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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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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.

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Ogden longcase draws timely bidding

28 February 2013

It was not the oak case that made this George III eight-day longcase clock such an attractive lot at Batemans of Stamford – it was the movement and face which bore the magic name of Thomas Ogden of Halifax.

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Appeal over stolen clocks

10 November 2008

Two fine early 19th century clocks were among more than 100 mostly antique items stolen in Kingston upon Thames on October 10.

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Isle of Wight saleroom clocks up a £240,000 record

11 August 2008

Isle of Wight firm Island Auction Rooms established a new record for a clock sold by a UK provincial auctioneer when this remarkable longcase took £240,000 on August 7.

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Golden Age clock set to be record breaker

07 July 2008

Is this the finest clock to be sold in England this year? The Isle of Wight auctioneers who will offer it for sale next month believe it is. It will be offered for sale by Island Auction Rooms (formerly Shanklin Auction Rooms) at their annual antiques sale timed to coincide with the influx of boating enthusiasts for Cowes Week on August 7.

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Clock with Whittington chimes sells at $310,000 in Pennsylvania

27 May 2008

This remarkable late 19th century English longcase clock offered for sale in Pennsylvania last month showed late Victorian design at its most confident.

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Cataloguing clocks adds to collectors’ confidence

27 July 2005

Longcases sell well after prices hit plateauTHE 530 lots offered at Dreweatt Neate’s Bristol rooms in June covered most areas of the antiques trade with the exception of ceramics, but the sale was always going to be dominated by the strong 44-lot clocks section.

Bookcase at £5500 sees Victorian values restored

16 September 2004

BULKY Victorian brown furniture may be the least attractive subject at many sales, but the most expensive entry at Keys (10% buyer's premium) 1386-lot Norfolk outing on August 3-4 was a 9ft square (2.74m) mahogany library breakfront bookcase.

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Troika ware spreads its appeal to Cumbria

08 September 2004

GOOD standard furniture sold well enough at Mitchell's (15% buyer's premium) July 15-16 sale and included a locally made Jacobean piece.

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Imperial China backs up timely triumph

08 September 2004

A QUALITY furniture grouping and a small, but strong, Oriental section contributed to the upbeat performance of Halls (15% buyer's premium) 258-lot sale on July 14, the top lot of which, a £24,000 George III mahogany longcase, was illustrated on the front cover of Antiques Trade Gazette No. 1650 dated July 31 and August 7.

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Longcase clock sells for treble-estimate

10 August 2004

PART of a collection of antiques from a late Shrewsbury area farmer’s estate, this 8ft 6in (2.59m) mahogany longcase clock made in 1765 by London clockmaker Ellicot was in original condition when it appeared at the Welsh Bridge saleroom of Halls' Fine Art on July 14.

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Longcase is top of the props

13 July 2004

THIS elaborate late 19th century boulle longcase is typical of the revivalist furnishings that were the stock-in-trade of the Acton-based television and film-props company Period Props and Lighting that closed earlier this year after 30 years in the business. Their inventory was enormous and will provide Rupert Toovey & Co’s (15% buyer’s premium) rooms at Spring Gardens, Washington with a series of sales. The first tranche was offered on June 15.

Local interest lifts longcase bids

07 July 2004

THERE were few head-turners at Greenslade Taylor Hunt's (15% buyer's premium) 738-lot specialist book and clock sale on May 13, with dealers and collectors bidding selectively for the best quality works.

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Pleasures of the dining room – notforgetting the corkscrew

15 June 2004

GOOD-quality mahogany and oak furniture took most of the better prices in Mitchells' (15% buyer's premium) 1566-lot May 13-14 auction which totalled £325,000.