With the younger brother of the long-case clock, the spring-driven or bracket clock (usually known as a " table clock " in the eighteenth century) we have to return nearly to our starting-point. The earliest examples known resemble very much the hoods of the architectural ebony panelled long-case clocks of the 1675 period (e.g. Fig. 400). The cases are generally either veneered with ebony or are of solid pear tree, stained black. The movements are always of the highest quality, with fine early hands, narrow hour circles, with minute divisions on the extreme outer edge, well chased corner-pieces and water-gilt dials. Fig. 453 is an example of Edward East's work of the period when he was Court Horologist to Charles II. Fig. 454 is a three-train quarter-striking clock, - three bells, - in an ebony case, by Edward Staunton, of the 1675-80 period, and Figs. 455 and 456 show the front view and the back plate, respectively, of a fine clock by Robert Seignior, in an ebony and tortoise-shell case, of some ten years later. Figs. 457 and 458 are front and back views of another Edward East clock, with a curious device of a pierced hour circle behind the dial, visible through a lunette above the engraved hour ring, the numerals being cut out to show a light through, when a candle or some other light is placed behind the dial. This example may, therefore, be described as a "day-and-night clock." These early architectural bracket-clocks are exceedingly rare, and well worthy the attention of the collector. Somewhat more plentiful, but sufficiently scarce, in fine qualities, are the basket-top cases, the succeeding fashion which covers the forty years from 1680 to 1720. These cases, six examples of which are given in Figs. 459 to 464, are generally in veneered ebony, but they are to be found, in rare instances, with marqueterie cases, - e.g. Fig. 464, - still rarer, veneered with tortoise-shell, and, rarest of all, with mother-o'-pearl. The basket top may be of wood, brass, or, - as in the case of a fine clock, similar to Fig. 461, and by the same maker, in Mr. Wetherfield's collection, - of pierced silver. Fig. 462 shows the simple moulded ebony top, the case mounted •only with the engraved fret in the upper rail, and the two escutcheon plates on the upright styles of the door. Fig. 459, - a very fine Joseph Knibb clock, original even to its winding-key, - has the brass mounted top and corner spires; Fig. 460 possesses the brass pierced basket on a fine clock by Samuel Watson, signed and dated 1687, and Fig. 461 the metal basket and ball spires, on a clock with a skeleton dial, from the hand of Richard Jarrett. Fig. 463 shows the brass domed basket with a finely chased handle and spires, the clock by E. Speakman. Fig. 464 is a clock by John Martin, unfortunately with a type of minute hand some sixty years later than the clock, in a case veneered with fine arabesque marqueterie. All these basket-top clocks illustrated here are pull-string repeaters, repeating either the last hour or the quarters - or frequently both - on bells.
Fig. 470. The True Bell-Top Case. - 1755-95 type.
Fig. 471. The True Bell-Top Style Of Case On Its Bracket. - This is the true bracket clock. 1760-1800 type.
One of the earliest, certainly the most elaborate, and, possibly, the finest of these basket-top clocks is shown in Figs. 465 to 467. This remarkable specimen is from the collection of Mr. Hansard Watt, at Hampstead. The case is of ebony, veneered on oak, with a front door which opens by operating a concealed spring. The winding-holes are below the dial edge, and this has necessitated a system of double cranks for the winding, which can be seen in Figs. 465 and 466. The entire case, with the exception of the back-board, can be lifted off its base, in the manner of the early long-case hoods. The escapement is a crown-wheel, with a "crutched" bob pendulum. The quarters are struck on two bells (ting-tang) and the hours on a separate bell. One of two tunes can be played, at will, at 5, 9 and 12 o'clock, on eleven bells, operated from a spiked drum in the fashion of a musical box. The duration, between the windings, is only thirty hours, but this is the period of the brass lantern clock of the pull-up kind, the eight-day clock not being known at this date.
The arch type of dial in the bracket-clock, as in the long-case, begins with the same flattened form, rarely as much as the half of a circle, and usually with the lunette used merely as a decorative feature. The first arch-dial bracket clocks, such as Fig. 468, are exceedingly rare, much more so than is the case with the tall clocks. This example is by Joseph Windmills, a name of high repute, and the maker, as one would expect, of the square dial, both in long-case and bracket clocks, almost to the close of his business career. This, although a late example of his work, is exceptionally choice, both in quality and design. The arch, being a novelty at this period, - the date of the clock cannot be later than 1720, and may be even a few years prior to this, - is used on all four sides, instead of the usual front and back only. The wood is walnut, of a fine golden colour, and the terminals, and other brasswork of the case, are all finely chased and gilt. Both from its rare detail and its fine quality, this is an exceptional and valuable clock.
Fig. 472. An Elaborated Version Of The Bell-Top Style Of Case. - 1770-1800
As this book has been written for the information, primarily, of the collector, it would be idle to trace the bracket clock beyond about 1760, after which date, although patterns of cases multiply rapidly, specimens are rarely worthy of the attention of the discriminating connoisseur. We can conclude this review with two further styles of case, the plain or inverted bell-top, as in Fig. 469, and the true bell-top, - also usually the true bracket clock, - as in Figs. 470 and 471. Fig. 469 has a red lacquer case, but this type is more frequently found veneered with richly figured walnut, and very charming these walnut clocks are when style and proportions are correct. Fig. 470 is a late example of the bell-top case, and Fig. 471 is a similar clock on an earlier bracket of the George I period. Fig. 472 is the elaborated edition of the same late bell-top style. Cases of this description usually contain complicated chiming and musical clocks, and were frequently made for the Spanish market. Figs. 473 and 474 show the ornate back-plates usual in these early bracket clocks up to about 1740-50. The latter is the earlier type of the two, shown by the outside locking plate; the former is a pull-repeater only. The simple light bob pendulum on each should be noted, as the heavy disc type is only found on bracket movements after 1790. The early pendulums are also direct; that is, they are not "crutched," and are not detachable. By reason of their light weight they are very susceptible to vibration or jarring, and are easily deranged in consequence, which accounts for the fact that so many were converted to the heavy disc form at a later date. From the collector's point of view, however, such conversion, although improving the time-keeping qualities of -the clock, diminishes its value as a genuine specimen of late seventeenth or eighteenth-century horology.
Fig. 473. Engraved Back-Plate Of A Bracket Clock By John Fromanteel, London.
Fig. 474. Engraved Back-Plate Of A Bracket Clock By James Clowes, London.
Fig. 475. Cartel Clock. - In carved and gilt pine case. Date about 1735
Mural or Cartel clocks present so many types that space is lacking to consider them here in detail, especially as they have been illustrated in some variety in " English Domestic Clocks." The elaborate wall clock, such as Fig. 475, is an interesting and decorative possession, however, and these carved and gilded wood cases present the closest equivalent to the true Chippendale case. The date of this example is about 1735; its proper habitat one of the tall pine-panelled rooms of the early Georgian era.