Thomas Becket of Durham, England. A tall case clock.
This oak cased tall clock features a brass dial that is signed by the Clockmaker Thomas Becket of Durham, England.
The town of Durham is located in Durham County in the Northeast section of England. Many people visit this town yearly to visit the Durham Cathedral. Thomas Becket is listed as a Watch and Clockmaker who worked in this location from 1767 through 1795. This clock may be an early example of his work. This assumption is based on the provincial nature of the case having applied bonnet columns, iron "H" hinges used on the hood door and the stepped pediment or "Sarcophagus top" located on the top of the hood. It is worth noting that so few of these tops have survived after two centuries. So often clocks such as this were passed down through the generations, often being relocated into more humble homes of the original owners. The easiest way to shorten such a clock is to remove the top to reduce the clocks height. Many of these may have then ended up in the fireplace or stove of subsequent owners when they were no longer needed. This top is original to this case.
This clock stands 8 feet 3 inches tall. The case rests on simple cut out bracket feet that are applied to the base. The long and narrow waist is supported above the base with a lovely molding. The waist section features a long waist door that is decoratively formed at the top. The edges of this door are treated with a simple black painted highlight. The front corners of this waist section are treated with a simple groove design. The bonnet, with it's sarcophagus pediment, supports three turned wooden finials that have been gilt. The cornice molding is decorated with dental work. The bonnet door is fitted with glass and shaped bonnet columns flank its side.
This style of dial predates the painted dial. It is composed of a brass base sheet that is decorated with applied brass spandrels and chapter rings. The chapter ring, name boss and calendar dial are finished in a silver wash for contrast. In the arch of this dial is the Maker's name boss. This three dimensional detail is skillfully engraved with the Maker's name and working location. The large chapter ring is also applied to the dial. This ring displays the hours in a Roman numeral format. The five minute markers are indicated in each of the hour positions with Arabic style numerals. The center of this section is nicely matted. This was most likely done to aide in ones ability to located the hands while reading the dial. A brass dial will tarnish making it somewhat difficult to read in a room lit by candles. This dial also features the subsidiary seconds dial which is engraved and silvered. The calendar day is located in the aperture below the center arbor. The steel hour and minute hands are wonderfully made.
The movement is constructed in brass having nicely finished cast brass plates which are supported by smoothly 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 grooved. The movement is supported by a seaboard. It is good quality.
For more information about this clock click here .