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A small silver-mounted ebony roman striking table clock, London, dated 1677

Descrizione dell'oggetto

6-inch latched velvet-covered dial with silver winged cherub spandrels and chapter ring, the centre with circular foliate pierced and engraved plaque signed Joseph Knibb Londini Fecit, two train fusee movement with five latched baluster pillars, tic-tac escapement and striking  the roman notation on two bells, the backplate signed Joseph Knibb Londini Inventit and Fecit Anno Domini 1677, further decorated with engraved sprays within a wheatear border, numbered count wheel, the domed case with carrying handle and pierced frets, the corners with ball finials, the front door with winged cherub escutcheons\nJoseph Knibb, the most famous and inventive member of the celebrated Knibb clockmaking family was born circa 1640. He was apprenticed to his cousin Samuel in about 1655 and after serving seven years worked first at Oxford and then moved to London in 1670 where he was made Free of the Clockmakers' Company. He must soon have built up a good reputation for himself as it is recorded that he supplied a turret clock for Windsor Castle in 1677 and payments were made to him in 1682 on behalf of King Charles II.\n\nNo other maker produced such an intriguing variety of striking and repeating mechanisms and perhaps the most interesting of these is the Roman system employed in this clock. It is an ingenious method of accurately sounding the hours by a smaller number of blows than the conventional system. Two bells are used, the smaller of which indicates the Roman I as displayed on the dial and the larger bell the Roman V. The Roman X is indicated by two blows on the larger bell. The greatest number of blows struck at any hour is four at 8 and 12 o'clock. The advantage of the Roman system is that the clock has to make only twenty-six blows in twelve hours compared with seventy-eight blows on a conventional clock. The numeral for 4 o'clock, on a Roman striking clock, is shown as IV, requiring only two blows, rather than the more usual IIII. Knibb may have had some difficulty persuading his clients to accept this form of striking as examples are rare and the notation is, at first, confusing.\n\nClocks by Knibb with velvet dials and silver mounts are extremely rare and this example has almost every desirable feature being particularly small, having Roman striking, tic tac escapement and a most interesting inscription which could refer to either or both the striking and escapement.\n\nTowards the end of the 17th century Joseph Knibb moved to Hanslop in Buckinghamshire. A few clocks with the Hanslop address are known but by the early years of the 18th Century Knibb had virtually retired; he died in December 1711.


Dial in good condition, velvet renewed. Movement in good condition but needs a clean, replaced backcock. Case has minor veneer cracks and lacking veneer to right side of base but otherwise good. With winder and case key. "In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. All dimensions in catalogue descriptions are approximate. Condition reports may not specify mechanical replacements or imperfections to the movement, case, dial, pendulum, separate base(s) or dome. Watches in water-resistant cases have been opened to examine movements but no warranties are made that the watches are currently water-resistant. Please note that we do not guarantee the authenticity of any individual component parts, such as wheels, hands, crowns, crystals, screws, bracelets and leather bands, since subsequent repairs and restoration work may have resulted in the replacement of original parts. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue. In particular, please note it is the purchaser's responsibility to comply with any applicable import and export matters, particularly in relation to lots incorporating materials from endangered species.NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE." **Please be advised that bands made of materials derived from endangered or otherwise protected species (i.e. alligator and crocodile) are not sold with the watches and are for display purposes only. We reserve the right to remove these bands prior to shipping. Important Notice regarding importation into the United States of Rolex watches Sotheby's cannot arrange for the delivery of Rolex watches to the United States because U.S. laws restricts the import of Rolex watches. The buyer or a designated agent may collect the property in the country of sale."


28.5cm. 11¼in. high


Dawson, Drover & Parkes, Early English Clocks, Pgs. 329-331, Plates 478 & 479 and Colour Plates 18-20


This clock is sold with an undated  type-written statement, photographs and other paperwork from John Philip Beckett detailing that this clock was given to his Great Grandfather, Thomas Beckett by King George III for loyal and devoted service as surgeon to the Grenadier Guards from 1794, surgeon to the Savoy from 1809 and as a life long friend.


Dated 1677

*Nota: il prezzo non corrisponde al valore odierno, ma si riferisce soltanto al reale prezzo di aggiudicazione al momento dell'acquisto.

*Nota: il prezzo non corrisponde al valore odierno, ma si riferisce soltanto al reale prezzo di aggiudicazione al momento dell'acquisto.

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