Hugenot clockmakers

Discussion in 'General Clock Discussions' started by novicetimekeeper, Aug 12, 2017.

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  1. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User
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    Is there an online resource to find details of any Huguenot clockmakers?

    I'm trying to find out more about one in the late 17th century who appears to sign English clocks as "a Hoorn" which is a peculiar mix of French and Dutch as far as I can see.
     
  2. gmorse

    gmorse Registered User
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    Hi Nick,

    Try here for a start.

    Regards,

    Graham
     
  3. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User
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    Thanks Graham, I have emailed them.
     
  4. JTD

    JTD Registered User
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    What is the maker's name? Hoorn is a town in Holland, as I am sure you already have found out.

    JTD
     
  5. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User
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    Yes, I've sailed on Dutch ships for over ten years and have held until recently Dutch merchant papers. (I've retired from sailing because of arthritis)

    Hoorn gave it's name to Cape Horn, I've been to both :)

    The clock is currently for sale, I'm just doing research at the moment I have found one other longcase with the same signature, and one pendule religieuse which I believe is by the same guy. Same surname, same town but with a Christian name.

    I will pm you with the details.
     
  6. DeanT

    DeanT Registered User

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    The first Refugees

    Ever wondered why there are so many English made clocks signed by French clockmakers?

    Names such as du Chesne, de Charmes, Gavelle, Garon, Debaufre, Rimbault, Grignion, Leroux, Cabrier have obvious French origins but why were they all working from England rather than their native homeland?

    The connection between all these makers was their religious faith. They were all French Huguenots and the history of their persecution in France provides a clear reason for them to be practicing the art of clockmaking in England.

    Huguenots were French Protestants who suffered great persecution in the mainly Catholic country during the 16thC. This persecution ceased in 1598 when Henry IV signed the “Edict of Nantes” which granted substantial rights to the Calvinist Protestants of France and aimed to promote civil unity. This marked the end of the religious wars of the 16thC and brought a period of relative stability in the life of the Huguenots for the nearly 100 years/

    This stability ended when Charles XIV signed the “Revocation of the Edict of Nantes” in 1685 which lead to the resumption of their persecution. Aristocratic and senior Huguenots were given two weeks to renounce their faith or be executed. Unsurprisingly, a significant number of Huguenots decided to leave France with a flood of immigrants to British shores in the 1680’s. Forty or fifty thousand crossed the channel while Louis XIV sat on the French throne (1660-1714). The numbers were so prolific that a new-word came into the English language to describe them - “refugees”.

    They left without money, but took with them many skills. In the host nations they established small businesses and their new ideas revitalised indigenous industries. On 17 January 1686, Louis XIV himself claimed that out of a Huguenot population of 800,000 to 900,000, only 1,000 to 1,500 remained in France.

    A few years previously, King Charles II had issued a proclamation offering England as a place of refuge. About twenty thousand of the Huguenot refugees settled near London and had a major impact on the life of the capital. Like many earlier immigrants, the Huguenots mainly settled outside the City, in Spitalfields and Soho. 18th century Soho was described as “abounding with French so that it is an easy matter for a stranger to imagine himself in France”.

    Many of the Huguenot refugees were skilled craftsman and amongst these craftsman existed many fine clockmakers some of which are listed earlier in this article. Despite the proclamation and general welcome, they did suffer from the occasional hostility of other craftsmen, who saw them as an economic threat. The outflux of significant number of skilled craftsman significantly damaged French industry during the late 17thC and early 18thC

    By the mid 18th century the Huguenot community began to fragment. Its members assimilated into the mainstream of the London middle classes and gave up speaking French. Of 23 Huguenot churches in existence in 1700, only the French Church in Soho Square survives today.

    In 1787, Louis XVI signed the Edict of Versailles, known as the Edict of Tolerance, which was registered in parliament two-and-one-half months later. This edict offered relief to all faiths – Calvinist Huguenots, Lutherans, Jews – giving followers the civil and legal recognition, as well as the right to openly form congregations after 102 years of prohibition.

    The next time you see a French surname on an English clock it is a safe bet that the maker’s religious beliefs were that of a Calvinist Protestant and he had left France to escape the persecution of Louis XIV.


    Figure 1: A late 17thC longcase clock signed John Gavelle London. Clocks also exist by him signed “near London” and “Moorfields” confirming that like many Huguenots he had established his business on the London city fringes. James Gavelle, who was probably his father, is listed as a clockmaker and described as an “alien” confirming the families original as a French Huguenot refugee


    Figure 2: Large ebonised bracket clock by Claude Duchesne made in early 18thc ; month chiming; quarter-strike with verge escapement and pull repeat; silvered-metal chapter-ring; day and month calendars; 'strike-silent' and rise and fall dials with calendar aperture; enclosed in ebonised case with moulded borders and domed hood; surmounted by ormolu flaming finials and scroll and foliage carrying handle.
    Photo: British Museum London
     
  7. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User
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    This clock will be sold in the next few minutes.

    The maker was David Lamy of Hoorn. He came from Dieppe originally, can't work out the English connection.
     
  8. musicguy

    musicguy Registered User
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    good luck.


    Rob
     
  9. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User
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  10. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Interesting stuff.

    My apologies for hijacking this post a bit and then I'll let folks get it back on track.

    It is important to remember that the American Colonies also received many Huguenots looking for freedom from persecution and to start a new life. I don't know of any Huguenot clock makers working on these shores per se (anyone?), but 2 "household" names that do come to mind are Irenee du Pont and Apollo Rivoire (anglicized to "Paul Revere", Sr., father of the that Paul Revere).

    For those curious, there is this nice website:

    http://huguenotsocietyofamerica.org/?page=Huguenot-History

    By the way, they mention that George Washington's grandmother was a Huguenot. Didn't know that.

    RM
     
  11. musicguy

    musicguy Registered User
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