Featured here a simply stunning 12 inch mahogany grandfather clock. Arched brass dial moonphase by Stephen Tillinghurst of Liverpool. Clearly note the interesting spelling of Liverpool, ‘Leverpoole’. The dial showing chapter ring and spandrels. Also with polished and engraved centre, seconds and calendar. The maker’s name cartouche and moonphase to the arch. To sum up a real show stopper of a clock.
The case of superb colour and patination and with fine book-matched veneers to door and base. The clock standing on OG bracket feet and with dome top to the hood. A fine collector’s example. ‘8-day’ duration. The movement striking the hours on a single bell.
An outstanding north country flame mahogany veneered Longcase clock. Featuring an arch brass dial of ‘8-day’ duration by John Kaye. The cabinet showing the finest choice mahogany veneers. Also with long trunk door with reeded quarter columns. Including OG bracket feet and swan neck pediments with blue glass/gold leaf decoration beneath.
The dial with chapter ring and spandrels, moonphase with tidal times, seconds, centre calendar and superbly matted and engraved dial centre. Engraved above the moon is High water at Georges Dock. The movement striking the hours on a single bell. Well known Liverpool maker, this clock has huge significance.
It has engavings of places around the world so you can work out the corresponding times in these cities. The owner clearly was an important merchant. We purchased the clock from the famous Bibby family who had owned the clock for many years.
A fine flame veneered mahogany ‘8-day’ duration. Featuring arch brass dial Longcase clock by Lassell-Park. The dial showing finely matted and engraved centre. Also with recessed seconds, calendar, and moonphase to the arch. The movement striking the hours on a single bell. The cabinet with outstanding flame veneered mahogany, pierced fretwork columns to trunk sides and dome top and fretwork beneath to hood. To sum up a very collectible clock.
Shown here an outstanding mahogany Longcase clock. Featuring here a 13 in arched brass dial example by Joseph Finney. Clearly of the finest quality by this eminent maker. The dial showing sweep seconds and centre calendar. In addition polished and engraved centre, chapter ring and spandrels. Also with moon feature to the arch. The superb quality ‘8 day’ movement with a magnificent and rare ‘pin wheel’ escapement. Beautiful quality flame veneered mahogany cabinet. Superb colour and of the highest quality construction. Joseph Finney is highly regarded. Furthermore he is probably the finest maker to come out of Liverpool in the 18th century. To sum up a superb collector’s clock.
Antique grandfather clock cabinet production was separate from the clock maker. The clock maker just produced the fine antique clock movements. As you can imagine communities stayed very much together during the early years and people did not travel long distances. As a result you will notice every area of the country in the 18th century had a very different case style. It is very easy to place the manufacture of an antique clock cabinet from just a very few features on the case.
London cabinet designs changed only slightly during the 18th century. You will see after C 1720 and up to C 1800 usually two plinths, moulding to trunk door and high quality walnut, mahogany veneers or fine lacquer work cases. Examples of this can be seen below. After about C 1800 London clocks can lose the second plinth and the moulding to the door, but you will still see them being quite similar in design. You will also find these close similarities in cases of clocks within 50 miles or so of London. Many clock makers actually bought London style cases in these areas.
London Case Styles
Scottish case styles
You will find many regional designs of cabinets. After looking for a while you will get a good idea of where the clock maker was based from just looking a certain case features. In Scotland for example, especially the East Coast you get some wonderful cases from C1770 to c1810. They are all very slender, shaped top to the trunk door, high proportion base and standing on bracket feet. The most similar characteristic is the swan neck pediments to the hood.
North Western UK Case Styles
You will also find Manchester, Liverpool and Bristol cabinets to be quite distinctive. In the 18th century these areas were very wealthy, especially because of the trade going on with the West Indies and the USA. Manchester was the birth place for the industrial revolution. Cabinets in Manchester and Liverpool, tend to be quite large with quite imposing features, Og feet, Corinthian columns, fine veneers. You will see a typical high quality Liverpool case below.
Bristol was another very important port in the 18th century and the clocks made in this part of the country are very distinctive. Wobbly doors are very common and scenes engraved to dial are very popular, pierced swan neck pediments and OG bracket feet show the fine cabinet work. Again it is easy to see the wealth in this part of the country in the 18th century, the cases are very flambouyant. Understanding case design and the styles of the various parts of the UK cabinet design is important when looking to buy an antique grandfather clock. You can use this knowledge with further research to pinpoint all those important questions that you need reassurance with, when purchasing antique grandfather clocks. Our shop Pendulum of Mayfair takes all these worries away from you.
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. Each having 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.
Value After Restoration
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.
It is easy to over restore
Once something has been ‘over restored’ it is very hard to correct. The lovely patina in many cases has been stripped off. 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.
North West Clocks
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. The movement about 2 and a half days.
If only the maker William Garnett of Bold could see the clock now. The clock looking probably even lovelier than it did when it was new back in C1770
Before – After Restoration Images
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.
Pictures pre and post Restoration
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. It 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.
Time consuming work
All time consuming and meticulous work. It is vital for any of these repairs to be undertaken with wood of the same age and colour and grain. A good match can then be obtained. Replacing a foot or moulding with new wood will make it impossible for the repair to match correctly.
Humidity controlled environment
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. The 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. The twisting of the base panel is reduced in the future.
Period wood Used
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.This 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. Our antique clock and furniture repair and restoration department has carried out many complex tasks. 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.
Come see for yourself
You can view items on our website to see our standards or even better still drop by our shop in London. Also visit our 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. You can also follow my antique clocks tweets on twitter. Alternatively please read and like my antique clocks page on Facebook.
A good quality ‘8-day’ mahogany Longcase clock. Featuring an arch brass dial by Robert Johnson Woolton. The break arch top cabinet showing superb elegant design. Also with choice mahogany veneers. Including fantastic fretwork to the hood and the cabinet. Also standing on shaped bracket feet. The base with chamfered sides and raised shaped cross-banded panel. The long trunk door also with fine cross-banding. Lovely shaped top to the door. Quarter columns with wood capital to the trunk.
The dial with maker’s name in a boss to the arch, and the dial centre finely matted. Also with subsidiary seconds and calendar, chapter ring and ‘dolphin head spandrels’ to the arch. Fine shaped blued iron hands.
The fine quality brass movement striking the hours on a single bell.
Woolton is a prestigious middle class superb of Liverpool. Many Beatles landmarks can be found in Woolton, including ‘Mendips’ (Lennon’s childhood home at 251 Menlove Avenue) and Strawberry Field. Another one of Woolton’s claims to fame is that John Lennon and Paul McCartney first met at St. Peter’s garden fete on 6 July 1957.
Very rarely do we get the pleasure of buying back our special antique clocks. I believe you can count on one hand the clocks we have had back in over 40 years, for either financial or relationship reasons. I would like to write my first post for this year on a clock we sold about 20 years ago and have recently had the pleasure in buying back. It has just been completely overhauled again and is now back in showroom condition. It is pictured on our website.
Clockmakers Sometimes Could Not Spell
This antique clock is a beautiful mahogany brass dial moon phase example from the last quarter of the 18th century. ‘Wheat-ear’ engraving to the dial edge, lovely matted and engraved clock dial centre. Subsidiary seconds and calendar features and moon phase to the arch. Superb flame mahogany veneers. The cabinet even has an old pulley attached to the hood where a cord was run from the repeat lever of the movement to probably the bedside of the owner. This would let him know the last hour struck.
Liverpool Wealthy Area in the 18th century
We have not had to many examples from this clockmaker. He was clearly a special clockmaker of the 18th century to produce such outstanding workmanship. It is amazing though just how many clockmakers could not spell.(yes even worse than me!) The really quirky feature on this clock is how the maker has spelt Liverpool. He has spelt it probably how he said it, ‘Leverpoole’. This really made me smile.
Fantastic Self Taught John Harrison
I remember John Harrison the famous clockmaker who solved the Longitude problem. He taught himself to read I believe at home with a physics book. Correcting some of the equations as he went. Clockmaking in the 17th and 18th and even 19th century’s was a top profession. You only really entered through family connections. Long apprentaships and long hours followed before you qualified.
I have seen so many funny spellings on antique clocks but this spelling of Liverpool really tops the bill for 2012. I would welcome you sending me any other funny antique clock name spellings with their pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will post them on this blog for you.
I get asked many times about what I would choose if I was starting a collection of antique grandfather clocks. We feel privileged in helping many special customers and friends source their own private antique clock collections. The most important part if you are deciding to build your own antique clock collection is to purchase them somewhere you can get a guarantee they are genuine. I would also take you time in building up this collection, it can not be achieved overnight.
What type of clocks to collect?
I believe the greatest antique grandfather clocks were produced between C1680 and C1820. I am now going to suggest a possible date and styles that you could choose to form this collection. It is true you might prefer a particular style of antique clock and then you could just collect this style. There is nothing wrong in doing this. You may prefer just famous London makers from the 17th and early 18th centuries like Thomas Thompion or Edward East or George Graham. I have no problem in collectors heading down this route.
Broad spectrum of clocks
A route I will suggest here is a broad spectrum of special antique clocks from the entire range of the period suggested above. The collection could be increased still further from what is listed below by different dial shapes or antique clocks from different towns also showing distinctive case features.
Examples of Interest
I think it is important to start your collection with a special early example of a London marquetry brass square dial grandfather clock by a reknowned but not necessary ultra famous maker. This clock will date from around C1690 and be a good ‘8-day’ example, usually with a lentical to the trunk door.
I think next on the list would be a good ‘8-day’ or ‘month’ duration English burr walnut square brass dial grandfather clock, again by a good London clockmaker.
I think it is then important to source a good arch or square brass dial early lacquer clock from C1715. This again will be a London area example.
A burr-walnut arched brass dial caddy top London grandfather clock is also essential to any collection. These tend to date from C1715 to C1750.
A good early arched or square brass dial provincial oak grandfather clock should form part of any collection. These dating from early to mid 18th century. These will be good ‘8-day’ examples with maybe an early ‘penny’ moon feature or automaton to the arch or dial centre.
The clocks do not have to cost the earth.
An early oak or maybe pine 30 hour duration clock with brass square dial would be nice in any collection.
Moving on to my favourite period in antique clocks from C1760 onwards. A good C1770 London mahogany arched brass dial is vital.
A superb London mahogany arch white dial ‘8-day’ grandfather clock.
Moon examples of 7 and 8 are also important to any collection, as is an automaton example.
A good Manchester moonphase grandfather clock from around C1770
A typical Liverpool moonphase grandfather clock from around C1770
A typical Bristol tidal times moonphase mahogany grandfather clocks from around C1770
A typical Hull pagoda top mahogany grandfather clock from around C1770/C1790
A good Edinburgh grandfather clock from the end of the 18th century
A good white dial Dundee or thereabouts mhaogany arch dial grandfather clock from C1790
A good London with attached hood columns arched brass dial mahogany grandfather clock.
A good London with attached hood columns square silvered brass dial mahogany grandfather clock.
Various Precision Regulator examples with the differing means of pendulum compensation.
I have tried to form the basis of a wide ranging collection This could be a good tool for you to start building your own antique clock collection. Clearly there are some great clocks from other provincial towns around the country that I have not mentioned. You can also throw in some special provincial makers like Barber or Ogden or Deacon to the mix. I suppose a wide ranging collection should encompace as many differing cabinet styles from all the areas of the UK. These may also include one from the west coast of Scotland, or Ireland, even though I am not a big fan of the typical 18th century case styles from the these areas. This is just a personal taste though and one clock from each place as an example would not be out of place in any collection. I suppose this depends on space and finance though. I believe a minimum of 25 grandfather clocks would be required to be purchased to obtain a good overall wide ranging collection. This can then be bulked out if necessary be adding more towns or special collectible makers. Clock collecting can be quite addictive.