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Grande sonnerie clock: M.4-1965

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Grande sonnerie clock


Clockmaker: Tompion, Thomas
Clockmaker: Banger, Edward




Table clock with grande-sonnerie striking. The case of oak, tortoiseshell and gilt-brass.

Dial: Dial plate 8 inches across with semi-circular break arch, gilt matted centre with mock pendulum in aper¬ture, gilt spandrels of a female head amidst scroll¬ing foliage, and unusual spandrels in the arch con¬sisting of complete cherubs amidst scrolling foli¬age. The rectangular section of the dial plate extended above the chapter ring to accommodate the signature ‘Tho. Tompion & Edw. Banger London', flanked by scrolled engraving and two silvered sub¬sidiary dials, the left hand one for pen¬dulum rise and fall adjustment, the right hand one engraved ‘Str 6/Sil 6 Str 1/Sil 1' to provide for silencing the quarter chiming only or both chiming and hour striking. The silvered chapter ring with typical cross-type half hour markings and the half quarters marked with simple crosses in the minute band. In the arch a simple calendar showing through curved slots the days of the week, each with its appropri¬ate deity, and the days of the month. Blued steel hands of typical Tompion design.

Movement: 8 day three train grande sonnerie movement, chiming the quarters on six bells; repeating hours and quarters by release. The movement with latched pillars and dial feet, and visible steel work nicely blued. Verge escapement with spring suspended pen¬dulum having lenticular shaped bob and regulated through rack and pinion rise and fall mechanism. Several minor parts provided to ensure accurate operation of the striking and repeating mechanism are now mising. The back plate engraved with scroll¬ing foliage, trophies and a basket of flowers, and signed in a cartouche `Tho.Tompion & Edw.Banger London'. Numbered `436' at bottom centre of plate with number repeated in same position on front plate, a rare feature. Original pierced and engraved winding key.

Case: Oak veneered with turtle shell with red backing and with fine quality, elaborate, gilt metal mounts. The case very much in the French manner, possibly reflecting the influence of Daniel Marot. It has a plain back and solid oak door, which suggests that it was designed to stand on a matching bracket as was often the case with French clocks. It is per¬haps signif¬icant that there are no carrying handles. Both clock and case are almost identical with No.422, signed ‘Tho.Tompion', although the latter lacks two mounts, one below the door and the other on the domed top. The case has metal mouldings and door frame and is surmounted by a finely modelled figure of an archer, probably Apollo. There are metal frets incorporating cherubs supporting carthouches in the frieze and scrolling acanthus foliage in the side windows, the frieze being sup¬ported by four female terms. Below the door is a fine mount consisting of a satyr's head flanked by two cherubs, the left hand one holding a clock and the right hand one holding a globe with mathematical instruments. This mount is also used on an earlier grand sonnerie clock, No.217. The gadrooned feet and built-up urn finials were used on a number of Tompion's better clocks.


History note: Sold at Sotheby's ? July 1932, lot no. 159, from estate of James H. Ismay, Iwerne Minster, Dorset to Percy Webster, then Collection of S.E. Prestige.

Legal notes

Bequeathed by S.E. Prestige

Measurements and weight

Height: 79.4 cm
Height: 32 in

Place(s) associated

  • London ⪼ England

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1965) by Prestige, Sidney Ernest


18th Century, Early#
Queen Anne
Production date: circa AD 1706


The only puzzling feature is the use of a finely engraved back plate in conjunction with a solid door but everything is undoubtedly original.

Tompion and Banger were in partnership from about 1701 to 1707. This is one of four grande sonnerie clocks made during this period which have almost identical French-style cases

School or Style


People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Case composed of tortoise shell oak brass (alloy)
Brass composed of gold

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: M.4-1965
Primary reference Number: 118348
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 16 March 2021 Last processed: Friday 8 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Grande sonnerie clock" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-07-16 08:53:05

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