THIS large, 18in (45cm) high, London-made brass lantern clock, c.1660, proved the highlight of the recent single-owner estate sale conducted by Durrants of Beccles.
A sophisticated timekeeper sharing design
elements pioneered by Peter Closon of Holborn Bridge and Ahasuerus
Fromanteel, it features a horizontal crown wheel and verge
escapement driven by three chains, three bells striking on the
quarter hours and is equipped with a minute hand.
Outwardly, too, it shares many
characteristics with early clocks from the so-called Third Period
of lantern clock-making, including a narrow silvered chapter ring
and a brass dial plate finely engraved with the name Henricus
Childe, Londini and the tulip blooms associated with the
Restoration and the return of the court from exile in Holland.
Henry Child was made a member of the
Clockmakers' Company in 1642 and is thought to have died during the
Great Plague of 1665.
As Master of the Clockmakers' Company he
presided over a meeting in July 1665 held at The George, Ivy Lane,
but by the following meeting it was recorded: "Mrs Childe, the
widow of our late deceased Master, appeared upon the summons given
her. And it was determined and ordered that [the warden] shall
receive from her the Companyes chest and bagg of bookes and keyes
in her custody, and upon receipt of them shall deliver to her the
bond which he and his suretyes gave the Company."
This Beccles clock is described in Britten's
Old Clocks And Watches And Their Makers as a
"three-train 'ting-tang' lantern clock" belonging to the London
collector R. Eden Dickson.
It was evidently sold by auction shortly
after the Second World War and was bought by Durrants' clients in
Dorchester on May 27, 1946, for £57. Throughout its life in a
five-storey, end-of-terrace house in Northgate, Beccles, it was
left in the same unrestored condition in which it was
Estimated at £1500-2000 for the sale on
March 30, it prompted over 30 condition report requests and
multiple bidders before selling at £26,700 (plus 12.5 per cent
buyer's premium) to a Swindon-based clock dealer said to be bidding
for his private collection.