The Lonsdale Tompion
Case: Gilt-brass basket top, well-proportioned and cast with symmetrical foliage, surmounted by gilt-brass thistle bud handle. Elaborate gilt-brass mouldings above and below the blued-steel body, acanthus-cast gilt-brass sound panels to the side and rear, base on gilt block feet; release mechanism in base allows the case to slide up and over the movement. Punch-numbered 23 twice on the rear base moulding.
Dial: 4.5 inches square, gilt-brass dial with four latched feet, signed Tho Tompion Lon: engraved within the matted centre beneath the rosette-engraved (Rose Graver) silvered alarm disc, narrow silvered chapter-rong, blued steel hands, cross-winged cherub spandrels. Pendulum bob visible beneath chapter-ring when door is open.
Duration: 8 day.
Movement: 3.5 by 4 inches with six latched baluster pillars; single fusee and spring barrel, securing pin in the baseplate for the front-mounted rhomboidal penudulum with an unusual calibrated regulation disc in the centre of the bob, adjusted by a male key, the crown-wheel mounted at 20 degree from vertical to avoid the fusee. Twice-six pull-quarter repeat on two bells, modified to repeat 1-12 (in Tompion's workshop?), alarm on the larger bell.
Escapement: Knife-edge verge; cock mounted on front plate.
Strike Type: Timepiece silent pull-quarter repeat with alarm.
Provenance: By family descent to W.J.E Lonsdale, of Auckland, New Zealand and sold Christie's, London, 29th October, 1959 lot 9: for a record price of 4,200 guineas (4,410 GBP) to R A Lee.
Untermeyer Collection, New York.
R A Lee, 1974.
Hochschild Collection, Paris, and Sold Sotheby's, London, 31 March, 1978 lot 211.
Christie's, London, July 1990, lot 103.
Literature: Dawson, Drover & Parkes, Early English Clocks, Woodbridge, 1982 p.430, 432, pl. 626.
R Garnier, 'Striking Royal Connections', Country Life, 6 December 1990. p. 128.
Evans, Carter & Wright, Thomas Tompion 300 Years, p.418.
Exhibited: London, V & A, International Art Treasures, March 1962.
Comments: No. 23 is the harlequin pair to No. 21; together these are only two known examples by Tompion to these miniaturised specifications in blued-steel and gilt-metal cases.