Stephen Henry of London, England. Tall case clock.
This impressive long case clock made by “Stephen Henry, London.” He is listed in Brain Loomes “Watchmakers & Clockmakers of the World” as working in 1760.
This fine mahogany cased example exhibits excellent London proportions. London made clocks traditionally are constructed to the highest standards. The base stands on an applied double step molding terminating in thin pad feet. A figured mahogany panel is applied to the front of this base and is trimmed with a delicate molding. The corners of this panel are relief cut. The waist section is long and narrow. It features a large tombstone shaped waist door The veneered panel selected for this location is outstanding. The sides of the waist or the corners are fitted with brass stop fluted quarter columns. These terminate in brass quarter capitals at each end. The bonnet is surmounted with a bell top or a pagoda form. An inset brass rococo panel is fitted into the front facade. Two brass ball and spiked finials are mounted on their respected finial plinths located at the outer corners of the hood. These plinths are fluted and capped with a wooden molding at the top. The bonnet door is arched and fitted with glass. Fully turned and brass stop fluted bonnet columns ending in brass capitals flank its sides.
This style of brass dial predates the painted dial. This was a very expensive dial to manufacture. It is constructed with a solid sheet of brass that is decorated with applied cast brass spandrels, an applied chapter ring and matted center section. The spandrels are a popular form and are cast in a rococo style. The arch spandrels center a "Strike / Silent " switch. This allows one to manually shut or to turn on the striking train of the clock. The time ring displays the five minute makers in Arabic figures. The Hours are indicated in large Roman numerals. A applied subsidiary seconds dial is located in the traditional location. Interestingly, it features Arabic figures at five minute intervals. This dial is signed by the Clockmaker on and applied plaque within the time ring located between the hours of 3:30 and 8:30. This engraved signature and working location are written in script lettering. The middle section of the dial is matted. This treatment aided one in the ability to located the hands while reading the dial. A brass dial in the 1700's could quickly tarnish. Living conditions were much dirtier during this period. A tarnished dial may be difficult to read located in rooms heated by coal and lit by candle or oil light. This clock was made and used long before the use of electricity and central heat. Today, dials like this keep their contrasting for generations because the environment is so much cleaner. As a result, the wonderfully made steel hands are easier to located an read.
The movement is constructed in brass having nicely finished cast brass plates which are supported by ring turned brass posts. The gearing is brass and the pinions are steel. The movement is weight driven and designed to run eight days on a full wind. This clock strikes the hour on a bell. The strike train is located between the plates and is actuated by a rack and snail design. The winding barrels are grooved. The movement is supported by a seaboard. The pendulum features a metal rod and a brass faced lead bob.
This clock was made circa 1775. It measures 7 feet 9 inches tall.This clock is inventory number SS-129.
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