism. The most relevant tune being 'The Waterman', which is from a comic opera of 1774 by Charles Dibdin.
The curved silvered plate is engraved with other melody selections including Cassino, Minuet, Cicely Badger, Sukey bids Me, Minuet, Scots Bonnet, March, Berks of Abergeld, Langolee, Air de Jolie and The Egg Hornpipe. Below the curved silvered plate is a fine painted scene of a quintet incorporating triple-action automaton features to simulate playing of string instruments. Set on a gallery over recess painted with backdrop of a crowd with two companion male a female automata figures with articulated waists appearing from each side and moving to simulate dancing whilst the music is in play, flanked by curtain-draped columns.
‘Tho:'s Monkhouse, London’ is engraved on the 9 inch arched brass dial which is painted with an English arcadian landscape with figure tending sheep before a lake and castle.
Lot 244: A fine rare George III twelve-tune musical brass mounted mahogany table clock with double automaton, Thomas Monkhouse, London, circa 1775 | Est. £12,000-18,000 (+ fees)
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Wednesday 13 September, 10.30am BST
Donnington Priory, Newbury, Berkshire RG14 2JE
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