2020 February Meeting

6 February 2020

Three Restorations: Tales of 18th Century Survivals

Graham, Morse

Before retiring from Xerox in 2013, I had been fascinated by horology since I bought, on a whim at a local auction some 30 years before, a French black marble mantel clock. After repairing it, and in the process being persuaded by a local clockmaker to join the BHI Wessex Branch, I progressed from these clocks, via a brief foray into wristwatches, to the world of English watches from the 18th and early 19th centuries. I think much of the attraction of this field for me lies in the largely handmade nature of these pieces and the complexity of the trade, comprising such a multiplicity of crafts, which produced them. The nature of their manufacture frequently gives rise to the necessity to make replacement parts from the raw materials, something I sometimes find challenging but always most rewarding.

My involvement with the Wessex Branch has deepened, from initially taking over the maintenance and running of our auction database software and its general administration, to now having been Chairman since Andrew James stood down in 2017 in order to devote more time to his Clockmaker’s Company roles. (Andrew’s recent death at a tragically young age has left us all deeply saddened).

I’m also a member of the Antiquarian Horological Society, the Dorset Clocks Society and the NAWCC.

The presentation deals in some detail with the repair and restoration of three pocket watches made in the 18th century, which came to me in need of various interventions.

  • A 1762 English verge signed for James Ivory with several structural problems, which ended up being a full restoration including re-plating the cases and making a pair of the correct hands for the dial.
  • A 1788 English cylinder with a centre seconds hand, signed for John Starey, but made to the design and standards of George Graham, which was bought at an auto-jumble by its present owner, with the vendor suggesting that it would be suitable for mounting with a clip on the handlebars of a motorbike! This needed new hands as well as some other work.
  • A c.1750 English verge quarter repeater signed for Robert Higgs, which had been somewhat bodged in earlier repairs, in spectacular gold pair cases.

2020 January Meeting

2nd January 2020

A Comparison of Early Tompions.

Duncan Greig

Our first speaker this 2020 is Duncan Greig who regularly visits Lyme Park and other impressive collections working on site.

The focus of his talk will be the new marquetry longcase clock by Thomas Tompion which has recently found a home at Lyme. A bequest from a Norfolk collector, it now stands in the former State Dressing Room at Lyme, which houses forty-nine horological items. The month duration clock is unnumbered, therefore thought to predate 1682. The magnificent marquetry case, in all probability the work of Jasper Bream, with rising hood has retained much of its colour and cresting. Duncan will briefly describe other clocks at Lyme by the same maker. He wants to draw our attention to comparisons of the ‘new’ clock with one of similar appearance at Powys Castle, pointing out differences on the execution of work to the Barrels, Motion work, Pallets and maintaining power.

With further interesting illustrations of the work by this maker Duncan hopes to draw to our attention to the fact that we all make mistakes…….