John Clowes, London
A fine late 17th century pull quarter repeating table clock. Circa 1690
The ebonised and ebony case with repoussé basket top and repoussé mounts to the front and rear doors. The basket with cherubs, foliage and St.George and the Dragon is surmounted by a superb rare handle and flanked to the corners with cast finials.
The rectangular brass dial with foliate engraving above the silvered chapter ring signed John Clowes, London has trident half hour markers and Roman hours and Arabic minutes. The dial plate mounted with winged cherub spandrels has a matted centre with ringed winding holes, false pendulum aperture and a calendar aperture above VI and a strike silent lever at IX. Blued steel pierced hands.
The 8 day movement with five baluster pillars, going train with knife edge verge escapement with brass bob pendulum, the strike train controlled by an internal rack, striking on a bell. Pull quarter repeating on five bells via the rare feature of a spring barrel. The foliate engraved backplate signed John Clowes London.
Height 16 ins
John Clowes was born around 1651. He was made a freeman of the Clockmakers Company in January 1672 and described as a 'Great Clockmaker'. In 1684 he made a clock for King Charles II at a cost of £25. He was made Assistant to the Clockmakers Company in 1708.
A similar movement by John Clowes is discussed at length in the book, Early English Clocks, Dawson, Drover, Parkes, pages 401-406. The extensive use of square-on fittings is fully in line with the practice of the earlier Henry Jones. It is unlikely to be the work of Henry Jones but may well well have been someone with a close association with him in his formative years for the movement has many features reminiscent of his work and artistry.
Repoussé is a highly skilled and labour intensive method of decorating metals, in which parts of the design are raised in relief from the back or the inside and formed in reverse onto pitch by means of hammers and punches. The definition and detail can then be added from the front by chasing or engraving. The name repoussé is derived from the French pousser, “to push forward.” This ancient technique, which has been used extensively throughout the history of metalworking, achieved widespread popularity in Europe during the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries.