John Knibb, Oxon, real or make believe?

Discussion in 'General Clock Discussions' started by novicetimekeeper, Jun 5, 2017.

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  1. zedric

    zedric Registered User
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    Personally I would take a slightly different approach to the one you outline above.

    It is your clock, for the time being.

    You will never replace what was there originally, because whatever spandrel you put on will not be the exact same ones Knibb would have used.

    If you like the cherub head spandrels, and they are contemporary with the clock so meet your aesthetic, then I would go with them. Your clock could be a year earlier than the Loomes one. It could be closer to the date of the Darken and Harper one. Knibb could have been using both spandrel types interchangably at the time. Who can tell.

    And you are the one who has to live with the clock over the next few years, unless you are selling it

    So go with what you like - a previous owner clearly did!
     
  2. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User
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    Yes, I take the point Zedric, and no I won't be selling it. It has to be the most significant maker I'm ever likely to have a clock from.

    I have quite a few now with twin cherub, I might well go for the cherub head. One thing I can do, as the holes always go in the same place on these things, is try them from my existing clocks and see what fits with the holes in the dial plate.

    I won't rush into anything, this clock deserves a bit of thought.
     
  3. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User
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    What do you think?

    [​IMG][​IMG]
     

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  4. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User
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    I'm just not used to seeing twin cherub with the trident half hour markers, but they did fit very well.
     
  5. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User
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    Now that I have measured the other twin cherub spandrels I have I think that was just luck, those are the smallest twin cherubs here, I have four sets of three sizes.

    I only have one clock with the single cherub size, but I do know those come in larger sizes.
     
  6. DeanT

    DeanT Registered User

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    #56 DeanT, Jun 26, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2017 at 12:42 AM
    10" and two 11" dials from 1685, 1695 and 1700 with the single cherub. I agree with Zedric, go with what you like. I think Trident markers would go better with the single cherub.

    Cheers

    xyzzytom_339648 attachment.jpg xyzzytom_339641 attachment.jpg
     
  7. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User
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    I need to find a bigger single cherub. something that fills the space like on your Gavell, though obviously that's a much newer clock (not often I can say that to you!)
     
  8. DeanT

    DeanT Registered User

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    #58 DeanT, Jun 27, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2017 at 1:24 AM
    Hi Nick,

    You 100% sure those spandrels aren't original? Looked at my Charles Gretton and surprised to find its spandrels are similar to the ones currently on the Knibb. The book on Gretton dates it to 1705-10. There's another one in the book dated 1705-10 which has a slightly variation to the same pattern.

    308763.jpg 308762.jpg xyzzytom_348127
     

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  9. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User
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    I'll take a pic later I'm thinking more 1970s than 1670s
     
  10. musicguy

    musicguy Registered User
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    Even though I'm not a clock collector, this was a very interesting thread.
    Congratulations on getting the John Knibb clock!



    Rob
     
  11. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User
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    Thank you. I think it will have to usurp another clock and be allowed to run, but I need to decide on spandrels first.
     
  12. DeanT

    DeanT Registered User

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    According to C&W those types of spandrels No. 17, 19, 20, 21 and 22 are from early arched dials 1730-35. Shows how inaccurate C&W is on the spandrel dates given they are used on square dials from 1st decade of 1700's.....
     
  13. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User
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    I refer to C&W for the spandrel numbers for reference, I find the dating often at odds with my own experience and refer to that less and less. Barder seems to have done a good job improving the dating of spandrels for provincial clocks using C&W numbers. Is there a book on London makers other than the Gretton book that moves us any further forward?
     
  14. zedric

    zedric Registered User
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    There's Eric Bruton, A Guide to dating English antique clocks...
     
  15. jmclaugh

    jmclaugh Registered User

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    C&W's descriptions of spandrels are very brief but to be fair they don't say that those patterns were only used on early arched dials of that period though it is understandable the reader may infer that from "they are from early arched dials".
     
  16. DeanT

    DeanT Registered User

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    Maybe C&W didn't mean to mislead but that is certainly the case as I'm not sure what else you could infer from the comment "Nos. 17, 19, 20, 21 and 22 are from early arched dials of 1730-35"?

    Further, the comment "No. 14 is also exceptional, and is probably the last pattern found on square dials by high-class makers." would indicate that C&W also didn't think the No.17 and upwards appeared on square dial clocks of high-class makers such as Charles Gretton. Clearly that isn't the case.

    No.8 was a familiar pattern after 1705, yet I've seen numerous examples pre 1700. Again this technically correct but very misleading.

    No.5 is the usual corner piece of 12 inch dials 1695-1710....Again this is correct but misleading as it was used as early as 1672 by Tompion.
     
  17. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User
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    Part of the problem is we don't know who designed them or where or when each was first made. We know that even spandrels of the same type have variations, some quite small but they show that a different pattern was used for casting. We also know that they appeared in a whole range of sizes.

    Judging by the loss of detail over time either patterns were becoming worn or people were making castings using existing spandrels as patterns, and sometimes third or fourth generation so that the loss of detail continued.

    We know they did this, or can assume it was done, because some were cast in lead or pewter and these were unlikely to come from a brass foundry, more likely the clock makers themselves using a brass spandrel as a pattern.
     
  18. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User
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    Well the clock went to a BHI meeting today. The person I took it for was not there, but fortunately somebody else who has seen a few Knibbs in his time was.

    He came up with something that explains away one bit I had considered a bit dubious, the aperture cut for the anchor escapement.

    His explanation also covers the unused hols in the top.

    Apperently this has been converted from a verge escapement. It must have happened a very long time ago, because the collets are early 18th century, but it would certainly explain the rather uneven cutout for the current escapement.

    He was very confident the clock is by Knibb, so that's another tick in the box.
     
  19. zedric

    zedric Registered User
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    Hi Nick

    Great to get this encouragement - shame that the expert wasn't there. But you must be feeling pretty good at the moment - a great find!
     
  20. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User
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    Yes, it was a surprise, I have done a lot of research and concluded I am satisfied it is a Knibb, but I have never seen one in real life.

    To have somebody who has, and who has worked on them, was a real plus to support my research.

    However to have him point out that it used to be a verge makes it very special, if rather less original than I thought!
     
  21. P.Hageman

    P.Hageman Registered User

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    It seems these movements can be reconverted back to verge:chuckling:
     
  22. jmclaugh

    jmclaugh Registered User

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    Very good to get such corroboration and you must be absolutely chuffed to have it regardless of the conversion.
     
  23. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User
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    I did mention on your other thread about it. I think converting it back would be a good idea.
     
  24. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User
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    Yes, I think it is a brilliant result for a couple of hundred pounds even if it has a few changes.

    The verges I have seen by him were hooded wall clocks, this is pretty big for a hooded wall clock, I must look them up again to see what size they were.
     
  25. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User
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    If this was a verge, I can't seem to find all the evidence I thought I needed.

    I can see the holes on the top, these would be needed to support the top pivot of the crown wheel (potence?)

    The contrate wheel presumably uses the pivots used by the new escape wheel, though that seems a bit high up the movement.

    What I can't see, is any evidence for the location of the bottom pivot of the crown wheel (is that the potence?)

    On my other verge clocks this goes into a block. I can't see where this would go.
     
  26. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User
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    This clock is off to the the BHI and the AHS in December for further discussions on origin. Particularly keen to show it to the incoming Master of the Clockmakers Company who has shown so much interest from when I was originally bidding.

    It seems it will now be getting an ebonised pine case too as I bought one with a London 30 hour from about 1690 that was a marriage. The Knibb is more suited to the case which is particularly deep, I will be doing some work over the next couple of months to see if it will work out and take it all to the cabinet maker who will be responsible for it.
     
  27. P.Hageman

    P.Hageman Registered User

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    I am looking forward to how the end result will be, both in the question if its a genuine Knibb (hope so) and how the clock will look after your cabinet maker did his job.
     
  28. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User
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    I don't think anyone will sign it in blood but I am satisfied it is a genuine Knibb, will be interesting to see what others say.

    I'm very interested in the suggested conversion from verge.

    I don't have a seatboard for it so I will have to take some measurements to see what needs to be done to get it to fit the case. I still have not found spandrels of the correct size either, well I have but they came off another of my clocks and must go back.

    In the clockmakers company collection they have a Tompion they sate to 1680 in an ebonised pine case, although the hood is different there are features very much like my case so I think I am on a winner with the case.
     
  29. P.Hageman

    P.Hageman Registered User

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    What size of spandrels do you need? If I have the right size I can try to cast in sand, Think casting spandrels is not that easy because the material cools quickly and has to run into the mold as hot as possible. If you are not in a hurry I can try this winter. At the moment I am busy building my private small museum for my clocks.
     
  30. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User
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    I am in no rush. You can have one of mine to make the mould when you are ready.
     
  31. P.Hageman

    P.Hageman Registered User

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    When I have some time I will try to cast one first to see if it works. I will let you know then by pm
     
  32. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User
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    Had a very nice Christmas lunch at West Dean college yesterday with the AHS. I took my little beaten up clock to meet with the great and the good.

    It didn't go too well, there was a chap there who has an an amazing collection by all accounts and several Knibbs among them. He was showing a very important Joseph Knibb bracket clock.

    He was rather dismissive of my humble clock which I must say I found disappointing after I had done so much research, but thinking about it I am not sure he was the right person to ask.

    The clock has features that make it almost identical to the one in Loomes book, though I only have his word that is a Knibb.

    However There are things about this clock that can't just be dismissed, they need to be explained.

    The similarities

    eight day click
    shape of hammer
    square plates
    construction of frame
    quality of matting of dial centre
    hand
    chapter ring


    Features that show quality/age

    Square plates
    decoration of wheels
    construction of frame
    Fly
    chapter ring
    quality of matting
    hand
    originally verge

    From the beginning I wondered if somebody had taken a good quality old Oxford clock and added a signature to it

    However I have not yet found any details of Oxford clocks that have these features.

    I think I need an Oxfordshire clock collector, and a Knibb scholar. I'm not giving up yet because I want explanations, and a point by point examination of the evidence.

    It is a humble clock, and was clearly aimed at the lower end of the market, I don't think comparing it to bracket clocks that are worth more than my house is a way forward.
     
  33. P.Hageman

    P.Hageman Registered User

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    Nick, don't be put off, I think its genuine. Suppose someone would go through all the trouble of faking it. He had to find a movement with all those special features, had to find a hour-hand like this. Have the dial engraved. Find a suitable NON SIGNED chapterring from that era etc. etc. End then sell it for nothing? After all if he was intending to fake it, he was probably trying to sell it for big bucks. So even if it was sold years ago, Knibb clocks normally don't go unnoticed when the are presented as genuine.. I would try to find out the provenance if possible. All in all, I would still believe its genuine and enjoy it.
     
  34. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User
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    That argument was made to me by somebody when I had just bought it before either of us saw it. He is going to see it on Wednesday when I take it back to the BHI meeting.

    Dean and I discussed it yesterday after the meeting and we both feel that questions were not addressed and it can't just be dismissed so easily.

    It is currently with a very experienced clock repairer who restored 3 of my clocks, he is going to give me a quote for working on it but will also spend a lot of time just looking at it to get a feel for it.

    Then we will meet up again at the BHI on Wednesday.

    Just before Christmas the clock and the ebonised case I propose for it will all go to the cabinet maker for an overview and a further quote. There is no seatboard yet and a lot of measurements need to be taken to get the dial to appear correctly in the mask. (I think the hood won't actually have a mask but rely on the new door but that is subject to further study and discussion.
     
  35. novicetimekeeper

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    #85 novicetimekeeper, Dec 3, 2017
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 3, 2017
    This is the case

    bockett case.jpg
     
  36. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User
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    Well yesterday's BHI meeting was much more productive.

    The consensus seems to be that it is a Knibb.

    The friend who spent some days with it says it is pretty much original, nothing untoward with it, only the escapement change. However he was not looking at it as a Knibb but looking at it as a clock. As it was suggested on Saturday a lot of it had been replaced I'm very pleased with that.

    It had several look at it during the BHI meet, where I must say the lighting was much better than in the room used by the AHS, and a very experienced chap who knows rather more about clocks than I ever will was very satisfied with it. I had been wanting to show it to him since I first saw it and his approval means a lot.

    Then the chap who originally identified it as originally verge had another look, and we discussed the hand which at the AHS had been rather dismissed as not up to the quality of a Joseph Knibb hand on an exceptional bracket clock that was at the meeting.

    This chap, who has had a great deal of experience handling high end clocks said he wouldn't be at all surprised if John Knibb had made the hand himself rather than buy it in.

    My faith in the clock and in my research has been restored, next stop the cabinet maker. After that I need to find spandrels, a bell, and a bell stand, then I will have the movement restored.
     
  37. DeanT

    DeanT Registered User

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    Never in doubt......

    I'd make a bell stand so it is the correct style for the clock.
     
  38. P.Hageman

    P.Hageman Registered User

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    Told you so Nick, time to change you name :"novice" timekeeper:) Congrats, this clock could not find a better home !!
     
  39. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User
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    The bell stand needs to be square section not round so it will need to be made. There is a very competent smith locally, I think I will get him to do it.

    I don't have a Knibb style bell, so it will have to be one of my posted frame bells. The real problem is finding the right size spandrels. I'm going for twin cherub to match the Loomes listed one, it is the only guide I have.
     
  40. P.Hageman

    P.Hageman Registered User

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    You need these?

    spandrels.JPG
     
  41. novicetimekeeper

    novicetimekeeper Registered User
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    Right style, need measurements along the edge from top of cross and from top of cross to screw hole and inner edge.

    Are they yours?
     
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