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Longcase/Grandfather Clock

Freestanding weight-driven pendulum clocks, known as longcase or grandfather clocks, were borne out of technological breakthroughs in horology in the late 1650s. The use of the pendulum and the invention of the anchor escapement made clocks more accurate, more elaborate and easier to maintain.

First used by the Dutch clockmaker Christiaan Huygens in 1656, the pendulum made for near frictionless time-keeping, while it was the anchor mechanism (probably invented around the same time by British scientist Robert Hooke) reduced the swing and improved accuracy. Today, longcase clocks remain a popular collecting area with celebrated makers like Ahasuerus Fromanteel, Thomas Tompion, George Graham, the Knibb family, Joseph Windmills and John Ellicott in high demand.

Read ATG's detailed guide to longcase clocks here


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Golden Age longcase underlines long and lucrative career of great London clockmaker

20 July 2020

The maxim that major names and top quality will always sell was underlined in the biannual specialist clocks sale at Dreweatts (25% buyer’s premium).

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Walnut longcase clock signed for Golden Age maker sparks bidding in Yorkshire

04 May 2020

Estimated at just £1000-1500, this late-17th century walnut eight-day longcase clock sold via thesaleroom.com for £11,000 at Elstob & Elstob (22% buyer’s premium) in Ripon.

Longcase clock by Henry Jones

17th century longcase clock and first English edition of Moomin book are among four auction highlights that caught bidders’ eyes

24 April 2020

ATG’s selection of hammer highlights this week includes a 17th century walnut longcase clock by London maker Henry Jones that made over seven-times estimate.

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Pick of the week: Pastiche clock is the real deal for buyer

20 April 2020

This monumental English longcase clock sold in a Massachusetts auction is a remarkable exercise in antiquarianism.

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English Golden Age longcase clock fails to meet great expectations

03 February 2020

Falling short of ambitious hopes but leading the day at Duke’s (25% buyer’s premium) first sale of 2020 was a fine English Golden Age longcase clock.

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Seasonal good cheer for BADA specialists after strong sales

16 December 2019

Two leading BADA members have reported strong sales to close out the year.

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Wolley winds up to £4800

18 November 2019

Most regionally made Georgian oak longcase clocks can now be bought for under £500 but this example is by a highly regarded and collectable maker: John Wolley or Woolley (c.1738-95) of Codnor, Derbyshire.

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Longcase clock by Thomas Mudge gives a nudge in new direction

10 June 2019

A mahogany longcase clock by Thomas Mudge (1715-94) is priced at £45,000 from Cheltenham dealer Tobias Birch.

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Signed by maker and first owner – dealer offers rare Cumbrian clock

10 June 2019

As the vast majority of Georgian clockmakers signed their work, most regional brass-dial longcase clocks have a great sense of place.

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Unrecorded Tompion to star at Masterpiece

10 June 2019

Kensington Church Street clock dealer Howard Walwyn will offer this previously unknown Thomas Tompion walnut and mulberry longcase at the Masterpiece fair in London.

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Seaweed marquetry longcase clock causes auction ripple

25 February 2019

Good times at the Oxford rooms of Mallams (20% buyer’s premium), when all bar one of 56 clocks got away almost all going comfortably above estimates.

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Moon-case clock set to shine at Galloway Antiques Fair

04 February 2019

An eight-day arched brass dial rolling moon-case clock, c.1750, is on offer for £3350 from Lancaster House Antiques at the next Galloway Antiques Fair at Stonyhurst College in Lancashire.

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Masterpiece keeps up with the times as a showpiece for horology

11 June 2018

As a showpiece for horology, the 'Masterpiece' fair lives up to its name. For all its welcome focus on the cool of 21st century collecting, at its core the 'Masterpiece' fair is a high-quality antiques show in the tradition of the Grosvenor House fair it replaced.

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Pick of the Week: A case for the best of the Golden Age

11 June 2018

By 1677, the great English clockmaker Thomas Tompion (1639-1713) was subletting part of his famous London premises – The Dial and Three Crowns at Water Lane – to one Jasper Braem or Bream (fl.1677-96).

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Cumbria hall hosts first fair for many years

05 March 2018

Holker Hall, the privately owned country house in Cumbria, hosts its first fair in nearly 25 years this month.

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First sales of 2018 make a happy new year

22 January 2018

Two of the first sales of 2018 suggest that toasts to the future can be drunk from half-full, rather than half-empty, Georgian rummers.

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Rediscovered John Fromanteel longcase clock emerges at Bonhams

12 June 2017

In recent years, Bonhams has uncovered several previously unrecorded English Golden Age clocks and at the sale of Fine Clocks on June 29 it will be presenting a recently discovered longcase clock by London maker John Fromanteel.

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Pinchbecks reclaim clock after nearly 300 years

22 September 2014

Collector Robin Pinchbeck had never bought a clock before, but when he set his sights on the George I walnut-cased astronomical longcase on offer at Mitchells (17.5% buyer’s premium) of Cockermouth on September 11-12 he knew he simply had to have it.

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Is this Knibb’s earliest surviving clock?

20 March 2014

This Charles II eight-day longcase clock by Joseph Knibb – a ‘snapshot’ of early longcase clock development – doubled its estimate to sell for £240,000 at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions sale in Donnington Priory.

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Lough’s musical masterpiece chimes in Cumbria

02 July 2013

This remarkable 1773 longcase clock by Hugh Lough of Penrith proved the top-selling lot at Mitchells of Cockermouth when it sold at £19,000.