John Ellicott , father, son and grandsons were amongst the finest antique clock makers of the 18th century and I am going to dedicate this blog to them. We are lucky to have 2 amazing examples in stock by these great clockmakers. One of them an outstanding GIII mahogany bracket clock signed John Ellicott London. This dates from just before C1760, as in 1760 John Ellicott FRS took into partnership his son Edward who also was a fantastic clockmaker and the way they signed their names then changed. Edward Ellicott also became Master of the Clockmakers Company. Prior to 1760 Ellicott clocks were signed John Ellicott London. From 1760 to 1769 Ellicott clocks were signed just Ellicott, and from 1769 to 1788 this was changed to John Ellicott and Son. From these facts you can see the outstanding grandfather clock also pictured in this blog dates from 1760-1769 as it is signed just Ellicott. I would expect it to date from the start of the partnership between John and his son Edward, probably around 1760. The cabinet is of beautiful burr walnut and wonderfully decorated.
This clock above is by John Ellicott son probably the most famous of all the Ellicott family of clockmakers, John, FRS. John’s father also John came to work in London around C1690, he started his apprentaship and subsequently moved to the Royal Exchange, St. Swithins Alley and set up shop around the beginning of the 18th century. John Senior was a very fine clockmaker, he worked in St Swithins Alley until his death in 1733. His father must of passed considerably knowledge to his son, in 1728 John FRS was seen to be working with his father at these premises. John’s son was reportedly academically brilliant, as well as being very highly skilled with his hands. It is remarked in many text books that there were few men of his equal in this regard. Just after his fathers death in 1733, in 1738 he was elected to the Royal Society, this was an immense achievement. He had some really important and influential sponsors for this position. Ellicott carried out some important work and research in this role, he looked at various things like the effect of two pendulums upon each other and the variability of the length of a pendulum with latitude. It is without doubt though many people who remember Ellicott will remember him for designing what I call the ‘Ellicott Pendulum’, an amazing compensated pendulum. He worked to try and eliminate the disadvantages of the grid iron pendulum Harrison invented. Ellicott pendulums were an amazing feat of engineering, and they worked to very high standards, far exceeding anything else of the day. These pendulums were very complex to make though and therefore expensive and so not many clocks still exist today with one of these pendulums. Ellicott’s work was always to the highest of standards and the bracket clock pictured here is of the finest quality workmanship. Superb verge escapement, delightful engraved backplate and three train quarter striking fusee movement.
The link to this clock on our antique clocks website can be found here, Fantastic Ellicott Mahogany Bracket Clock
In 1760 this famous clockmaker John Ellicott FRS , took his son Edward into the business. They worked together until his fathers death in 1772. Edward ended up being a special clockmaker in his own right. He became the Kings watchmaker and was Master of the Clockmakers Company. Edward died in 1791 and the business continued with Edward’s son, Edward. An entire century of Ellicott’s, a clockmaking dynasty. Clockmaking did run in family’s but none left their mark as great as the achievements of this family. They always strived to better on what had been achieved before. Can I think of a clockmaking family as well regarded, I do not think so. An entire century of the finest antique clocks. The antique grandfather clock pictured below is an example of the partnership set up with John FRS and his son Edward in C 1760, as the dial is signed just Ellicott. The cabinet is the finest decorated cabinet I have ever seen.
The link to this clock on our antique clocks website is here , Outstanding Ellicott Walnut Grandfather Clock
I hope you have loved reading about the clockmaking family Ellicott of London , they were truly great and made some of the finest antique clocks ever built. A clockmaking dynasty that will never be repeated.
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Daniel R Clements