Sunday 22nd October 2017
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Words: William Gregory MRICS, Golding Young & Mawer Auctioneers & Valuers
Featured in the May 2015 issue

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The English bracket clock is thought to have originated in the 1660s. The combination of design and innovative mechanisms appeals to modern collectors.

Originally bracket clocks would have been placed on brackets to allow the weights and pendulum to hang down. As the clock design evolved through the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the term mantel or table clocks would have been a more appropriate description but the name ‘bracket clock’ stuck and became the generic term to describe spring driven clocks that did not hang from the wall or stand on the floor.

Bracket clocks were driven by verge escapements until the 1800s.  Silvered and brass dials were used from the 1760s and painted dials from the end of the eighteenth century. Most cases were ebonised and decorated with ormolu mounts, brass inlay and wood or tortoiseshell veneers. The backplates were often profusely engraved with scroll motif patterns and the name of the maker. 

Another common feature is repeat striking movements that could repeat the striking of the hour by pulling a cord or pushing a button.  This was to enable the clock to be read or heard at night prior to the invention of artificial light. Some also combined musical chimes.
Illustrated here are four examples of clocks selling in our Lincolnshire auction rooms.

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