Preview of Long Case Clocks and Chronometers in the April 2012 Fine Sale

Published 30th March 2012

Clock Face of a Sherwood Long Case Clock

The clock face of a Sherwood Long Case Clock being offered for auction in the April 2012 Fine Sale.

Requiring sympathetic restoration is a lacquered long case clock engraved on the brass dial for the maker James Blackborow who worked in London in the early 18th century having been apprenticed in 1701 to the well-known Huguenot clockmaker David Lesturgeon. A Freeman of the Clockmakers Company in 1711, and then Liveryman, he died suddenly in 1746 whilst in the role of Warder.

A Blackborow Long Case Clock

A Blackborow Long Case Clock being offered for sale during the Two Day Fine Sale on 18th and 19th April 2012.

A fine two-day ships chronometer is signed on the dial for John Clark of Greenock, but on viewing the movement it becomes apparent that it was made for him by the great eminent chronometer maker John Poole, his signature being engraved across the backplate. John Poole worked in Clerkenwell where he re-invented a form of auxiliary balance compensation, thereafter used as standard by many other makers. Unfortunately in 1867 Poole, having just won a Gold Medal in Paris, committed suicide.

A John Poole Chronometer

A Ship's Chronometer with movement by the eminent John Poole of Clerkenwell.

An example of a brass ships-style mantel clock is engraved 'T & F Mercer, St Albans'. Founder Thomas Mercer moved to London from Lancashire having worked with famed chronometer maker Thomas Russell. Finding work difficult to come by he bought a one-way ticket to America intending to emigrate, but then strolling through the City chanced upon the shop of fellow Lancastrian and fine chronometer maker John Fletcher, walked in and was given the position of watch springer. In 1858 he established his own business, moving to St Albans in 1874. Mercer was appointed a judge at the 1900 Universal Exhibition in Paris but unfortunately he caught a cold on the ferry crossing and died days later at the Hôtel Internationale.

Another offering is a good example of an oak eight-day longcase clock by Thos Sherwood Snr of Yarm, Yorkshire. In 1771 he married Mary Bushley with whom he had twelve children including the clockmaker Thomas Jnr. Following Mary's death in 1796, he married Ann Melbury with whom he fathered a further two children. In 1807 Thomas Jnr married Eleanor Gallows who died giving birth to a daughter, whereupon he immediately married Jane Chapman with whom he had a further eight children.

A Sherwood Long Case Clock

A Sherwood Long Case Clock being offered for sale in the April 2012 Fine Sale in Exeter, Devon.


  • Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood
  • Fine Sale
  • Longcase Clocks
  • Chronometer
  • James Blackborow
  • John Poole
  • Thomas Mercer
  • Thomas Russell
  • John Fletcher
  • Thos Sherwood

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