Williamson export market musical clock (c. 1790 England)

Williamson export market musical clock
Title Williamson export market musical clock
Country of Origin England
Dated c. 1790
Classification TIMOTHY WILLIAMSON OF LONDON (worked 1769-c.1790)
Signed/Inscribed/Dated Williamson London
Condition Very good
Dimensions 50.80cm wide (20.00 inches wide)
56.60cm high (22.28 inches high)
Status SOLD
Sound file Click here to download
Description / Expertise

D216. Williamson London. A particularly good late 18th century mahogany bracket
clock with enamelled dials playing one of four tunes at the hour employing 10 bells and
16 hammers. It has a fine florally engraved backplate featuring a basket of flowers and
a bird. The quantity and quality of the mounts would strongly suggest that this clock
was made for the export market, almost certainly to China.

This clock has a very substantial three train chain fusee movement employing an anchor
escapement and is provided with fast/slow regulation. It plays one of four tunes at the hour; Gramachree, Smirking Nan, Topsey Turvey or a hornpipe followed by the hour strike. This and the tune may be repeated at will.
The 7" brass dial is beautifully executed with rococo spandrels, a main enamelled dial with Roman hour and arabic minute numerals and three subsidiary dials in the arch for strike/silent; fast/slow graduated 0-60 and tune selection. Between these is the makers plaque.
The very fine quality and highly decorative case, typical of those being made for the export market, has a break-arch top with three brass bound and attractively figured mahogany pads.

A large and well executed urn finial sits on top and there are four matching finials to the corners. There is a decorative mount to the front of the case above the door which has an attractive ormolu band running around its inner aspect. There are substantial carrying handles to either side with floral silk backed frets below them. The four corners of the case are canted and have floral mounts attached to them with a scallop shell on top. There are gilded moulds to the base and the clock rests on elaborate gilded feet.

Height with/without finial 22.3"/20" (56.6/ 50.8cms. )
This clock last appeared on page 29 of the catalogue of Derek Roberts Exhibition of Mystery,Novelty, Fantasy and other Fine and Rare Clocks which took place from November 3rd to December 4th 1999 and was sold at that time.

Timothy Williamson, a highly skilled maker, produced a silver pair cased musical watch
with centre seconds for the Emperor of China and supplied a pair of agate flasks with watches for the Peiping Museum as well as four other clocks with automata. His masterpiece was a musical clock with an automaton figure which could write Chinese characters. This is in the Palace Museum, Peking.

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