George Bayford in Upper Shadwell, London. A marquetry case tall clock. Circa 1690.
George Bayford is listed in Brian Loomes Clockmakers and Watchmakers of the World He is listed as apprenticing in 1682 to Richard Colston of London. He was married in 1692 and then worked at the St Paul’s parish, Shadwell, Middlesex. Shadwell is located in east London on the Thames river. St. Paul’s Shadwell is traditionally known as the Church of Sea Captains.
This case has typical proportions for a clock made during this early time period. Clocks of this period tend to be narrow in their proportions and constructed on a smaller scale as compared to examples made 100 years later. This example stands approximately 8 feet or 96 inches tall and is 20 inches wide at the widest molding on the hood. The dial is 10.5 inch square. This clock was made circa 1690.
The case is constructed in oak and is decoratively veneered in richly figured walnut. This complex inlaid decoration is called marquetry and was all the rage in London. Separate pieces of veneer, often colored, are laid out in decorative patterns. This example features numerous floral patterns that includes roses, carnations and tulips. A bird is also depicted below the door. Long chain patterns are also included in this design and provide borders. All of which are laid out on the forward facing surfaces of the case. Please note the uneven surface of this design caused by the shifting of the oak substructure and the shrinkage of the veneer. This is a tell tale sign that this case has age and is not a reproduction.
The fine example stands flat to the floor on an applied molding that is attached to the base. The waist door is quite large and fill the waist section. It is trimmed with an applied molding and also features a circular cut out which is fitted with glass. This window measures just over four inches in diameter and is called a "Lenticle." Its purpose is to allow one to view the motion of the pendulum bob with out having to open the door of the clock. It also informs the admirer that this clock is fitted with a long pendulum which was new technology for the day. The sides of this case are decoratively finished. They are paneled as was the tradition of many London cabinetmakers. The bonnet features a blind fret pattern that is backed in a sand colored silk. Two brass finials are fitted to the plinths located on the front corners. The top of the hood is fitted with an inverted bell molding that is also decorated with inlay. Glass side lights are positioned on each side of the hood.
The ten and a half inch square dial is brass and features applied decorations in the form of spandrels, time ring and seconds ring. The engraved chapter ring frames the matted center on the dial. This center section is textured in an attempt to make the finely formed steel hands more visible when viewing the dial. The month calendar, which is framed with decorative engraving forming a cartouche and the subsidiary seconds dial are located here. The seconds hole is decorated with ring turnings. The applied time ring is engraved with an interior minute ring, Roman hour numerals, a separate minute ring located out side the hours and five minute markers which are an Arabic form. The time ring along with the seconds ring and calendar are silvered. Four heavily cast brass spandrels are applied to the corners of the dial. This clock is signed below the time ring on the dial sheet by the Maker along with his working location.
The weight driven movement is constructed in brass and is designed to run eight-days on a full wind and to strike each hour on a bell which is mounted above the movement. The strike train features a countwheel in it's design. The count wheel is attached to the main barrel of the strike train. Both winding barrels are grooved. Four ring turn pillars support the plates. The escapement is a recoil design and features a seconds length pendulum. Overall, this movement is excellent quality. The fact that it survives today in excellent working order is proof of this.
This clock was made circa 1690.
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