Many of Tinworth’s ‘humoresques’ were made in small multiples with some well-known models such as The Football Scrummage, The Steeplechase or The Cockneys at Brighton appearing at auction with relative frequency.
However, a 10in (25cm) high clock offered for sale at Whitley’s Auction in Dania Beach, Florida, on July 14, appears to be something of a one-off in terms of both scale and ambition.
The model, incorporating a timepiece movement by W Thornhill and Co of New Bond Street, is Tinworth’s personal take on the famous Polito’s Menagerie, the most elaborate of early 19th-century Staffordshire figure groups.
As well as a parrot on a perch and a monkey walking a tightrope are a total of 20 mice, some playing instruments, others trying to sneak into the show, two playing a Three Card Trick and another pair spinning The Wheel of Fortune.
The sgraffito decoration to the front and the sides includes the attractions of The Wild Beast Show: a lion, a tiger, a rhinoceros and a stork.
The clock – in good condition with only a small firing crack to count against it – had been offered for sale by Kingham & Orme of Broadway, Worcestershire in July last year but had failed to match hopes of £12,000-15,000.
Re-offered for sale in Florida last week, it sold at $16,500 (£12,700) plus 25% buyer’s premium.