- Museum number
Table clock; eight-day spring-driven movement with fusees; going-train with verge escapement; short pendulum with lenticular bob; maintaining power activated by pushing the key onto the going-train winding square; striking-train for hours only; pull-quarter repeat mechanism; dial with subsidiary rings for 'rise and fall' pendulum regulation and strike/silent control; aperture for date and mock pendulum; silver spandrels; ebony-veneered oak case with gilded-brass mounts.
Gt wheel 96
Gt wheel 84
Pin wheel 66/8
3rd wheel 54/6
4th wheel 50/6
Gt wheel 52 with winding pinion of 8
2nd wheel 46/6
3rd wheel 42/6
- Production date
Height: 37 centimetres
Width: 21.50 centimetres
Depth: 15 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- Text from 'Clocks', by David Thompson, London, 2004, p. 102.
Quarter-repeating table clock
London, c. 1730
Height 37 cm, width 21.5 cm, depth 15 cm
George Graham, born either at Horsegills, Kirklington or at Fordlands in Irthlington, Cumberland in about 1673, was apprenticed to Henry Aske in London in 1688. He became a Freeman in the Clockmakers' Company in 1695 and worked for the celebrated maker Thomas Tompion. By 1711 Graham had clearly shown his ability and worth to his employer because, having married Tompion's niece Elizabeth in 1704, he was taken into partnership and ran the business until Tompion's death in 1713. Graham continued the business after Tompion's death and himself became Master of the Clockmakers' Company in 1722. He died in 1751, having trained a number of apprentices, one of whom was Thomas Mudge, and was buried with Tompion in Westminster Abbey.
Graham's Fellowship of the Royal Society in 1720 was to some extent central to the improvements in horology which took place in the first half of the eighteenth century. A maker of some of the finest clocks of his generation, he was also a pioneer in the making of instruments for astronomical observation. He had studied astronomy himself, gave papers on the subject to the Royal Society, and his instrument making skills were second to none. In 1725 he supplied an eight-foot radius mural quadrant, mounted on a frame made by Jeremiah Sisson, to Edmund Halley at the Greenwich Observatory where it was to remain in use until 1750. Indeed, such was the esteem in which this instrument was held that it merited a whole chapter in Robert Smith's standard work, 'A Compleat system of opticks' published in 1738. Graham's other instruments include a transit instrument and a zenith sector for Halley's successor, James Bradley.
This example of Graham's work is a small ebony-veneered spring-driven table clock with pull-quarter repeat on two bells, numbered 689 in the clock series begun by Tompion and continued by Graham. If anything, the clock is rather old-fashioned in appearance but this style of clock did continue in English clockmaking until the end of the eighteenth century, so it must be assumed that there was a market for such restrained designs, albeit with rather fine silver spandrels at the dial corners. The two subsidiary dials at the top are for strike/silent on the right and regulation on the left.
One unique feature of this clock is the maintaining power system. Here, the maintaining power is activated by a lever which, in turn, is operated by the chamfered winding key as it is pushed onto the winding square.
- On display (G39/dc9)
- 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.NL1Ilbert'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.2116 (Ilbert Collection)
Previous owner/ex-collection number: Q286 (Ilbert Ledger)