David Lestourgeon (II) Tall case clock. A thirty-day runner with axillary speed adjustment. An arabesque marquetry case.

This important and early tall case clock was made by David Lestourgeon in London. There are three clockmakers named David Lestourgeon listed in Brain Loomes Watchmakers and Clockmakers of the World. David (I) is listed in Rouen, France and then in London by 1681. His Son David (II), is also listed in London in 1681. He was admitted a brother to the Clockmaker’s Company on April 4th, 1698 through 1731. His will lists him as a “Watchmaker and Innholder of Finch Lane, City of London.” David (II) worked with or for a number of London’s premier clockmakers. They include Knibb, Tompion and Massy. He also had a son David (III) that was admitted to the Company in 1721-51. This clock was most like made by David (II). The watch work that survives suggest that his training was influenced by the French school. The use of a bridge cock is one clue. Several longcase and watches are known.

This fine case exhibits excellent proportions. This example stands approximately 89.5 inches tall and is approximately 21 inches wide at the widest molding on the hood. The dial is approximately 12 inch square. This clock was made circa 1710.

The case is constructed in oak and is decoratively veneered in richly figured walnut. This case also features a highly complex inlaid decoration that is called marquetry. In fact, this treatment is best described as an “arabesque” form. This dramatic and complex inlay pattern and was all the rage in London during the period of 1690 through about 1725 in long case design. Separate pieces of of wooden veneer, often colored, are laid out in decorative patterns. This wonderfull example features long vine like intersecting patterns that are laid out on the forward facing surfaces of the case including on many of the shaped surfaces of the moldings. Please note the uneven surface of this design which is 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. Also included in the pattern are butterflies, exotic birds, and a manner house. This is a wonderful exhibition of wood working skill.

This fine example stands flat to the floor on an applied molding. The base is somewhat compressed as compared to long case clocks of a latter period. The waist is long and narrow which highlights the excellent proportions of the case. The waist door is quite large and fills the waist section. It is trimmed with an applied molding and also features a circular cut out in the center. This circular opening in the design is trimmed with a brass ring and 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 brass faced 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 considered somewhat new technology for the day. The sides of this case are decoratively finished. They are horizontally veneered in walnut and features line inlaid panes. This was the tradition of many London cabinetmakers. The bonnet or hood is designed with a cornice molding. Below this is a pierced frieze or blind fret section. Large rectangular glass side lights are positioned on each side of the hood. The squared hood door is fitted with three-quarter Doric columns. These and the quarter Doric columns located at the back of the case terminate in brass capitals.

The twelve inch square dial is brass and features decorative details that are both engraved and applied. The perimeter of this dial and the square hole around the calendar aperture are engraved with a herringbone banding. The seconds hole and the winding holes are decorated with ring turnings. Applied decorations in the form of twin cherub and crown spandrels a large time ring and subsidiary seconds ring are featured on this dial. The heavily cast spandrels are nicely detailed. The time ring is formatted with an interior minute ring, Roman hour numerals divided by delicate half-hour markers, 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. This clock is signed on the lower section of this time ring by the Maker along with his working location. This center section is textured in an attempt to make the finely formed steel hands more visible when viewing the dial. This is called a matted center. Here the subsidiary seconds dial and the day of the month calendar are displayed. At the top of the dial is an axillary speed adjustment. Turn the hand and the clock will speed up or slow down depending on the direction you choose. This indicator, the chapter ring, seconds ring and calendar ring are all fiish in a silver wash.

This weight driven movement is constructed in brass. Five knob and finned posts support the two large rectangular brass plates. Steel shafts support the brass gearing. Both winding barrels are grooved. This movement is designed to run thirty-days on a full wind. The escapement is a recoil design and features a seconds length pendulum. The strike train is governed by a rack striking system that strikes each hour on the hour on a large cast iron bell that is mounted on a stand above the movement. As for the construction of the works, 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 1710. It stands approximately 89.5 inches tall to the top of the center finial. Measuring at the upper hood molding, the largest part of the case, this clock is approximately 21 wide and 10.5 inches deep.

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