31929  BENJAMIN LEWIS VULLIAMY, NO 613.

A RARE MAHOGANY CASED STRIKING WALL CLOCK.  CIRCA 1815.

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An elegant and rare striking wall clock. The case of finely figured mahogany, with the typical angled base to the drop, has an opening door at the bottom and beautifully fretted doors on each side of the movement. These fretted doors are only seen on striking dial clocks.

The 12″ silvered brass dial has a numbered minute ring with Arabic numerals and then the Roman hour numerals inside. It is signed for the maker Vulliamy London 613. It has blued steel spade shaped hands. The dial is enclosed with a nicely shaped brass bezel with a lock.

The eight day gut fusee movement strikes the hours on a bell and is signed on the backplate Vulliamy London 613. It has four nicely knopped pillars and a half deadbeat escapement. The clock has its original numbered pendulum with a regulator suspension block.

Striking dial clocks by Vulliamy are quite rare. We have handled many timepiece dial clocks but only two striking versions.

Benjamin Lewis Vulliamy was the last of a line of exceptional clockmakers in the Vulliamy family, the first of which was François Justin (always known as Justin Vulliamy), followed by his son Benjamin, and followed by his sons Benjamin Lewis and Justin Theodore.

Benjamin Lewis Vulliamy was born on the 25th January 1780, not a lot is known about his childhood except that he spent most of it at 68 Pall Mall. He joined his father in Pall Mall very early in life, certainly when less than 20 years of age. He received the Freedom of the Clockmakers’ Company in December 1809 and became a liveryman in January 1810 at the age of 30 and was admitted to the Court of Guild in the same year. There he served every office in the Court and was five times elected Master. In his years of service he did much to further the good reputation of the clockmakers’ trade and against increasing odds he succeeded in preserving high standards of craftsmanship which can be seen in almost all of the clocks that he produced.

Unlike his father’s main output, which was of ornamental house clocks and furnishing items, Benjamin Lewis tended to concentrate on using the very best of materials and workmanship in order to give long and trouble free life to his clocks.

The workforce that Vulliamy used were in many instances specialist craftsman or out workers. There were however a number of staff permanently employed at 68 Pall Mall. In particular were members of the Jump family who, after Vulliamy’s death in 1854, went on to found their own famous and very successful business.

Restoration Notes:-

1. There were a small number of mahogany mouldings missing which we replaced.
2. The sound frets on the doors – one was in saveable condition and so we did some minor repairs to that, the other was beyond repair and so we used it and the good one as a template and re-fretted it.
3. The case in general was in lovely untouched condition and we lightly cleaned it and rewaxed and polished it.
4. The bezel had lost its lock. We purpose built a tiny lock the same as the original would have been and fitted it to the bezel. This can obviously only be seen if the bezel is open.
5. The bezel had no glass in it and so we reglazed it.
6. The movement needed a clean and overhaul but, apart from that, was fine.
7. The dial silvering was severely worn and we therefore re-silvered the dial.

All of this restoration is relatively minimal and does not take away from the wonderful original condition of the clock.

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Benjamin Lewis Vulliamy, No 613: Price £30,000

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