Published 10th May 2013
A varied selection of antique clocks came under the hammer during the antique clock auction in the April 2013 Fine Sale, with a great deal of interest being shown in two floor-standing regulator timepieces, one with a most interesting heritage.
The Gaydon of Barnstaple regulator (FS18/776) had been removed from 99 High Street in Barnstaple in the 1970s by a member of the family who had been successors to John Gaydon (1821-1895). John Gaydon established a dynasty of clockmakers and jewellers based at this address in the mid-to-late Victorian period, making it safe to assume that this particular piece was the actual regulator made and used by John Gaydon himself. Interested members of the Gaydon family were in attendance during the clock auction, with the hammer coming down at £4,700.
The other regulator timepiece (FS18/778), was made in London by the well-known clockmaker William Baker Crisp (1825-1895), a successor to the great maker Robert Molyneux in Clerkenwell, who was a well-known commentator on all precision pieces.
This timepiece had the advantage of being of small size and veneered in walnut. Well fought over by bidders in the room, on the Internet and the phones, a private collector finally out-bid members of the clock trade to secure it on the fall of the hammer at £10,500.
A more modern piece was the solid silver carriage clock (FS18/762) with a fusee movement signed for Mappin & Webb and dated 1976 in commeration of their 200 years in business. Limited to two-hundred pieces, these carriage clocks rarely come on the market, and when they do appear, they are keenly fought over, hence the hammer price of £1,300.
An interesting lantern clock (FS18/772), signed 'Richard Tracy fecit', but without a place name, had been converted to an anchor escapement from a verge escapement early in its life, but as this is a common occurrence it didn't deter the many bidders for this clock. Pre-sale interest had been high, so it was no surprise to see it fall at £3,200. Although a Richard Tracy is known to have been apprenticed in London in 1660, this lantern clock bore all the hallmarks of being Westcountry made, especially considering that Tracy is a prominent name within the area.
Longcase clocks have picked up recently as shown by all those offered for sale finding buyers, including the rather attractive mahogany longcase clock example (FS18/774), signed on the silvered dial by Robert Westlake of Plymouth, Westlake being another prominent surname in the south-west, which went for £1,150.
Both bracket clocks and mantel clocks are proving to be as popular as ever, especially those French examples with decorative work, as seen in the fine three-piece clock garniture in ormolu with champleve enamel decoration (FS18/763), made in the mid-Victorian period, which went to the Chinese market for a bid of £4,200.
A prominent name from the Victorian period is the clockmaker John Bennett (1814-1897), who became a very successful business man and politician, becoming Sir John in later life. A good example of his work is the mahogany library timepiece (FS18/770), signed on the silvered dial by Bennett, as Maker to the Royal Observatory, with a single fusee movement and carved decoration to the case. A final bid of £490 secured this bracket clock.