18th c English Thomas Cartwright, magnificent bracket clock

zedric

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This is my latest purchase - I had to go a fair way above my budget to buy it, and I will need to sell quite a few clocks to cover the difference, but I think it will be worth it. The case needs a bit of restoration.

From research, the clock dates from around 1715, and it appears likely it was made for an export market - I purchased it at auction from France and it has more decoration than was usual for English domestic clocks.

Bracket clocks are not my usual thing (this is my third and by far my earliest) so any comments welcome!

IMG_0870.JPG IMG_0871.JPG IMG_0873.JPG IMG_0876.JPG IMG_0877.JPG IMG_0880.JPG IMG_0881.JPG
 

zedric

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Thanks! The detail of the decoration all round looks great, and I'm sure if will look even better once restored. I have a photo of a similar clock by Daniel Quare that was in the Iden collection. It seems to use some of the same decorative panels, but not quite to the extent as on this clock.


Daniel Quare.jpeg Daniel Quare back plate.jpeg
 

Ralph

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It looks like a great clock. Congratulations.

Ralph
 

rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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Wonderful clock.

A great example of both the art and science of horology where the creation of the clock required the collaboration of multiple craftspeople, each of whom excelled in the practice of their craft.

So much more to appreciate and enjoy.

RM
 

zedric

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Wonderful clock.

A great example of both the art and science of horology where the creation of the clock required the collaboration of multiple craftspeople, each of whom excelled in the practice of their craft.

So much more to appreciate and enjoy.

RM
Absolutely - you can take basically the same elements, put them together in different ways, and get wildely different results. Here is a clock that, under all the decoration, has essentially the same basket top and similar repousee work, but looks completely different - this one by Simon de Charmes, a French immigrant to England

Simon de Charmes.jpeg
 

DeanT

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It's just okay.

When you get it home and you don't like it, I'll pop over and take it off your hands. :rolleyes:

But in all seriousness it's magnificent. Obviously needs a bit of restoration but its well worth spending the time and money on this one as it will benefit greatly with some cosmetic tidy up to the case.

I've got a couple of arch spandrels we might be able to cast which might fit although yours is quite small given the engraving. Easy enough to find something.

Golden age. :) Apprenticed to famous maker Gould. :) Clockmaker to Queen Anne and George I. :) Moonphase :) Quarter repeating on multiple bells :) Magnificent case and engraving :):):)
 

daveR

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Hey Zedric a very nice clock indeed, I'd watch out for that
Dean fellow, I rhink he also likes it a lot !! I but he does have a lot of good information. It should come up really nicely.
David
 

DeanT

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Hey Zedric a very nice clock indeed, I'd watch out for that
Dean fellow, I rhink he also likes it a lot !! I but he does have a lot of good information. It should come up really nicely.
David
Yeah it’s okay
 

Chris Radano

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Great clock, I know I wouldn't expect to find a basket top bracket clock. Yours is an early break arch dial. Most are square dial. So I would say it's a late basket top.
You'll have to tell us if it's quarter striking. I see the fusee cable is broken.
Also looks the clock was in France for well over 100 years. The back cock is French, which is interesting because I don't recall ever seeing a non-English back cock for anchor conversion. See what the escape wheel looks like, I wonder how much difference there is compared to the English wheel work.
So congratulations! This is your reward for your hard work scanning French auctions! The auctions I scan take enough of my time, without adding Continental Europe. As expensive as you say the clock was, I bet it would have been even more expensive if it was in the UK or USA.
 

Chris Radano

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So they kept the false pendulum? Nice of them to do that.
Also really nice penny moon (rare for bracket clock) and calendar.
I wouldn't be concerned about the case needing work. Speaking for myself I wouldn't expect to find a clock of this caliber.
 

zedric

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One challenge is going to be arranging shipping. Dean and novice have given me some tips, but if anyone else has companies they have dealt with I’d be happy to hear your experiences
 

zedric

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So they kept the false pendulum? Nice of them to do that.
Also really nice penny moon (rare for bracket clock) and calendar.
I wouldn't be concerned about the case needing work. Speaking for myself I wouldn't expect to find a clock of this caliber.
They seem to have kept the false pendulum bob, not sure if the rest is there. The penny moon is a nice feature, appearing on sone clocks around this time according to Barder’s book.
 

Chris Radano

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Oh I thought you already had the clock in your possession. I hope you get it in the same condition as the photos.
I have nothing on Barder, I know I don't see many (if any) penny moon dials on bracket clocks. Especially a basket top. I've seen a couple on George III bracket clocks.
 

zedric

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I’ve seen one on a clock by Claudius DuChesne , but that’s it so far
 

DeanT

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Here's 4 similar ones....all great names BTW




 

zedric

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zedric

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DeanT

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Quite a few of the examples I posted are what is described as transitional arch which were the first clocks with arches although they aren't fully formed and i would date them to around 1710-15. I don't think your's would date to much after that time.

Dan Quare seemed quite keen on the later version of the double basket top.
 
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novicetimekeeper

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Here is the entry in Loomes Clockmakers of Britain 1286-1700 suggesting that the use of Latin for at the the exchange was for the Italian market.

It makes sense, at the time Latin was the International language of Science and how Scholars communicated across the language barrier. The people who could afford these clocks would have had the best education available.

20210604_094828.jpg 20210604_094844.jpg
 
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rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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Absolutely - you can take basically the same elements, put them together in different ways, and get wildely different results. Here is a clock that, under all the decoration, has essentially the same basket top and similar repousee work, but looks completely different - this one by Simon de Charmes, a French immigrant to England

View attachment 657393
The use of tortoise shell is nice, but actually, I like your clock better. The other example is a bit overwrought for my taste (that's Baroque for you), but I can definitely appreciate the wonderful craftsmanship.

This thread is great example of how wonderful things can appear on the Forums, stimulating a great informative discussion amongst knowledgeable folks (not including myself in that for this type of clock; I can just oooh and ahhh).

I will never be able to afford this type of clock nor do I know a great deal about it. Does that deter me from following the discussion and appreciating the clock at an albeit more basic level? Does that "turn me off" because I'm not being "met" at my level? Is it chasing me away from collecting clocks because those that I collect that are rather different and less sophisticated? What do you think??

Thanks for sharing a great thing.

RM
 

novicetimekeeper

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Not that long ago I would not have gone for this, too much bling, however I am growing to like basket tops. Not so much the tortoiseshell one. There is one tortoiseshell bracket with silver mounts I really liked sold by Ben Wright.
 

zedric

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I will never be able to afford this type of clock nor do I know a great deal about it.
I have to say that I never thought I would afford something like this either. Being on the other side of the world, the auction was too late for me to watch online, And when the online auction platform flagged that I had been outbid, I thought that was the end of the dream. But presumably the other bidder withdrew before the auction, because I got an invoice the next day...

strictly speaking I can’t afford it. I am going to have to sell a few of my other clocks. But it’s worth it, I think!
 

rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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I have to say that I never thought I would afford something like this either. Being on the other side of the world, the auction was too late for me to watch online, And when the online auction platform flagged that I had been outbid, I thought that was the end of the dream. But presumably the other bidder withdrew before the auction, because I got an invoice the next day...

strictly speaking I can’t afford it. I am going to have to sell a few of my other clocks. But it’s worth it, I think!
Bravo!

There are those times in the life of many of us, i.e., passionate collectors who DO NOT have limitless resources, when we just dig in and and really stretch to obtain that object of desire.

I do think it's generally true that rather than regretting most what we have bought, it's what we didn't buy or let slip away that is cause for the greater regret. Now, I have and have had some scarce clocks in my collection that got away the first time but sometimes years later, resurfaced and I was able to acquire them, in some instances for less than I would have had to pay at the first pass. But that's not by any means a common occurrence. And for something like this bracket clock, I doubt there would have been many 2nd chances?

Enjoy!

RM
 
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rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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This may be a dumb question.

The clocks illustrated in the supplied links bear the names of different makers predominantly from London. There's one from Holbourn.

They appear to be from roughly the same period, i.e., late 17th - early 18th century.

I'm struck by the similarity, at least superficially, of the cases and their metal work decoration. Cannot comment upon whether the cases share similar construction methods, etc.

Can these cases be traced to a maker or a just few makers in London?

Just curious.

RM
 

zedric

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Because English case makers did not sign their work, it is difficult to say for sure, but it is generally thought that there were specialist case makers. They at least must have bought the ornaments, basket tops etc from trade suppliers, as these seem to be either identical or remarkably similar in many cases. I think I have seen a comment that the repoussée brass strip ornaments on the sides of the cases were made as strips and you could cut them to size depending on how big your clock was...

that said, I haven’t seen the ornamental grille on the back door of this clock on any others, and the spandrels are unusual in having flowers rather than heads as the central motif.
 

WIngraham

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Hey zedric, I saw that one it was on my list but I thought "no way", extraordinary clock, in person I'm sure it's got an amazing presence. I thought it strange how they called it a pendule religieuse. I have used ThePackengers for shipping with no problem, several times now. They wooden crate everything, they can be a little slow but worth the wait.

Will
 

zedric

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Thanks Will - like you my first reaction was it will be way out of my reach, but then the estimate was low, and I thought I might as well give it a try, not actually expecting to win.

I’ll have stop putting random bids on item I like now, at least until I have sold enough of my collection to pay for this one.

I’ll look into the Packengers. I’ve used them for smaller items, but they were a little expensive - but then all shipping is these days.
 

WIngraham

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They are more reasonable for medium to large size items, shipping has gotten out of hand. That along with the premiums is a constant calculation. Lol I second the stopping the random bids on stuff I like, maybe...hopefully. That's how I ended up with the Lepine clock in my recent post.
I think the stars were aligned for you and that one, congrats. Right set of circumstance, I'm sure you'll work the cost out. Please post pics after its journey, the detail and workmanship are magnificent.

Will
 

zedric

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That Lépine one is very nice. Have you managed to figure out what is missing yet?
 

WIngraham

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Not really, it's frustrating but everything else looks to be in good shape. I think I am going to send it to David LaBounty for restoration, he has a few of my clocks right now. I am going to change the current dust cover to a cast acrylic one so you can really see what's going on, I don't think that's too far off from the original glass dome.
The penny moon is a really nice feature, I wonder if you have to initiate the quarter striking on this clock? Do you think the mock pendulum is connected to t he newer pendulum? I wondered that when I first saw it.
 

zedric

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For mine, I think it should be a pull quarter repeat - so once triggered, it should chime the quarters on 6 bells, then strike the hour. Much like your Lépine. I can’t see the spring for this in the photos I have, but it should be there.
 

DeanT

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This may be a dumb question.

The clocks illustrated in the supplied links bear the names of different makers predominantly from London. There's one from Holbourn.

They appear to be from roughly the same period, i.e., late 17th - early 18th century.

I'm struck by the similarity, at least superficially, of the cases and their metal work decoration. Cannot comment upon whether the cases share similar construction methods, etc.

Can these cases be traced to a maker or a just few makers in London?

Just curious.

RM
Holbourn is a suburb of London as well.

It's a very small time window these were made. The ones with the transitional arch dials will be just before 1715 and the ones with the fully formed arch 1715-20. All within less than a 10 year period. I've attached a photo of one from around 1700 which shows the progression in styles.

40517932.jpg

The cases for the London bracket clocks were made by specialist case makers who would were used by the best London makers. So the names Quare, Windmills, Shaw, Cartwright etc could have bought them from the same shop or from a small number of shops.

The movement in Zedric's clock is a standard configuration for top end London bracket clocks from early 1700's apart from the moonphase which is extra special.
 

DeanT

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Because English case makers did not sign their work, it is difficult to say for sure, but it is generally thought that there were specialist case makers. They at least must have bought the ornaments, basket tops etc from trade suppliers, as these seem to be either identical or remarkably similar in many cases. I think I have seen a comment that the repoussée brass strip ornaments on the sides of the cases were made as strips and you could cut them to size depending on how big your clock was...

that said, I haven’t seen the ornamental grille on the back door of this clock on any others, and the spandrels are unusual in having flowers rather than heads as the central motif.
Those flower spandrels are quite rare but I've seen them before. I have a recollection they were on an Italian bracket clock. I'll see if I can remember where....
 

zedric

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Flowers seems to be a theme of this clock, because the side frets and back fret also feature a flower motif
 

DeanT

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I reckon this clock dates to 1717 and thought this arch spandrel might be good? It takes up a bit less space than the standard green man.

AACD8B09-E9BC-42EE-87E6-25862C3A0137.jpeg
 

DeanT

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Here's the standard green man. The maker died in 1719 so its the right ballpark to yours. Feels like it might be a little big for the space given the engraving.

Dial.JPG
 

novicetimekeeper

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A clue to the spandrel may be the fixing holes they seem quite high.
 

jmclaugh

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An exceptional clock and congrats on getting it even if you have to sell on some others.
 

rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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An exceptional clock and congrats on getting it even if you have to sell on some others.
Yes, sometimes it's hard to part with things.

But, as I have been told to do many times, it's okay to basically refine one's collection in the process.

I need to learn that sometimes less is actually more!

RM
 

zedric

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I think you have to build up a collection before you can pare it down, so less becomes more, then more becomes less...
 

zedric

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I've been doing some research on Thomas Cartwright, who was more accomplished than I had thought.

He held a Royal Warrant, and was appointed watchmaker to King George II on the 6th November 1727, taking over from Richard Vick. Vick only lasted five years in the job, but he was both royal clockmaker and watchmaker. The royal watchmaker role came with a salary of 150 pounds. For a number of years before this appointment, Cartwright had been signing watches as "the prince's watchmaker" - it seems that he was a favourite of George II, and George must have moved Vick on to give Cartwright the job. He kept the job, and salary, until he died, at which point Benjamin Grey took over.

For a watch by Cartwright made around the same time as the bracket clock, see https://www.sothebys.com/fr/auction...arrison-enduring-discovery-l16055/lot.18.html

As novice mentioned in his quote from Brian Loomes, it looks like Cartwright had a good export business, and certainly being part of the royal court would have helped his business. However, compared to other makers of the time, he doesn't seem to have made very many clocks, although most of the ones I have found seem to have fancy cases.

In doing this research, I found a long case clock dial by Cartwright was sold by Bonhams - as a dial only, with no movement, with quite distinctive engraving around the spandrels. The antiques world is a funny place, and there is now a clock for sale, complete with very fancy case and movement, with a dial that is quite remarkably similar to the one sold by Bonhams....

Despite there being references in some places (including the Sotheby's listing above) to Cartwright being watchmaker to Queen Anne, I can't find any evidence of this, and I think this would have been far too early in his career.
 
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zedric

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I reckon this clock dates to 1717 and thought this arch spandrel might be good? It takes up a bit less space than the standard green man.

View attachment 657480
Hi Dean - I think these would definitely be age appropriate, but I'm not sure they are the right shape - given that there is engraving around the dial, The shape left is more triangular - see below
Spandrel Shape.jpg
 

zedric

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It looks like some of the top makers shared craftsmen who did their engraving - It is quite hard to pick the differences between this one by Gretton, and the one on the Cartwright clock. I've also seen a near identically engraved backplate on a clock by Windmills...

IMG_0877.JPG IMG_3556.jpg
 
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novicetimekeeper

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I'm looking forward to seeing this one, it starts on its journey later this week.
 

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