The longcase offered by Sotheby’s London (25/20/12.5% buyer’s premium) at its Collections sale on May 2 was signed by the eminent London maker Joseph Knibb and dated c.1685.
The walnut case has marquetry panels depicting birds and flowers with green-stained ivory leaves. The case and movement are contemporary but associated, and the plinth and the formerly rising hood have both been rebuilt.
Nevertheless, with so few English Golden Age clocks coming on to the market, buyers can be willing to overlook extensive restorations like this if they have been carried out sympathetically in order to secure an attractive clock by a top name.
It sold just above estimate at £36,000.
Hint of Art Nouveau
A collection of 34 clocks appearing at Sotheby’s on 23-24 May was part of the 524-lot dispersal of the contents of a lavishly decorated Belgravia townhouse, the London home of the late Lord Ballyedmond.
The clocks were predominantly highly ornate sculptural French examples in keeping with their opulent surroundings.
One of the highest prices was the multi-estimate £28,000 paid for this large gilt bronze sculptural mantel clock with a case signed Mathurin Moreau, which stood an imposing 3ft 5in (1.66cm) high.
Moreau was a French 19th-20th century sculptor, several of whose public monuments can be seen around Paris.
This clock had boldly cast foliage scrolls surmounted by a cast group of Cupid and Psyche and had retained its original gilding.
Sotheby’s clock specialist Jonathan Hills thought its hint of Art Nouveau helped capture the imagination of buyers.