- Museum number
Quarter-chiming marquetry long-case clock
Long-case with walnut veneer and marquetry inlay on an oak carcass.
Hood: Flat-top rising hood. Ebonized asymmetrical barley-twist columns front and rear with gold-painted bases and capitals. Marquetry inlay to the border surrounding dial and the convex moulding below.
Trunk: Marquetry inlay to plinth, door and door border. Glazed oval lenticel with gilded border.
Square brass dial with hours, minutes, seconds (below XII) and date (above VI).
Square brass dial plate with applied cast brass cherub spandrels, silvered chaptered ring and silvered seconds chapter ring. Dial plate matted within the main chapter ring, with ringed winding holes and ringing around seconds hand. Dial plate engraved with foliate motifs on outside edges between spandrels and scrollwork around date aperture.
Weight driven eight day movement with three trains for going, hour-striking and quarter-chiming.
Rectangular movement plates with 6 knopped and finned pillars, fully latched.
Going train: four wheels with anchor escapement.
Chiming train: 5 wheels (inc fly). Released at the quarter-hour by 4 pins on minute wheel, integral count-wheel control on pin barrel. 6 bells.
Striking train: 5 wheels (inc fly) released at the hour by the chime barrel, controlled by a count-wheel mounted on the great wheel.
Great wheel 96
Centre wheel 60, pinion 8
Intermediate wheel 56, pinion 8
Escape wheel 30, pinion 7
Canon wheel 42
Minute wheel (with quarter release pins) 42, pinion 6
Hour wheel 72, pinion 24
Calendar wheel 48
Great wheel 96
Pin barrel /count-wheel 60, pinion 8
Hoop wheel 48, 6
Warning wheel 48, pinion 6
Fly pinion 7
Great wheel (with count-wheel) 78
Pin wheel 48, pinion 8
Hoop wheel 48, pinion 6
Intermediate wheel 42, pinion 6
Fly pinion 6
- Production date
Height: 210 centimetres
Width: 48 centimetres
Depth: 25 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- Style of the case
The clock case is a good example of a transitional style of marquetry. It shows elements of both the earlier William and Mary marquetry style (bold, broad, bird and flower motifs) and the later, “seaweed” style (dense, busy, symmetrical, formal) that is associated with Queen Anne period. This represents an important change in the stylistic development of clock cases, during which they were becoming increasingly accepted as items of integrated décor in the home, having been preceded by a period of austere styling after the introduction of the pendulum in 1657 (i.e. when more emphasis was placed on their vastly improved timekeeping over their decorative potential). The case has been subject to restoration and much of its probable original colour has been lost and altered but this does not obscure the study of transition of the motifs.
The case form also shows some transitional features. Before c.1690, the large mouldings between hood and trunk and between trunk and base were, in general, convex in form. After c.1700 these were, in general, concave. This case retains the convex form between hood and trunk, but has a hybrid concave-convex form between trunk and base.
The moulding between hood and trunk has marquetry, rather than plain veneer, which is a sign of good quality (with the fitting of inlay on curves being particularly challenging and more expensive to produce). Also, in lesser clocks, plain wooden veneers might be found on the surfaces surrounding the trunk and hood doors and at top of hood - in this clock there is marquetry.
In addition to striking the hours, this clock far more unusually also chimes the quarters (i.e. a short musical phrase played on several tuned bells). Quarter-chiming longcase clocks pre-dating the 18th century are rare.
The signature, “Markwick London”
There were two clockmakers by the name of James Markwick, father and son working in London in the period that this clock was made. James Markwick I was made Free of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers in 1666 (after which date he could have signed his own clocks) and died in c.1716. James Markwick II was made Free in 1692 and went into partnership with son-in-law Robert Markham in 1725 (after which their clocks would have been co-signed “Markwick Markham”).
This clock which can be dated by its style to c.1695 could therefore have been made by either maker. An argument has been made for James Markwick I based on the signature. Another argument has been made for James Markwick II based on other similar examples that are positively attributable. Further research may clarify this, however as the son succeeded the father there is a high probability that there were never two discrete businesses. This in itself makes the clock a useful case study for students of horology.
- On display (G39/od)
- Latest: 2 (2017) 2017 JAN Initial assessment: Catch for rising hood needs reattaching to case (Philip Kevin did as part of casework). Slightly dirty. Some corrosion on hands. Calendar ring silvering very worn with scratches. Previous break (and solder repair) to hour bell and largest quarter bell. Winding clicks loose. Chime not reliably lifting all hammers, some rust on chime pins. Several previous soft solder repairs evident on wheelwork (chime train hoop wheel, minute wheel). Exit pallet has been refaced in the past. Pivots very scratched, and shoulders of some pivots deeply scratched and worn. Previous bushing had been left with unfinished edges, possibly causing this damage. Front pivot on chime train fly is short ÔÇô previous break? Some bushing needed. The front pin hole of the chime train quarter lifter is split Work carried out: Corrosion removed from hands. Verdigris removed from spandrels. Dial cleaned with distilled water. Calendar ring resilvered (but surface not refinished). It is possible that the wear was caused by the ring rubbing on either one of the seconds ring posts,or the top retaining slot for the calendar ring. Photos were taken, and future wear should be compared with this in mind. Movement cleaned with petroleum ether, and some parts with acetone. Previous lacquer on plates was already patchy and streaky. Pivots refinished as necessary, 4 pivot holes bushed, (Front going great wheel, rear chime pin wheel, front strike intermediate and fly), but in each case replacing earlier bush or working within previously bushed hole, so removing no extra original material. Also bushed the pin hole on hammer 6, which was not picking up reliably as the hole was too large. Strike great wheel click not safe, stored in components removed. New click made. The front pin hole of the chime train quarter lifter is split, but not under much pressure, so it was left as is. Some of the leather and wood washers between the bells were replaced with new leather to help hold the bells in the correct position, (old pieces retained). The wire lines were replaced with gut lines, wire lines to components removed. Movement oiled with HP-SYNT 1300 and Moebius 8300. (LCT)
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Accepted in lieu of Inheritance Tax by H M Government and allocated to the British Museum in 2016.
The announcement of the Acceptance was officially made at the Mostyn Tompion winding event at the BM on 23rd Febnruary 2017.
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number