I must get asked numerous times every day the question, What is my clock worth ? Well to answer this it depends on a variety of factors before even looking at the clock in question. It depends on whether you want a replacement or insurance value. You may want to know what I will get for my clock in an ‘as is’, unrestored condition. These values will be significantly different.
For an insurance valuation, it will be a value of what you would need to spend if you had to replace the clock with a similar example from a dealer. Clearly buying an antique clock from a dealer like ourselves is completely different than buying a clock from an auction. Reputable dealers give guarantees to the clock condition, it will have been examined, cleaned, restored and put into showroom condition. The clock will be in good working order and it will come with a guarantee. Dealers will sometimes deliver and setup the clocks in your home, none of these guarantees or working order or showroom condition factors come with clocks sold in auction or most times on ebay. On average it takes 3-5 days to restore a grandfather clock movement and 5-10 days to restore a cabinet. When you add up this restoration, you will realise clocks in auction are not necessarily that cheap. They are not restored but also they are not guaranteed genuine most of the time. It is buyer beware for buying at auction. Normally the conditions in the backs of the catalogues give the auctioneer a massive get out clause which a reputable dealer does not have. So expect a valuation for insurance to be several times the rate of a simple buy it now valuation. Also it is good to remember auctioneer valuations does not mean you will get that for the item. You will have to take into account auctioneer fees for selling. These can mount up. You could receive 1/3 or even less than what the buyer paid for the goods, you may also have to wait several weeks for your money.
It may be the case your antique clock is a family heirloom and the value of it is not really the issue, you may be dividing your family estate out and need to know a rough price for the estate. You may want to more about the clock and any information on the maker that is available. I will endeavour to help you with any research on your clocks value and information, if you contact me directly at Pendulum of Mayfair Ltd. So long as you do not mind sending reduced sized images and do not expect a formal valuation, I will try and do this for free of charge for you. My love is for antique clocks and I will go out of my way to help individuals as much as I can. Clearly these valuations I will carry out for you are only to give you an idea. You may need formal valuations, these are chargeable however.
When I undertake valuations, yes I will need to know the type of valuation you require as described above these can differ greatly. There are lots of criteria when performing a valuation of a clock. The most important factor for me is the clock is genuine though and in good but honest condition. Value would be significantly reduced if the dial is not original to the movement or the movement is not original to the cabinet. Some clocks have led a very chequered life. Either damp homes or central heated homes have sometimes meant clock cases have been ruined. These will then be furnishing clocks but not have as great an ‘as is’ value. Clearly some times important makers add to the value of the clock, but on valuing you must be sure the clock maker is genuine to the clock.
As you can see the valuation is not an easy one but if you want to contact me now, if you have always wondered about your clock, feel free to do so.
When I come to think of 18th century antique furniture design, I think primarily of 4 names. There is the great Thomas Chippendale, George Hepplewhite, Thomas Sheraton and last but by no means least Robert Adam. Robert Adam was probably better known for his influence on architecture in the 18th century but he also designed lovely pieces of furniture. It was on one of his trips to the Continent to study foreign designs he came across Michael Angelo Pergolesi. Pergolesi was one of the main characters in the start of painted antique furniture. Designs on antique furniture up to this point had been inlaid into the wood surface.
Pergolesi stayed in the UK until the end of the 18th century. He worked with the celebrated Adelphi firm. He designed and painted beautiful pieces of furniture and the occasional antique clock. Many of these works decorated with fine figures, flowers and classical urns. He published a book of these designs taken between 1777 and 1801. He worked with other leading figures at he time, many were members of the Royal Academy. These individuals revolutionized the decoration applied to antique furniture.
Pergolesi designs on antique furniture are rare by the fact he worked only a sort period of time in the UK, also those who worked with him in this area left London to work overseas before the end of the 18th century. With this short window of opportunity, very few pieces were made by these celebrated artists and designers in the 18th century, making them highly sought after. Later work like this can be seen in the late 19th century,when this type of work hit a revival in the fashion moods at the time.
A link to the clock decorated below can be found by clicking here Gill of Rye Grandfather Clock.
Most of written information on this subject can be found by reading books on the ‘Age of Satinwood’ as many pieces were decorated on this wood surface as satinwood offers a ‘plain canvas’ so to speak for the artists work. It is also true though you will see works decorated on mahogany cabinets in the last quarter of the 18th century. One outstanding such painted decorated clock is seen below.
Bringing back to life an old dusty and somewhat dilapidated antique grandfather clock into a stunning clock fit for any home is a skill that few people can master. Our workshop here in Cheshire has many years of experience in repairing and restoring antique clocks and furniture with differing respective challenges. I must first say I would only recommend in undertaking such a complex and painstaking restoration if you have the necessary skills and knowledge to achieve this. Poor quality restoration can reduce the value of any fine antique. Sympathetic restoration by highly skilled craftsmen is really important in this respect. Some of our repairs that we have to carry out on clocks is to take away old poor quality repairs. It is usually the case a ‘sleepy’ grandfather clock can actually be easier to repair in may ways than an over restored example. Once something has been ‘over restored’ it is very hard to correct. The lovely patina in many cases has been stripped off and the beautiful colour underneath the years of grime has been ruined, generally by whatever pot of stain the culprit has used. It is the case restoring sympathetically takes a lot longer, but the end result is far far superior.
We have lots of superb restored North West or Liverpool clocks for sale, you will see a lovely examples if you can visit our search facilty on our website to see various Liverpool clocks here.
In this blog I will be looking at a lovely North West clock that we have just restored here in Cheshire. To give you some idea of the time taken, the cabinet required just short of 9 full days work and the movement about 2 and a half days.
If only the maker William Garnett of Bold could see the clock now, looking probably even lovelier than it did when it was new back in C1770
As you can view from the pictures above, the Garnett of Bold antique clock movement has been cleaned and overhauled, it has been brought back to life so to speak. 2 and a half days in the critical A and E department of our Cheshire antique clock workshop and now its heartbeat is working strongly again.
As you can see from the various pictures taken prior to the restoration taking place, the clock cabinet was in a poor state of affairs and required some difficult sympathetic restoration to bring this past master back to life. The base panel was warped and twisted and another issue was the wood that was veneered on was all shapes. The hood door mask was smashed and various mouldings and feet to the clock needed attention. The cleat to the trunk door was also loose and the clock had numerous places of small repairs to be completed. All time consuming and meticulous work. It is vital for any of these repairs to be undertaken with wood if necessary of the same age and colour and grain, so a good match can be obtained. Replacing a foot or moulding with new wood will make it impossible for the repair to match correctly. We have a store (all humidity controlled) of 17th ,18th and 19th century woods so a good match can be achieved. Animal glues are used in repairs just like in the past. Animal glues have a great quality that is pretty much unmatched by modern glues. The veneer stuck down with animal glue can be reheated if necessary and unstuck. This meant performing repairs, like was necessary to the base panel of the clock, was possible.
In the pictures above very difficult repairs had to be carried out on the base panel. The base panel was warped and their was no way the wood the the veneers to the front had been veneered on could be saved. It had multiple splits and was really rough chopped. We had to remove all the veneer from the base panel. Upmost care has to be taken here, as mentioned veneer is stuck down traditionally with animal glues. An iron and wet rag can therefore be used to steam the veneers off the damaged back panel. A 18th century flat piece of mahogany was used to glue the original veneers back down and straps were used so the twisting of the base panel is reduced in the future. All wood used in this process is wood of the correct age of the clock. The veneer is clamped and glued with animal glue as before. The outside of the clock now has a perfectly flat base panel that will be structurally sound for the years ahead.
Above you will see lots of tasks carried out by our antique furniture restoration department, the top of the mask was replaced in 18th century wood and various other smaller repairs all over the cabinet. In the next series of pictures you will see the final completed restoration. All work carried out sympathetically and preserving the beautiful colour and patina of this clock. I hope you will agree a repair carried out to the highest standards and making the clock sound for future generations.
I could give you many references on the quality of our restoration that our antique clock and furniture repair and restoration department has carried out. We have undertaken repairs for major Embassy’s in London, important Hotels and for influential private individuals. I remember a Sotheby’s director who attended our shop opening many years ago of Pendulum of Mayfair in London, said he had never seen as sympathetic restoration before. We pride oursleves on this, you can view items on our website to see our standards or even beter still drop by our shop in London or antique repair and restoration workshop premises in Cheshire where this work is carried out.
If you want any information or prices on having your clock professionally overhauled and repaired, please visit our website Pendulum of Mayfair. You can also follow my antique clocks tweets on twitter by clicking here. Alternatively please read and like my antique clocks page on Facebook.
We all owe a huge debt to the brave souls that lost their lives protecting us in this country and providing the freedom we now have today. With 100 years since the start of World War I, I would like to write a short blog as my form of dedication and memory to them.
In an effort to help us win World War One clock factories and many other factories in the UK changed production from things like clocks to miltary hardware. Smiths and Sons based in Cricklewood, were one such company, they were established in 1851 had a very technical workforce and as well as clocks that were needed for the war effort, they helped with things like fuse production. This company also produced the first odometer and speedometer. We are all in this together was not just a saying but in real action during the war years, everyone chipped in with helping with the war effort, and confronting the foe that stood before us.
We have just had the honour of restoring for sale a superb antique grandfather clock by John King of London. It is not often you get any real history or insight into what was going on through periods of the clocks life, with this clock we get an insight into what war life was like in WWI.
Engraved on the movement are the following things that really sends a shiver to the spine.
Cleaned & Repaired By W.U.Holmes September 1914
‘At war with Germany & Austria and still smiling ‘
Later Engraved in Nov/December 1917
‘War still on. But no smiles now.’ W.U.Holmes
You really get the impact on life, through this small engraving, into effect of the war years by a horologist at the time. When I am ever miserable or think I wish I had this or that, I think back to conditions and hardships back during wartime and realize just how lucky most of us are today. My thoughts go out to all those who gave up their lives so we have our freedom that we live with today. We owe a great debt to women during the World War’s who manned most of the factories at home whilst their husbands were fighting on the front line, making ammunitions and things vital to the war effort.
A while back now I wrote a blog about moon-phase antique clocks but after we restored this superb antique grandfather clock by James Clarke of London, I thought it was important to write a little more about London mahogany moon-phase clocks in particular and why they are so rare and sought after. The link to the earlier blog can be found here: Moonphase antique clocks Blog
Further information about the James Clarke grandfather clock can be found by going to : James Clarke Antique Grandfather Clock
This clock above is a simply beautiful example of a London moon-phase clock. You will notice the high quality matted centre to the cast brass dial. Chapter ring and spandrels, subsidiary calendar and recessed seconds feature, lovely engraving to the moon discs to the arch. The name is prominently engraved to the cartouche around the arch, beautiful painted moon disc and a special extra feature of strike/silent lever to the three o’clock position on the dial.
The picture above shows the beautiful working of this James Clarke 8 day antique clock, you will notice one large extending piece of brass for the front plate top, so that the dial feet can miss the moon disc. Lovely high quality 5 pillar London movement, all now beautifully restored back to showroom condition.
I will now return to why so few London clocks have moon features. I suppose there are two main reasons, the first reason which is an important point to start from is the size of the London dials. Provincial 12 inch dials tend to be 17 inches high which would allow for a full semi circle to the arch, easily enough space for a feature like a rotating moon disc. On a London clock the height is 1 inch less, that means on a 12 inch wide dial, the height of the dial is only 16 inches. The space to the arch is now no longer a full semi-circle then and far more restricting. On the dial above you will notice the arch is not a semi-circle and the cartouche around the arch tapers to the centre.
The second reason is centred around the fact that London is London, trading in the UK outside London was not really required back then, there were plenty of wealthy clients in and around London. Moons generally were required to check when to travel, generally merchants would travel on and around full moons, so the risk of the Highwayman was not so great. Clearly some clocks like those with high tide, will also occur sometimes with moons. Knowing when your high tide in your local port like London bridge was also important for the merchants. Travelling around London with the fact they had good street lighting fired by oil lamps after 1750 was not so hazardous, so knowing when the next full moon was, was not really as important.
As discussed in my other blog about moon phase clocks, there were lots of different types of moon, but it is the rolling moon like that on the James Clarke clock that was the most popular. Two moons appear on these discs, but only one can be visible at any one time. Generally on London clocks the moon is accompanied by a starry sky rather than country scenes on provincial clocks. There are, as previously discussed, 29 and a half days in a lunar month, we divide up the 12 months into either 31, 30,29 or 28 days to compensate. The exact lunar cycle is 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes and 2.8 seconds I believe, I hope my memory is right ! The clocks moon as it is 29 and a half days and is therefore fairly accurate, once set !
The James Clarke antique grandfather clock picture above shows what a top quality clock should look like. Not only the dial and movement show amazing high quality features and detailing, the case shows only the finest London case making features of the late 18th century. Quarter columns, brass capitals to the base, moulding to bridge top door and base and 2 plinths are but some of these lovely features. To view this clock please visit our shop in London, Pendulum of Mayfair or contact us through our website http://www.pendulumofmayfair.co.uk . James Clarke is listed as working in Newgate Street, London and was apprentice in 1760 and a member of the Clockmakers Company from 1768-78.
Daniel R Clements
#SBS Theo Paphitis Winner August 2014 : Antique Clocks Twitter