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Shipping Clocks Around the Globe

Exporting our Antique Grandfather Clocks

As a family business we have been exporting antique clocks around the world for the last 40 years. Our main markets over that time have been to our friends in the USA, Canada and Australia. We have also experienced recently exports increasing to countries like China and Russia. Clearly shipping or exporting valuable antique clocks has to be carried out by a specialist firm. Here at Pendulum of Mayfair we use a company called, ‘The British Shop’. We have used them and found them to be absolutely excellent over the last 10 years. We have exported lots and lots of precious antiques with them.

Use a Specialist Antique Shipper

We have had many compliments both on our procedure and our after care support. These add to the wonderful comments about the quality of the shipping provided by the British Shop. I have flown out to the States on a few really high value sales and I have been there to unpack. I must say I have seen with my own eyes the extra care taken in packing.

The British Shop Team
The British Shop Team

High attention is always given to the crating and packing of your lovely new antique clocks purchase. Once cleared payment is received by us. The clock starts ticking on the process that will see your beautiful new clock purchase keeping time in your home. We first thoroughly check the movement. We wax and check the case. Then the clock is collected by the shipping company to be carefully packed.

Packing Process

The packing process is crucial. The trunk and movement will normally be packed separately in specially made ply-wood crates. These crates will be large, so that they can only be handled with care. The clock is encased in packaging material and then fixed in position within the crate. The clock will not be able to move within the case in transit. We go through the straight forward setting up process when the client is in the shop. Further to this we provide comprehensive setting up instructions. You can fall back on these. They cover ever conceivable aspect of set-up.

Easy Setting Up Process

Also we are always on hand on our Cheshire workshop number 01565722197. We aim to take any queries on set-up until late here in the UK.  Once the shipper collects the clock, all parts of the clock will be carefully listed on a manifest. The clocks trunk, the hood, the movement, the pendulum. The weights, the winding key and finally any door keys and finials are noted.

For our superb range of antique grandfather clocks  that can be in your own home, ticking on the other side of the world, generally within 3 weeks of cleared funds visit us.

Typical Prices

For typical export or shipping prices see below or contact

USA – £700-£1,000

Australia £700-£1,400 (depending on sea or air freight)

Canada – £1,000

China – £1,200

For other places around the world please e.mail me for a quote, I will need the dimensions of the item you wish to purchase. I will then forward this information to our specialist shipper. I can also arrange special export discounts for our overseas clients on ticket prices, that will mean in most cases the shipping element will be effectively free.

Daniel Clements




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Silvered Brass Dial Clocks



 1771 Clock by Cranmer of Birmingham
1771 Clock by Cranmer of Birmingham

A couple of years ago I wrote an informative post on painted dial grandfather clocks. Their history and development. I have written this piece in conjunction with that post as the two really go hand in hand. Right I hear you all ask, well how are they connected?

Engraved Brass Dials

The rise of the white dial grandfather clock dials in Birmingham made the brass dial manufacturers sit up and take notice. This new technology could easily take over and this was centered in Birmingham. Dial painters would really have a monopoly over the supply. The clock makers who had specialist engravers and relied on the brass cast dials clearly had to do something. The white dials were pretty and they served a purpose of being easier to read the time on the clocks face.

A challenge to the white dial dominance

White dials with blued iron hands were really easy to read, even from a distance. The clock above is so significant as it is dated 1771 and is an all over brass silvered dial clock. The painted dials were recorded as starting in pretty much the same time as silvered brass dials. It is probably of a great deal of significance that the clock above was made in the same town as where the white dials started production in Birmingham. I believe Mr Cranmer has his ear to the ground so to speak.

First of its kind

He developed the dial above as one of the first of its kind, to compete with these new painted dials coming on the market. You will notice the unusual painted scene to the arch and the slightly strange thick engraving to the dial.  Further examples of silvered dial white dial grandfather clocks. These can be found on our website of Pendulum of Mayfair or by clicking here: Pendulum of Mayfair Ltd.


London silvered brass dial clock by Tatnell C1790
London silvered brass dial clock by Tatnell C1790

Tatnell London clock

You will see a later more standard London silvered brass dial clock by Tatnell of London. With an all over silvered brass dial, the dial is cast brass in the 18th century. this is then made to look like silver by rubbing with a white powder called silver chloride. This leaves deposits of silver on the dial. It gives it its silver look. In most cases the dial is then lacquered to make it slightly harder wearing. Generally though a silver coating on the dial will wear over time and needs re-silvering every generation.

Temporary Solution to White Dial Dominance

In the 20 years after the development of the painted dial grandfather clock dials sales boomed. The sales on the other hand of the standard grandfather clock dial decreased. The brass dial with chapter ring and spandrels started to become less popular. Up to 1790 as a result of the development of the silvered brass dials sales were running about equal. After C1790 though the sales of white dial continued at a pace. By C1820 you were looking at a market that was dominated with painted dial clocks. The painted dial manufacture set up in other places around the country. Not just in Birmingham. The brass dial clocks were on the decline. The silvered brass dial saved the production for 20/30 years. The decline of brass dials and rise of painted dials had taken hold.

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André Charles Boulle Clocks

I do not get much chance to look at clockmaking in France as I love 17th and 18th century English clockmaking. Today therefore I would like to concentrate on the great French cabinetmaker whose clock cabinet styles bear his name, André Charles Boulle 1642-1732.

Boulle Clocks

Boulle was considered to be the finest of all in the field of marquetry. He perfected the technique of inlaying brass on tortoiseshell. This became known as Boulle or in the 19th century in the UK as Buhl work. Boulle became chief cabinetmaker to the King of France. He produced all kinds of pieces of furniture for Louis XIV, his family and the court. Boulle was born in Paris and as mentioned trained as a cabinet-maker. He also trained as an architect, bronze worker and engraver. Boulle was not the only cabinet-maker who was working in this field, Jean Bérain also excelled in this area. Bérain designs tended to be more elaborate, both gentlemen were clearly well ahead of their time. During the late 17th century and early part of the 18th century it was very popular in Europe.

Typical Examples

Late 17th century Religeuse Boulle Clock
Late 17th century Religeuse Boulle Clock

This superb Religeuse French clock by Pique Rennes can be viewed here. The case of this clock may be attributed to the workshops of Boulle. He was known to have made cases for all the prominent makers of the last quarter of the 17th century. André Charles Boulle was granted lodgings in the galleries of the Louvre by the age of 30. His skill was recognised at an early age. The importance of this honour cannot be underestimated Boulle was granted special Royal favour and this included the important privilege of freedom from the trammels of the trade guilds.


He was employed for many years at Versailles. Here the mirrored walls, wood mosaic floors, inlaid panelling and marquetry furniture were amongst his fine work. He had many royal commissions to work on for great nobles. Also government figures vips and many wealthy people in his own country. He was nonetheless always lacking in funds, I suppose his collecting vices always made this be the case. He was always in debt and he died in 1732 full of fame yes but also full of debt.

Boulle clock from late 19th century
Boulle clock from late 19th century


Superb detailing of Boulle clocks

This is a superb example of a late 19th century Antique Boulle Clock . It is a superb example of the very same technique employed by André Boulle two centuries earlier. His name lives on in French clockmaking. They are wonderful collectible antique clocks, this example shows a wonderful porcelain panel with painted cupid.

For further details visit our website.
Pendulum of Mayfair or connect to me on twitter, antique clocks twitter Daniel Clements.

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Duration of Grandfather Clocks

Antique grandfather clocks tend to be weight driven and go for a specific amount of time on a wind. I will cover the standard examples in this blog. For examples of different types of grandfather clocks please visit our grandfather clock stock page by clicking this link:  Antique Clocks For Sale.

1 Day to 1 Year Duration

The most basic of antique grandfather clocks is the simple 30 hour duration antique grandfather clock. These were made generally for simple cottages in the country. They have simple mechanisms with one weight that drives both the striking mechanism and the going side mechanism of the clock. Since the weight drives both sides of the clock is has more work to do and thus it winds out far quicker. The weight is normally about 8lbs in weight driving this clock.

Lovely 30 hour grandfather clock in oak case
30 Hour Grandfather Clock – Bowfield

Bowfield of Melton Antique Grandfather Clock.

Most common is the 8 day clock

The most standard of all antique grandfather clocks is the ‘8-day’ grandfather clock. These clocks have a movement split into two separate sides. One weight driving each side. There is a striking side weight and a going side weight. Each weight has its own separate job to do. The movements tend to be 4 wheel train and the weight of the weight is usually around 13lb each. Sometimes higher quality movements run on a slightly smaller weight, as there is less friction involved. An example of a standard ‘8-day’ grandfather clock is found below.

Lovely London mahogany '8-day' grandfather clock
Henry Jenkins Grandfather Clock C1770

Henry Jenkins Grandfather Clock C1770

Long duration clocks

We are now moving into the realms of the rarer clocks. Every so often you come across a month duration or maybe a 3 or 6 month duration grandfather clock. Months duration grandfather clocks have like the ‘8-day’ grandfather clocks two trains for the mechanism. Usually one weight for the striking side and one for the going side. The movements tend to be 5 wheel trains and tend to wind anti-clockwise. The driving force tends to increase dramatically as well. The weights tend to be around 30lbs in weight each one. That is over the double the weight of an ‘8-day’ example. A lovely month clock can be found below.

Cabinet gets thicker construction on long duration clocks

One important point to note is as the duration of the clock increases the structure of the case gets more robust. This is required to cope with this extra weight. The sides of the case get thicker and construction gets all round slightly better to cope. A month case should be heavier than the equivalent ‘8-day’ example.

Long duration marquetry clock C1690
Lovely Month Duration Marquetry Grandfather Clock

Year Duration Clocks

Finally on very rare occasions you will find year duration antique grandfather clocks. We have only ever owned a handful of these very rare clocks. Some examples use the power from two weights to drive the clock. Alot of power is required to keep the clock running. You can also find some examples that will strike. These are generally on the earlier examples. The later Georgian examples tend to more about timekeeping and precision movements. Weights are very heavy in these clocks. Generally they need steel cable to support the weights. Each weight can be over 60lb. A minimum of 6 wheel train and high pinion counts are found of these types of grandfather clock. Clearly only the top makers produced such clocks.

Daniel Clements

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John Topping Equation of Time Clocks

I have had the pleasure to come across this amazing early 18th century ‘equation of time’ clock by John Topping of London. John Topping is not a household name in today’s clock world but he really should be. He built some of the most fantastic complex antique clocks during his time working in London.

Complex Clocks

He started as an apprentice to William Grimes in 1691 and he worked up until his death in 1747. He always described himself as ‘Memory Master’. I am not sure if this was a honour bestowed on him or if it was like a sales and marketing slogan. Either way he produced some exceptional clocks.

Further details of month duration ‘Equation of Time’  John Topping Clock.

Figure 1: Equation of Time John Topping Clock C1730

Equation clocks

The clock above is a fine example by John Topping. A superb early 18th century antique clock manufacturer in London. It is a most desirable combination of a superb and interesting complex movement and a beautiful veneered walnut cabinet. The dial is 12 inch and is signed to a recessed triangular sector, ‘John Topping Memory Master.’  The dial is of a specific elongated dimension to fit the extra large seconds. The rise and fall of pendulum and strike/silent dials is to the arch.

Year Calendars

If you continue down from where the makers name is signed and above the six o’clock position on the dial, you will see a revolving year calendar. On this year calendar there is an equation table allowing you to set ‘true time’ in the 18th century. I will come to what ‘true time’ is later in this piece. The top line of this year calendar is engraved ‘Sun Slower’ or ‘Sun Faster’. The next line gives the months divided into days which are numbered 5,15 etc for each month. The equation and calendar dial is set by a winding square next to the 60 and midday position on the clock.

True Time

You will notice that the winding holes are located above the centre position rather than below centre on most clocks This allows enough room for the equation of time year calendar ring. The thin blued iron strip marks the day of the mont. Then so many minutes faster or slower than a sundial can be read off for calculating actual time. The dial has superbly matted centre, chapter ring, specifically made spandrels and engraving to small sections within the arch.

The seconds feature to the arch is large which is a really nice feature. It also has a sunburst feature cut in the dial to the top centre section. A superbly laid out and designed dial by this wonderful clockmaker. In the picture below you will see how complex the movement requires to be in developing a dial like this.

Fantastic Quality Movement

The movement has a brass centre section and two side sections. From the picture above you can see the cam which lifts and lowers the pendulum for small adjustments to time. You can also see the many pillars used in this high quality movement.

18th century ‘Equation of Time’ table

Equation Table

The table above was sometimes pasted inside some special London clocks when they did not have a proper year calendar. Owners could work out the calculation manually. Clearly full year calendar equation clocks are exceedingly rare. Most likely these cost huge amounts of money. As such probably only a very small amount of these clocks were ever manufactured.

So what is ‘true time’ then ? In the 18th century finding out what midday was was relatively easy, a sundial could be used. The problem comes as this is not ‘actual time.’ As a result of the elliptical rotation of the earth. Clocks were sometimes slower or sometimes ahead of this sundial time. A good explanation and for the science minded of us can be found on the Wikpedia Equation of Time Page.

Daniel Clements

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Case Study in Antique Grandfather Clocks

The following piece ,’The Swing of the Pendulum’, is taken from April 2014 edition of Antique Collecting. It is based on John Andrews interview and discussions with myself Daniel Clements. Manager of Pendulum of Mayfair Ltd.

Figure 1. Superb and rare GIII, arched, brass dial, mahogany, ‘8-day’ London-style Longcase clock by John Grantham Newbury. Bat and ball automaton.

Interesting clock facts

It takes courage to come from a business in the provinces and open up in the West End of London. Especially when so many antiques concerns have been doing precisely the opposite. But this is what Pendulum did twenty years ago Taking Fred Perry’s shop and residence at 51, Maddox Street by buying the freehold. We then had control over the rent as one important cost element. This having been achieved as a deliberate long-term measure. The costs of converting the shop were a safe investment and Pendulum of Mayfair was launched.

Family Business

Many businesses in this field have come about as a result of what was a part-time hobby. A source of incidental income becoming so absorbing that the plunge to launching into full time was taken. Daniel Clements says that his father is a classic example. He used to say that he became a dealer in 1974 to pay for his vice of collecting. As a qualified mechanical engineer he was engaged in building factories. Designing new machines all over the world, acting as engineering director at Pilkington’s. But his love of clocks, playing with and restoring them, became a passion. This provided relaxation from the stresses of work. Eventually bringing about the decision to leave his job and set up as a dealer full time.

Nearly half a century old

When he did this 40 years ago it was considered to be a crazy thing to do. Like many who have entered the antiques business after years of dealing on the fringes of it. The impulse was too strong to resist. Even now, in his seventies, Mr Clements love of clocks is still as powerful as it was when he set up the business of Coppelia Antiques in Cheshire forty years ago. This passion has led to the establishment of a highly regarded business with a worldwide field of activity.

Figure 2. Superb ‘8-day’, c.1790, white-dial, moonphase, mahogany Longcase by collectable and well-regarded maker Bancroft Scarborough.

Finding special clocks

Throughout the 40 years since its start, Daniel Clements says the greatest pleasure the business has provided is in finding special antique clocks. Then restoring them as sympathetically as possible. Over the years they have developed the skills of lots of young people in their care. Trying to instill a love of old things and learning about their origins along the way. Touching old things, smelling them, and getting under ‘their skin’ is a long process and needs patience and understanding.

The workshop

The clock workshop is the hub of the entire operation and nothing is allowed to leave until Mr Clements is satisfied with the result. A familiar motto of the business is the saying ‘well bought, is half sold’. The special type of antique clocks Pendulum look for are so hard to find, selling them is the easiest part.

Figure 3. Lovely ‘8-day’, London, musical Longcase with mahogany cabinet, c.1770, Herring of London.

So many customers are now long term friends

Over the years many special pieces have come into their hands and customers have become friends.Examples of this provide instances of expertise combining with history to provide the customer with a truly remarkable acquisition. One particular clock sold to an Australian client was by the clockmaker Henry Lane. This was a superb musical Bristol Longcase clock from c.1790. Henry Lane, as it happens,was the first clockmaker in Australia. The story of how this comes about was a compelling one.

Transported to Australia

Henry was sentenced to death for forging money.This sentence was later changed by an act of clemency to transportation to Australia. He left Spithead on the Perseus with 112 other male prisoner son the 12th February 1802. This is what Clements feels is so special about antique clocks: they have a history and you can research more about the clockmaker’s life. They are a living working museum to the past and attractive pieces of furniture as well. How proud master clockmakers would feel if they could see their clocks still working perfectly in many homes today.

Figure 4. Fine c.1785 Peter Wood, painted-dial, mahogany, bell-top, double-fusee bracket clock with anchor escapement striking on bell and with repeat.

The Centre of London

With the Pendulum shop being situated right in the heart of London they have sold and restored clocks to many VIPs. Large companies like Asprey’s and Garrard’s, and major hotels like the Conaught. Recently they had the pleasure of restoring some really complex antique clocks for the Russian Embassy in London. Clements states that ‘the Ambassador and his assistants have shown us great kindness and consideration. We have lovely presents from them and also were delighted to attend their special day earlier this year. This was another of the fantastic memories we have built up over the years. The clocks were a challenge but they now look wonderful and are now fully functioning & proudly taking up their prestigious places at the Embassy. It was a real honour for us, and it shows how far we have come as a business over the years.’

Figure 5. Early 19th-century, double-fusee bracket clock by Hanson of London.

Great finds

Another entertaining example comes from their local specialist auction house in Chester. They had a lovely little clock for sale at auction about 20 years ago. There were four clocks in the sale,of which one was of great interest: it was catalogued as an ‘electric clock‘. When the hood was taken off the clock, the movement looked as though it was in a salmon tin, because it was enclosed. ‘We instantly knew what this clock was,and so, says Clements, my mother and father decided to split up in the room.My father said to my mother: you bid; if the other dealers see me bidding they will twig. My mother started bidding on the clock but she was very laid back. So much so that the auctioneer asked her are you bidding Ma’am? She said yes and the auctioneer slammed the hammer down.

Dust Encased Regulator

One dealer who was standing by my father noticed it was his wife bidding. He asked what the clock that she had just bought was. My father said, ‘oh, my wife collects electric clocks.’ Of course it was not an electric clock at all. The clock’s movement had been dust encased. It was a fantastic clock by John Holmes of London. The cartouche had been reversed on the dial and engraved electric clock. It clearly had been used as a ‘slave clock’ in the early 20th century, to drive other clocks around a factory.

Figure 6. Frodsham, London, fusee, mahogany wall clock, c.1860.

‘Daniel Clements says ‘I wish these bargains happened more often but it is not the case. Everyone thinks they have a master piece under their pillow or in their garage. The guy who purchased this ‘electric’ clock was told the story. He laughed; luckily he did not mind paying a handsome profit at the time.

Clocks for Investment

This clock will have appreciated many times in price since then though. Investing in antique clocks is just about as safe as houses. These master timekeepers come from an age where intrinsic labour costs are built in. Movements are handmade and built to exacting standards; they will continue telling the time in peoples’  homes for hundreds of years to come. Even throughout the recession, good genuine clocks have always appreciated in price.’

Figure 7. J & B Levi Dover, early (c.1795), mahogany, verge wall clock with silvered dial.

Hyman Russian Clock

‘I also remember when we purchased a lovely regulator clock with a painted dial. This clock was made for Catherine the Great of Russia. She was the most renowned and long ruling female leader of Russia. The clock came from the Winter Palace.It was brought out on a horse and cart just before the Russian Revolution at the start of the 20th century. I wish we had kept this clock, but then I wish we had kept many clocks we have sold over the years. We are in a business where we only buy what we love and we grow very attached to all our clocks. They are like extended branches of our family. Once you have restored the clocks, you feel part of them.Like selling puppies etc., the potential owners of our clocks, all get proper vetting! Luckily the people who love clocks are generally lovely people.’

Always Learning

Figure 8 . Mid-19th-century Austrian ‘2- day’ automaton and quarterstriking, large and impressive clock.

‘Every clock we buy and sell has its own story. You realize you are always learning new things; a lifetime is not nearly long enough. We can be proud of restoring and bringing back to life some lovely antique clocks. Yesterday’s craftsman’s work will live on at our shop in London, Pendulum of Mayfair Ltd. We stock some of the finest antique clocks anywhere in the UK. All these are fully restored and come with a year’s guarantee. All antique grandfather clocks are delivered free of charge anywhere in the UK. We have a full export shipping service to all four corners of the world. The USA is one of our biggest markets.’

At a time when there are so many stories of retrenchment in the antiques business it is a pleasure to find one of sturdy optimism.Pendulum of Mayfair at 51 MaddoxStreet, London W1S 2PH

Tel: 0207 629 6606

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British Automaton Clocks

Daniel Clements –

Antique clocks with automaton features, have been built for many thousands of years. You can go back back as far as Roman times to get a mention. The engineer Vitrivius describing alarm clocks with a gong or trumpet feature. From the these primitive automaton’s I am heading for some of the earliest automaton features on antique grandfather clocks.

John Lamborne Cambridge

This superb ‘8-day’ early 18th century burr walnut veneered antique grandfather clock with automaton is by a Cambridge maker called John Lamborne. Further details of this special antique grandfather clock by John Lamborne can be seen by clicking on the link.

This clock dates from around C1720 and is a very rare example of an early automaton on a grandfather clock. The soldiers in the arch move and ring the bell when the clock strikes the hour. This automaton like some of the earliest automatons known works from the striking mechanism.

Clearly the heavy figures to the arch require the power driven from the weight of the clock when striking. An interesting feature on the dial of this clock, is the plaque by the order of the Patentee No. 5. This clocks feature automaton must have been patented.

Cuckoo Clocks

When most people think of automatons they probably will first think of cuckoo clocks.These became fashionable in the 19th century and most examples manufactured were from around C1860. These types of clocks are still manufactured today. The earliest cuckoo clock can be seen around the mid 18th century. Not many from this period still survive today. The automaton bird will again work off the striking mechanism of the clock.  It takes alot of power to drive this type of automaton and so most cuckoo clocks are only of 1 day duration.

I am now going to look at what most people will see or understand by automaton. Automatons work from the pendulum on antique clocks. These type of automaton features swing back and forth with the movement of the pendulum. They can be directly off the pendulum or off the anchor which is driven by the pendulum. These automatons therefore work continually and not just on the hour.

Edwards of London Automaton

More details of this stunning C1790 automaton antique grandfather clock by Edwards can be found here, Edwards Automaton Antique Grandfather Clock . The automaton features a man chopping down the ‘tree of life. The axe moves back and forward as the clock ticks. Various other automaton features you can also find to the arch. I have seen see-saws, rocking swans, rarer badminton automatons like the one pictured below. Adam and eve depictions are found. Others like rocking ships are the most common form of automaton on a clock.

British Naval Power

The British were clearly an important naval power. Many owners like to have a depiction of a rocking boat to the arch. Some depicting famous sea battles. The clock below represents one of these very battles.

The clock above is a superb C1790 Scottish antique grandfather clock and more details again can be found but clicking on this link, Scott Edinburgh Automaton Grandfather Clock .

Grantham Automaton Clock

More details of this exceedingly rare automaton antique grandfather clock here. Grantham Automaton Antique Grandfather Clock .  This clock features an automaton game of Badminton. It is very rare and is again working from the pendulum / anchor. It is a glorious antique clock with wonderful mahogany veneers and of 8 day duration.

Adam and eve Automatons

The clock above is a superb arched painted dial with ‘Adam and Eve’ automaton to the arch.  Adam and Eve depictings usually involve automaton arms holding the apple. Sometimes even the serpent moving on the tree. This clock dates from C1780 and is in a lovely mahogany cabinet.

It is important to note automaton antique clocks of any sort, especially on pre C1800 clocks are rare. I have seen many examples that are faked. Care must be taken if purchasing one of these. I would only recommend buying from a dealer who will give you a money back guarantee that the clock is genuine.


Rare features like automatons can be found on clocks sold at Pendulum of Mayfair. This can add alot to the price. It is relatively simple in some cases to add this feature on a standard clock. Unscrupulous dealers will do this for profit. I have seen many such examples on the market. My advice is to only buy from a long established expert like ourselves. Willing to offer a guarantee that the clock is genuine.

Daniel Clements Follow me on Twitter

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Leicestershire Clocks

When it comes to Melton Mowbray, I suppose everyone thinks of one thing. Yes the town is famous for pork pies. Back in the 18th century the town of Melton in Leicestershire had some very good clock makers.

Thomas Boyfield Melton Mowbray

Thomas Boyfield was one of those very able watch and clock makers. The cabinet design is very similar to those cases known manufactured by Deacon of Barton. His records were found and are now situated in Leicester Museum. Samuel Deacon being a famous antique clock maker to come from this area.

Samuel Deacon

Clearly alot of information is known about Deacon through finding all his records. However, I am listing here a clock by Boyfield of Melton. Researchers can see the similarities in case design and the dial design. The dials were decorated in Birmingham. Unless you knew alot of information about Deacon clocks, you would think the clock I have pictured here is by Deacon himself.

Centre for Clock making

Leicestershire has always been recognised as an important centre for clockmaking in the 18th and early 19th centuries. I would recommend a visit to Samuel Deacons preserved clock workshop in Barton Leicestershire. It is a real eye opening experience. Leiecestershire museum also has alot of extra information of the clockmakers from this area. Therefore I would recommend a trip here. From my knowledge I can not remember many spring driven clocks from the county of Leicestershire. Deacon and other makers really only produced weight driven clocks.

Case Designs Leicestershire

You will notice the typical Leicestershire top to the door that you will see on clocks from this area. It is true that pretty much every area of the country had its own particular case design. Features like this top to the door are distinctive. Experts will only need to see this, to tell you where the clock was manufactured. This clock is of a lovely colour oak and with mahogany cross-banding and box wood fan inlays and chequer-board stringing. Quarter columns to the trunk and the typical hood design used on clocks like Deacon sold can also be seen.

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John Ellicott Clockmaker

John Ellicott , father, son and grandsons were amongst the finest antique clock makers of the 18th century.As a result 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. In 1760 John Ellicott FRS took into partnership his son Edward. Edward also was a fantastic clockmaker and the way they signed their names then changed. Edward Ellicott also became Master of the Clockmakers Company.

Master of the Clock Maker’s Company

Prior to 1760 Ellicott clocks were signed John Ellicott London. 1760 to 1769 Ellicott clocks were signed just Ellicott. From 1769 to 1788 this was changed to John Ellicott and Son. These facts you can see this outstanding grandfather clock 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.

Royal Exchange London

This clock above is by John Ellicott’s 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. He 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.

Academically Brilliant

John’s son was reportedly academically brilliant and also 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.

Fellow of the Royal Society

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. Also 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 compensated pendulum. He worked to try and eliminate the disadvantages of the grid iron pendulum, Harrison invented.

Ellicott Pendulum

Ellicott pendulums were an amazing feat of engineering. They worked to very high standards. As a result far exceeding anything else of the day. These pendulums were very complex to make though and therefore expensive. Not many clocks still exist today with one of these pendulums. Ellicott’s work was always to the highest of standards and the antique bracket clocks 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

Family Clock Business

In 1760 this famous clockmaker John Ellicott FRS , took his son Edward into the business. Working 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 familys’ but none left their mark as great as the achievements of this family. They always strived to better on what had been achieved before.

Clock Making Dynasty

Can I think of a clockmaking family as well regarded. I do not think so, as a result 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.

Daniel R Clements

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Enamel Dials

We have been in the antique clock business for over 40 years. It is true to say enamel dial antique clocks are rare. You can see them occasionally on bracket clocks in the 18th century. Searching for examples is hard. It is like finding a needle in a haystack however finding a true enamel dial on a grandfather clock.

True Enamel or Painted Dials

If you undertook a search for enamel dial grandfather clock you will find lots of listings. Dealers loosely apply the term to a standard white painted dial. These clocks with white painted dials started manufacture in Birmingham with Wilson and Osborne from around C1772. It was true to say the Clockmakers Company in the early days frowned on achievements outside London. Clock makers tried and most times failed to make alternatives. One alternative was a true enamel dial. True enamel dials such as the superb example pictured here was made from a mixture of glass, tin oxide, borax, peat ashes and salt.

Hard to fire large pieces of enamel

A complex mix of substances was then melted and turned into moulds to harden. This mixture was then ground to a powder and mixed with water. The enamel was then mixed with lavender oil to make it adhere to the copper dial plate. This mixture was applied to the dial and then the dial was fired at high temperatures in a clay oven. The temperature was carefully monitored and then the dial was cooled very slowly to prevent any cracking.

Time Consuming Process

I hope you agree a process that was very time consuming and complex. To get this to work on a large dial it was very hard. That is why in this case you will see the arch is fired separately. I am sure the risks of cracking with a 12 inch piece of square enamel was a large enough risk. The lovely painted work and decoration you will see on this dial is the result of further firings. Rose Vermillion being one of the hardest colours to apply.


This is an outstanding and very rare clock with a true enamel dial. It has been mentioned the maker of these rare enamel dials was the brother of the famous clockmaker James Tregent. He was called Anthony Tregent. For further information please view the book Theelke, Anthony; Faces of Mystery. This is a lovely flame mahogany veneered grandfather clock with strike silent feature to the arch. The movement is of ‘8-day’ duration and strikes the hours on a single bell. Superb London quality case and typical high quality movement features.

Daniel Clements

Pendulum of Mayfair Ltd