The Medici Tompion No. 278
Case: Ebony veneers on oak with profuse gilt-brass mounts, inverted-bell top surmounted by an equestrian figure on a panelled pedestal now fronted by a reversed-C cypher, flanked by volutes; gardooned flambeau urn finials, floral swags and a central cartouche with the Medici arms (for Cosimo III de Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany), surmounted by a coronet. Elaborate cast foliate sound frets to the sides with acanthus dragon handles. Doric ebony columns and belflower escutcheons, the base with elaborate satyr mask and hooded mask to the front and sides, fitted with a drawer, the case supported on a gilt-brass scrolling foot with swags of flowers and central Bacchus mask.
Dial: 8 by 9 inch dial signed Thomas Tompion LONDINI Fecit in a palm frond cartouche flanked by silvered subsidiary dials, the left for pendulum regulation, the right engraved S6/N6/N1/S1, double-screwed Minerva mask-and-foliage spandrels, mock pendulum to the matted centre, blued-steel hands.
Duration: 8 day.
Movement: Triple fusee movement with 8 by 9 inch plates and seven latched baluster pillars, pendulum suspended from brass regulation bar, quarters able to strike on one or six bells, hours on a further bell. Trip quarter repeat via blued-steel interconnecting levers on the backplate which is signed Thomas Tompion LONDINI Fecit within a palm frond cartouche within profuse foliate engraving (G.155), punch-numbered 278 at the base.
Escapement: Pivoted verge.
Strike Type: Three-train full grande sonnerie with trip repeat.
Provenance: Presented c.1700 with an unspecified number of other clocks and watches by William III of England and Holland to his cousin Cosimo III de' Medici, Grande Duke of Tuscany. Rediscovered 1985 and sold Christie's, London, 26 November, 1985 lot 131, Private collection, Germany.
Literature: R Garnier, 'Striking Royal Connections', Country Life, 6 Decemeber 1990. p.128. Evans, Carter & Wright, Thomas Tompion 300 Years, p.392-395. Garnier & Carter, The Golden Age of English Horology, 2015, p.80-85.
Comments: The bill for this clock was outstanding on the King's death in 1702 and Tompion was obliged to petition William's successor, Queen Anne, on 19 May 1703 praying payment of 564 pounds: 15s: due to him for Clocks & Watches &c presented by his late Ma. to the Duke of Florence, to which the Queen's minuted response was Her Ma. has no occasion for his Clocks & Watches [London, Kew, National Archives, ten, T29/14 P.92].
Part of the Tom Scott Collection.