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Vulliamy, London. No. 527

SOLD

A fine mahogany balloon mantel timepiece. Circa 1812

Case

The waisted case with rich flame mahogany veneer, a brass bezel with convex glass above the moulded plinth on brass ball feet. Shaped rear door with circular glazed aperture.

Dial

The white enamel dial with Roman numerals and blued steel heart hands.

Movement

The superb eight day chain fusee movement with half dead beat escapement, rise and fall regulation to the ebony wood rod pendulum with numbered brass bob. Signed and numbered on the movement backplate Vulliamy London 527 and numbered on the frontplate 527.

Height 12 1/4 inches (31cm)

Width 8 3/4 inches (22.5cm)

Depth 51/4 inches (13cm)

Sold to George Hammersley on 28 August 1812 for 13 gns

George Hammersley was a partner of Hammersley, Greenwood, Drewe & Co. at 76 Pall Mall, a bank founded by his father, Thomas. The bank's Pall Mall office was next door to Vulliamy, and they went on to buy at least one other clock after this.

The Hammersley family were involved in banking from the 17th century; George's father Thomas was banker for the Duke of Cumberland and the Prince Regent, later George IV.

In a letter dated 10 May 1791, the Prince Regent detailed the items he left the bank in exchange for a loan: "a casket covered with red morocco leather containing a diamond epaulette, a diamond star, a diamond George, a diamond garter and sundry diamond trinkets and ornaments belonging to his Royal Highness".

George's brother, Hugh, was also a partner and was a member of parliament for Helston, in Cornwall from 1812 to 1818. He famously voted against buying the Elgin Marbles.

We are grateful to Roger Smith for this information.

The Vulliamys numbered most of the clocks they made, from 1788 until 1854, when the firm closed. The remarkable survival of two Vulliamy works books provides invaluable information for clocks with serial numbers including the patron, date of delivery and details of production.

The firm of Vulliamy, headed by Benjamin Vulliamy (d.1811) and his son Benjamin Lewis Vulliamy (d.1854), was primarily known by its role as Royal clockmakers. The family had held the Royal Warrant since the 1740s. However, by the beginning of the nineteenth century, the business at 74 Pall Mall encompassed such a full range of activities that B. L. Vulliamy was to earn the epithet 'the Prince's furniture man'. They enjoyed a pre-eminent position in the luxury goods market working for the Royal family as well as the English aristocracy. In addition to clocks, the firm supplied chimneypieces, candelabra and other decorative objects in bronze, ormolu and marble