One was a late 17th century walnut and seaweed inlaid longcase signed to the silvered chapter ring John Shaw Holborn which was offered at Lacy Scott & Knight (20% buyer’s premium) at Bury St Edmunds.
Shaw is not the most famous of clockmakers but, free of the Clockmakers Company in 1682 and made master in 1712, he is highly regarded by specialists.
The longcase came from Thorne Court, a Suffolk mansion which provided a number of lots to the December 9 sale.
Standing 7ft 3in (2.20m) tall, the case had some minor losses and replacements, but the brass eight-day five-pillar weight-driven movement striking on a bell was untouched.
“It was not the most expensive longcase we’ve ever sold but it was my favourite,” said auctioneer Edward Crichton. “I loved it.”
Nevertheless, given the drastic fall in prices over the past two decades for many longcases, Crichton estimated the Shaw work at a realistic £4000-6000 and it sold to a private buyer at £7600.
Another rather out-of-fashion item these days is the once popular mahogany brass-bound wine cooler.
However, a pair of George III single-bottle examples from Thorne Court, complete with original liners, and in original untouched condition was exactly what the trade wanted.
They took a 10-times estimate £4800 from a London dealer.
In contrast to longcases, smaller clock prices have strengthened over the same period. Chiswick Auctions’ (23% buyer’s premium) December 6 sale had a late 17th century ebonised bracket or table clock by Joseph Windmills.
Illustrated above, the 15in (39cm) tall clock was signed to both the 7in (18cm) square brass dial and again to the ornate backplate.
The working gut fusee timepiece movement featured a pull repeat chiming the hours and quarters on two bells, and a pull cord chiming an alarm.
At its March 2017 sale Chiswick had sold an early 18th century ebonised table clock by Windmills with a quarter repeat at £19,500. The December offering was pitched at £14,000-16,000 and took £19,000 from a UK collector.
“This price is believed to be a UK auction record for a Joseph Windmills timepiece,” said Chiswick department head Rachael Osborne- Howard. “A timepiece does not strike on the hour but only when the pull repeat or alarm is activated and therefore is traditionally less valuable than a striking clock.
“It has increased in value significantly since the vendor bought it at a major London auction house some years ago, proving that the market at the top end is very strong.”