- Museum number
Weight-driven wall clock with alarm and hour striking.
Brass wall lantern clock; verge escapement with balance; weight-driven; alarum mechanism mounted on the exterior of the back-plate; striking-train (hours only).
Great wheel 56
Second wheel 54 pinion 7
Crown wheel 19 pinion 6
Extended gt wheel arbor with pinion of 4 driving hour-wheel of 48.
Great wheel. 56 With 8 pins. Pinion of report of 4 drives count wheel of 39.
Hoop wheel 56 pinion 7
Warning wheel 54 pinion 6
Crown wheel. 17
- Production date
Height: 43.90 centimetres
Width: 14.80 centimetres
Depth: 14.70 centimetres
- Curator's comments
The following text is the entry for this object from the unpublished catalogue of pre-pendulum clocks by John Leopold, former Assistant Keeper of Horology at the Museum. This information is unedited and should be used accordingly.
LANTERN CLOCK, BY WILLIAM BOWYER.
Ilbert No. 333 Q: ex Clowes, May 1943: ex Drummond Robertson and Iden.
Britten 3 (1911) 458, 460 (J.Drummond Robertson)
Britten 4 (1919) 205, 207.
Britten 5 (1922) 477, 479.
Drummond Robertson (1931) 135.
Britten 6 (1932) 521, 523 (dito)
Cescinsky (1938) 23 (no owner but thanks Iden in preface).
Exhib.cat. Birmingham 1953-4 No.4.
Britten 7 (1956) 25.
Exhib.cat. London 1958 No.17.
Cat.Ilbert (1958) No.31.
Dawson etc. (1958) 162-163 (ex Drummond Robertson).
Gardner (1958) 197.
Tait (1968) 28-9, pl.20-21.
Blakemore (1969) 155
Britten 8 (1972) 25.
Abeler (1975) 57.
Britten 3 2 (1977) 344.
Jagger (1977) 101.
Pearson (1979) 18.
Smith (1979) 249.
Britten 9 (1982) 26.
Dawson etc. (1982) 59, 62, 67.
Hutchinson (1983) no.43.
Tait (1983) 19, front cover.
Cat. Iden (1987) 200-201.
White (1989) 67, 86, 101 (fig.126), 500 ff.
Hooper (1998) 124 (considers this one of the early Bowyers).
Also: P.Macquoid & R.Edwards, The Dictionary of English Furniture II 100.
Compare HJ July 1924 p.218: Bowyer clock in Webster coll.
Analysis of hoop wheel, countwheel and "Back Strike Plate": White (1989) 500 ff.
Engraved at the bottom of the dial plate: "William * Bowyer * fecit". Engraved at the foot of the left-rear pillar (rear side), engraved "VII" (across the base of the pillar, the edge of the plate and the top of the foot) 1).
Scratched on the back of the dial plate: "William White May 21(?) 1811".
Scratched on the inside of the left door: "Tims Decmber 4 1844". Scratched on the dial side of the front bar: "T Bowles 1862".
Case and dial.
Lantern clock, consisting of a posted frame movement to which have been fitted four vertical panels, three frets and a bellstrap with bell: these parts together constitute the case, constructed largely of brass.
The front vertical panel is secured at the bottom by two lugs on the panel, which fit into holes in the bottom plate of the movement, and at the top by two pins in the top plate. The panel is engraved at the corners with flowers, at the centre with a ring of flowers, tendrils and strapwork, and at the bottom with the signature. The silvered chapterring, pinned by four feet, is marked I - XII with small stars as half-hour marks. In the middle of the dial is the silvered alrm disc, engraved I - XII with small stars as half-hour marks around a six-petalled rose. On the chapter ring the heavy strokes of the figures X in X, XI and XII are reversed (IX is conventional). On the alarm disc the X's in IX, X and XI are reversed. There is a steel hour hand.
Back panel of brass, with the alarm mechanism attached. There are no traces of spurs on the plate, which is probably a replacement.
There are plain brass doors, hinged between the movement plates. The hinge pins at the top of both doors have been repaired, that on the right hand in steel. The latches inside the doors are of steel. The doors are replacements.
Three frets, pierced in the traditional strapwork design, are screwed (two screws each) to the top plate of the movement. The side frets are plain, but the front one is engraved, and its back has bits of trial engraving.
The cast bell strap is sprung by steel pins into the top finials of the movement. The bell is attached by a steel screw which is secured by the top finial. This finial is similar to the corner ones, with a cylindrical base ("cotton reel", see Commentary).
Posted frame movement, constructed largely of brass. Two rectangular plates connected at the corners by turned pillars, which are screwed at top and bottom by turned finilas and feet. The steel suspension hoop is riveted to the top of the top plate (two steel rivets).
All wheels have four crossings except the dial-wheel, which is solid. All pivot holes have been rebushed.
4 ║ 56 54
── ║ ── ── 19 (x 2)
12-hour ← 48 ║ 7 6
Great wheel: cordwheel with a brass and a steel disc; steel face click mounted on the steel disc, acting on the crossings of the wheel. The pinion-of-report is squared on the end of the arbor, and is original.
Escapement: brass wheel balance and brass cock..
Dial wheel: brass wheel mounted on the arbor with a steel spring-disc; the arbour carries the brass starwheel for unlocking the striking. On the arbor rides the brass unlocking piece of the alarm, being held against the wheel by a steel spring washer.
4 ║ 56 54 54
── ║ ── ── ──
12-hour ← 39 ║ 7 6 6
Great wheel: 8 lifting pins. Cordwheel with one brass disc and a steel one, the steel disc with a steel face-click acting on the crossings of the wheel.
2nd wheel: single brass hoop, riveted to the band of the wheel.
3rd wheel: one steel pin for warning.
Heavy brass fly.
Countwheel: steel disc with brass wheel.
Warned striking, with locking and indexing on the 2nd wheel and warning on the 3rd.
The alarm assembly is mounted on the back plate; there is a steel stirrup around the verge to hold the wheel.
17 (x 2)
Scapewheel: brass cord wheel with face-click acting on the crossings of the wheel.
The cordwheel has two brass discs. The inside of the outer one has remains of engraving for a lunar volvelle (re-used brass).
Steel detend, pivoted in holes in the dial plate and in the back plate.
Wheel and verge, and probably also the detend, are replacements.
Although White (1989) 105 states that no undisputably original escapements survive in lantern clocks of this period. This is undoubtedly true as far as the actual verge is concerned, but otherwise there is a large consensus that a few clocks remain very largely untouched. Indeed the present clock has long been held to be the only unconverted lantern clock in existance. There are no traces of filled holes in the top plate, which one would expect to have become visible in view of the fact that any conversion would have been made more than a half century ago, and the scape wheel seems entirely similar to the other train wheels.
Going train: great wheel - 1 rev. per hour.
escapement - 2736 beats per hour.
Striking train: great wheel - 9.75 revs. per 12 hours.
The great wheels of the going train and the wheel of the alarm revolve anti-clockwise; the great wheel of the striking clockwise.
Clock: hight - 439 mm.
width - (movement plates) 148 mm.
depth - (movement plates) 147 mm.
Mouvement: distance between the plates - 154 mm.
distance between the bars, going - 54 mm.
striking - 43 mm.
HISTORY AND PROVENANCE.
Collection John Drummond Robertson; according to the Ilbert ledger "Bracket had rubber stamp on back with John D Robertson, 1877". Britten records the clock in the Robertson collection from 1911 until 1932.
Collection Walter Iden, who appears to have owned the clock by 1938. Iden sold his collection early in the war.
Ilbert collection; Ilbert's ledger 333 Q. Ilbert acquired the clock from Clowes (i.e. Charles Frodsham) in May 1943; he mentions Drummond Robertson and Iden as previous owners.
Presented by Mr.Gilbert Edgar C.B.E. in 1958; reg. CAI 2094.
White classifies this as first period: 1620-40. Characteristic of this period are a.o. the use of cordwheels with one disc of brass and the other of steel, the steel one carrying the face click. Many lantern clocks of this period have the figures X reversed.
For William Bowyer, of Leadenhall Street, London, see White (1989) 111-4. He is one of the best known makers of early lantern clocks. The earliest reference to this maker is in 1621 (date on a clock); he was a founder member of the Clockmakers Company in 1630, and is last mentioned in 1653.
The top finial is of the type more commonly found in clocks that have the bell secured by a pin through a lug on the bell (so-called "cotton reel" finial). There is however no doubt that the present construction is original.
1) Both plates have vice-marks, which could be mistaken for casting marks.
The back of the chapterring marked at the top "XII".
Striking detend brazed with yellow brazing.
The train wheels are squared on their arbors and riveted.
Alarm: the cordwheel back sic is pushed onto the pipe and then pinned to the rest of the wheel. The entire cordwheel is secured to the pipe of the wheel by a grubscrew running in a groove on the pipe.
BIBLIOGRAPHY (Pauline Wholey – 2019)
Tait (1983) H.Tait, Clocks and Watches (London 1983).
Iden (1987) P.G.Dawson, The Iden Clock Collection (Woodbridge 1987).
Smith (1979) A.Smith ed., The Country Life International Dictionary of Clocks (London etc. 1979).
Hooper (1998) - J.Hooper, `William Bowyer, great clock maker', AH 24 no.2 (Summer 1998) 122-133.
Britten 3 (1911) F.J.Britten, Old Clocks and Watches & their Makers (London 1911).
Britten 4 (1919) - F.J.Britten, Old Clocks & their Makers (London 1919). The author died 1913; this 4th edition (as well as the 5th and 6th) were edited by his daughter Annie M.Britten. Owing to post-war conditions the 4th edition was much reduced.
Britten 5 (1922) - F.J.Britten, Old Clocks and Watches & their Makers (London s.d.).
Britten 6 (1932) F.J.Britten, Old Clocks and Watches and their Makers (London 1932). See previous edition.
Britten 7 (1956) Britten's Old Clocks and Watches and their Makers, 7th ed. by G.H.Baillie, C.Clutton and C.A.Ilbert (London 1956).
Britten 8 (1973) –
Britten 9 (1982) Britten's Old Clocks and Watches and their Makers, edited by G.H.Baillie, Courtenay Ilbert, Cecil Clutton, 9th edition revised and enlarged by Cecil Clutton (London 1982).
Britten 3 2 (1977) The Antique Collector's Club edition of Old Clocks and Watches & their Makers (revised ed. of Britten 3, Woodbridge 1977).
Cescinsky (1938) H.Cescinsky, The Old English Master Clockmakers and their Clocks 1670 1820 (London 1938).
Robertson (1931) J.D.Robertson, The Evolution of Clockwork (London etc. 1931).
Birmingham 1953 4 Exhibition of British Watches and Clocks, City of Birmingham Museum of Science and Industry, 1953 4. Review of this exhib.: HJ 95 no.1142 (November 1953) 716 8.
London 1958 Pendulum to Atom, Goldsmiths Hall, London, 1958. For this exhib. see: HJ 100 no.1199 (August 1958) 491; HJ 100 no.1202 (November 1958) 711 718; HJ 100 no.1203 (December 1958) 816 820 (tribute to Coole at the end).
Ilbert (1958) Auction cat. coll. Courtenay A. Ilbert, London, Christie, 6 7 November 1958.
Dawson etc. (1958) P.G.Dawson, C.B.Drover, H.Quill, R.K.Foulkes, M.Hurst, L.Hurst, F.H.Knowles Brown & C.Clutton, `The Ilbert Collection of Clocks & Watches', AH 2 No.9 (December 1958) 161 178.
Gardner (1958) M.Gardner, `Carta de Londres', Quadernos de Relojeria ( 1958) 189 198.
Tait (1968) H.Tait, Clocks in the British Museum (London 1968).
Blakemore (1969) K.Blakemore, The Retail Jeweller's Guide (London 1969).
Abeler (1975) J.Abeler, Ulstein Uhrenbuch, eine Kulturgeschichte der Zeitmessung (Berlin etc. 1975).
Jagger (1977) C.Jagger, The World's great Clocks and Watches (London etc. 1977).
Pearson (1979) - M.Pearson, The Beauty of Clocks (New Malden, Surrey, 1979).
Dawson etc. (1982) P.G.Dawson, C.B.Drover & D.W.Parkes, Early English Clocks (Woodbridge 1982).
Hutchinson (1983) - B.Hutchinson, Orologi antichi (Milan 1983). Page numbers refer to the introduction, which is followed by numbered descriptions.
White (1989) G.White, English Lantern Clocks (Woodbridge 1989).
Text from 'Clocks', by David Thompson, London, 2004, p. 62.
London, c. 1630
Height 43.9 cm, width 14.8 cm, depth 14.7 cm
In the sixteenth century, the wall-mounted, weight-driven chamber clock became a relatively common type in the Low Countries (Holland and Flanders). They were mostly constructed from iron and controlled by a balance wheel. The last quarter of the sixteenth century saw an influx into England of Protestant Flemish makers who brought with them their skills in making domestic clocks and, indeed, watches. It comes as no surprise therefore that a style of clock should develop in England which had its origins in the iron chamber clock and such clocks came to be known as lantern clocks. They have also been called 'sheep's-head' clocks and 'Cromwell' clocks, and it was to be a style which would last relatively unchanged for more than 150 years, first in London and other large cities, but increasingly in the country.
Designed to hang on a hook or stand on a bracket high up on the wall, these clocks commonly struck the hours on a large bell mounted at the top of the clock, which could be heard all over the house. The dial has a prominent chapter ring with large numerals and a single hand to register the hours and quarters. Mounted on the outside of the back plate is a small weight-driven alarm mechanism, which is set by turning a small dial in the middle of the main dial. The clock has a verge escapement controlled by a balance wheel and, while nearly all of these clocks were converted to pendulum control in the second half of the seventeenth century, this example has retained its original verge escapement and balance wheel.
William Bowyer lived in Leadenhall Street in the City of London and is thought to have been a member of the Joiners' Company. In 1632, however, he was a founder member of the Clockmakers' Company, becoming an Assistant in 1651 and Warden in 1653, the year in which he is thought to have died. He was principally a clockmaker and a number of his lantern clocks survive, as well as an interesting sundial made in 1630 for Governor John Endicott of Salem, Massachusetts. As a 'great' clockmaker he was probably not involved in the making of watches and there are no surviving examples bearing his name. In 1642 William Bowyer presented to the Clockmakers' Company a 'great chamber clock' in order that he might be excused holding any office in the company. He clearly changed his mind about this in later life when he did indeed hold office and it is likely that it was his death which prevented him becoming Master of the Company.
- On display (G38/dc4)
- Exhibition history
1999 1 Dec-2000 24 Sep, London, The Queen’s House, The Story of Time
Latest: 1 (Aug 1997)
3 (Apr 1999)
1 (Apr 1999)
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- The Ilbert Collection of clocks, prints and other related material was destined to be sold at Christie's auction house on 6th-7th November 1958. As a result of the generous donation of funds by Gilbert Edgar CBE the sale was cancelled and the material purchased privately from the beneficiaries of the Ilbert Estate.
Ilbert's watches were then acquired with further funds from Gilbert Edgar CBE, public donations and government funds. These were then registered in the series 1958,1201.
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Previous owner/ex-collection number: CAI.2094 (Ilbert Collection)
Previous owner/ex-collection number: Q333 (Ilbert Ledger)