- Museum number
GILT-BRASS AND LEATHER CASED VERGE QUARTER-STRIKING COACH WATCH WITH QUARTER-REPEAT AND ALARM WITH KEY.
Circular gilt-brass plates with four baluster pillars. Gilt-brass barrel with ratchet and click set-up mounted beneath the front-plate. Fusee with chain and standard stop-work. Four wheel going train terminating with a verge escapement. Brass 3-arm balance with a spiral balance spring, the index mounted centrally on the balance-bridge and its scale engraved around one side of the gilt-brass bridge.
The rack controlled quarter striking mechanism is powered by a fixed barrel and also functions as the repeating mechanism when the train is released by a lever in the side of the dial plate. There is also a strike/silent lever in the dial-plate.
Alarm train driven by a fixed barrel and released by a pin on the hour wheel. Both alarm and striking trains have geared stop-work mounted on the back-plate.
DIAL & HANDS
Gilt-brass dial-plate with a white enamel chapter-ring with an outer circle of minutes numbered 0-60 surrounding Roman hours I-XII. In the centre a white enamel alarm-setting disc with hours 1-12 around a circle for the quarters. Gilt-metal hour and minute hands, the minute hand not original.
Gilt-brass dust-cap engraved on the back to identify the winding squares and with a pierced aperture to allow access to the regulator on the balance bridge.
Leather covered brass case with gilt-brass rims, hinge and pendant. The back is centred with a piece of mother-of-pearl with an engraved star in the middle. The band is pierced with a series of roundels and both the band and bezel have gilt-metal piqué pins. in the back of the case a bell screwed to a square boss.
Attached to the pendant is a double ended brass and steel winding key.
- Production date
Diameter: 103.50 millimetres
- 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- The following text is the entry for this object from the unpublished catalogue of pre-pendulum clocks by John Leopold, former Assistant Keeper of Horology at the Museum.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.
"GOTHIC" CLOCK (FAKE).
Ilbert No. 312 Q: ex G.Benet(sic!) 1947, previously ex Harper coll.
Bennet (1951) 331.
AH 1 No.2 (March 1954) 18 (fig.,6th from right).
Hillary (1955) 369.
Britten 7 (1956) 23.
Exhib.cat. London 1958 no.11.
Cat.Ilbert (1958) no.241.
Loyd (1962) 178-9 (denounces the clock as a fake).
Royer-Collard (1969) 3 (thinks it is OK).
Ex.cat.London (1990) No.221.
NB: check Britten 8 (1973): was it removed?
No signature or mark.
Posted frame movement of gothic construction, made entirely of steel. Two circular rings connected by six decorative pillars which hook into the bottom ring and are retained by the top ring, being locked in position by wedges. The two side pillars are more elaborate than the others. The rings are bent out of strip, dovetailed and brazed at the join. Both rings have a cross bar to hold the cantre bar of the movement; these cross-bars are brazed in position (at the bottom one end is loose).
The front and rear bars hook into the bottom ring and are pinned over extensions of the top cross bar. The centre bar is held in slots in both cross bars.
The bottom ring forms part of the hexagonal base. This consists of a lower part and an upper part, each raised out of sheet and brazed together, the join being covered by a ring. The lower ring of the movement was brazed to the top of the upper part of the base.
The top structure clips into the ends of the pillars. It's main portion is made of two parts, each split three ways, and forged together; a hexagonal top ornament covers part of the join.
The dial consists of the chapterring made of sheet, to which a thicker outer ring has been riveted. The dial is held friction-tight by two pins on the front bar. The chapterring has been painted red, with white gothic numerals.
All wheels of the going train and the great wheel of the striking run in brass bushes.
All wheels have three crossings, except the hour-hand wheel which has four chunky ones. All wheels are made in a single piece, cut from sheet.
4 ║ 48 48
── ║ ── ── 21 (x 2)
12-hour ← 48 ║ 7 6
Great wheel: one pin for unlocking the striking. There is a cord wheel with a comma-shaped face-click acting on the crossings. The pinion-of-report is a lantern cut into the end of the arbor.
2nd wheel: positioned in the middle of the bar, leaving little room for the lower end of the verge.
Heavy castelated balance (two weights were added to make it heavier). The top pivot is underneath the balance; it is pivoted in an arm which is riveted to the top cross-bar. The gallows is an extention of the rear movement bar which also integral with the bell-stand.
Hour-hand wheel: the hand is friction-tight on the wheel, which is pinned over a stud on the front bar. The hand is of steel, with a brass, pointer riveted to it.
4 ║ 48 48 48
── ║ ── ── ──
12-hour ← 52 ║ 8 6 6
Great wheel: 6 lifting pins. There is a cord wheel with a comma-shaped face-click acting on the crossings. The pinion-of-report is a lantern cut into the end of the arbor.
2nd wheel: single cam.
3rd wheel: pin for locking.
Fly: heavy steel fly.
Countwheel: held on its stud by a spring-washer.
The hammer is loaded by a flat spring riveted to the bottom ring; it banks against a flat spring riveted to the top ring of the movement.. Both the hammer arbor and the detend have a hook-shaped arm, ostensibly to carry extra weights.
Unwarned sriking with unlocking off the great wheel of the going, hammer lifting on the great wheel of the striking, overlift off the 2nd and locking on the 3rd wheel.
The clock has not been converted in any way.
Hight - 550 mm
Width - 181 mm
Movement: distance between the cross bars - 168 mm
distance between the bars, going train - 45 mm
striking train - 45 mm
Going train: great wheel - 1 rev. per hour.
Escapement - 2304 beats per hour.
Striking train: great wheel - 13 revs. per 12 hours.
HISTORY AND PROVENANCE.
Coll. Francis Harper. The clock is mentioned in the Hon. George Bennet's description of The Francis Harper Collection of Chamber Clocks (undated typescript, private coll.): it is no.2 of the collection, which "is built on the lines of a Gothic monstrance, and may be safely dated about 1480 .... the top formed of elaborately crocheted arches". The Harper collection was dispersed by the hon.George Bennet in 1947.
Ilbert collection; Ilbert acquired the clock in 1947 from Bennet. Ilbert's ledger, 312 Q, describes the clock as: "Fine complete Gothic. 6 sided frame. Unusual base. Ex Harper Collection. c 1500.".
Presented by Mr.Gilbert Edgar C.B.E. in 1958; reg. CAI 2055.
The history of the recognition of this clock as a fake is somewhat complicated. When in 1953 the so-called Simoni clock, an early alarm clock, was exhibited in the Science Museum, it was described by Drover (Drover ) 1). Bennet did not believe it was very early and wrote a reaction, illustrating it with pictures of two other, equally weird "early" clocks from the Harper collection (Bennet ). Then Edwardes stepped in, condemning Bennet's clocks as fakes (Edwardes ). There the matter appears to have rested.
For the time being the present clock had stayed out of the controversy, partly perhaps out of respect for Ilbert. It continued to be regarded as genuine, and appears as such in Britten 7 (1956). It was not until 1962 that Lloyd, in his important article on gothic clocks (Lloyd ), convincingly argued that it was a fake. Curiously, Royer Collard apears to have continued to believe it was genuine (Royer Collard ), but in 1972 Clutton removed the clock from Britten 8 (1973), and that was the end of the matter.
There are many reasons why this clock is to be considered a fake. Its general design is unlikely, and although there is some corrosion there is no trace of the layered structure of early steel. The wheels are made in one piece (they do not have separate band and crossings) and have three in stead of the usual four crossings. The pinion of 7 on the 2nd wheel of the going would be acceptable in a French gothic clock, but this one has the general built of a German clock (see Introduction). The fact that the gallows and the bell-stand are integral with the rear bar is also higly suspect. Another telling point is the fact that the 2nd wheel of the going is planted directly under the verge and not off-set as is usual. This is impractical, because it leaves little room for the end of the verge. The top structure is purely decorative and serves no purpose, since the top ring of the frame is held by wedges.
Many details, however, are correct, and it seems likely therefore that the maker was familiar with a German gothic clock, perhaps an incomplete one.
1) For the Simoni clock see also the reactions by Howgrave-Graham and Simoni (quoting letters from F.W.Britten in 1939 and from G.H.Baillie in 1948), and an answer by Drover, HJ (October 1953) 651-656, and replies by Bennet and Simoni HJ (November 1953) 731-733.
Where is the bell? It is still present in the Ilbert cat.
Notes on the backs of photographs of other clocks of this group (and doubtless from the same collection) show that Benett sold them, partly through Malcolm Gardner, in 1947 (notes P.G.C.).
Two more, equally weird, 'gothic' clocks in Bennet (1953) 562-3 [Hon.G.W.Bennet, "Clocks early .... and otherwise", HJ 95 no. 1140 (September 1953) 562-3]. This article was triggered by Drover's description of the Simoni clock, HJ 95 1139 (August 1953) 496-7; see reactions by Howgrave-Graham and Simoni (quoting letters from F.W.Britten in 1939 and from G.H.Baillie in 1948), and an answer by Drover, HJ 95 no. 1141 (October 1953) 651-656, and replies by Bennet and Simoni HJ 95 no.1142 (November 1953) 731-733.
The clocks illustrated in Bennet (1953) were then condemned as fakes by Edwardes in HJ 95 no.1143 (December 1953) 829-31. This appears to have put a stop to the discussion.
All this does not appear to have influenced the thoughts about CAI 2055, which continued to be regarded a genuine piece.
Another weirdity from Bennet's collection is illustrated in Bertele (1953) 805 (in the same issue as Edwardes' article!).
Bennet (1953) fig.1 seems to be the same clock as the one illustrated in Bentley (1965) 52, with the bells reversed; it was then in castle Bunratty, Ireland. Bentley reckons it is in Gothic style, made in Ireland.
Ilbert appears not to have doubted the clock, and showed it a few times. It may have been in the "Ideal Home" Exhibition, London, 1948 (see Introduction).
BIBLIOGRAPHY (Pauline Wholey – 2019)
Bennet (1951)`Were Gothic Clocks ever made in England?' HJ 93 no.1112 (May 1951) 331 2 (report on a lecture by Hon.G.Bennet).
Drover (1954) C.B.Drover, `The first ordinary Meeting of the Society', AH 1 No.2 (March 1954) 17 18.
Hillary (1955) E.Hillary, `The Ilbert Collection', HJ 97 no.1161 (June 1955) 366 9; no.1162 (July 1955) 432 5. (check this further!)
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).
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.
Lloyd (1962) H.A.Lloyd, `Gothic Clocks', The Antique Collector (June 1962) 125 131, (August 1962) 174 179.
Royer Collard (1969) F.B.Royer-Collard, Skeleton Clocks (London 1969).
Saunier (1903) - C.Saunier, Die Geschichte der Zeitmesskunst von den ältesten Zeiten bis zur Gegenwart, translation by G.Speckhart (Bautzen 1903).
- Not on display
Latest: 3 (Jul 2018)
- Acquisition date
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Previous owner/ex-collection number: CAI.0255 (Ilbert Collection)
Previous owner/ex-collection number: D87 (Ilbert Ledger)