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A superb quality mantel timepiece. The case is smaller than many of this maker’s mantel clocks standing some 9″ high. The quality of the casework is outstanding. It is relatively narrow for its height and has the finest rosewood veneers, and all of the mouldings and the flat feet are of ebony rather than ebonised. It has fine mouldings to the flat top of the case and at the top of the plinth, and the main body of the clock has canted corners. It has glass apertures to the sides with brass edging, and a solid panelled rear door.
The engraved and silvered dial is a particularly fine feature with beautiful scroll and floral engraving around the top and bottom of the main dial. The main part of the dial is signed for the maker Vulliamy, London and has blued steel moonphase hands. It has the typical Vulliamy feature of pendulum height adjustment via a small adjustment arbor above the dial.
The eight day movement of fine quality has a chain fusee and half deadbeat escapement often used by Vulliamy. The backplate is signed and numbered Vulliamy, London 1347. We can date this very accurately as we have had a dial clock by this maker some 20 numbers earlier, which was dated on the dial 1836. It has a finely made pendulum and bob which is adjusted via the arbor on the front of the dial that lifts or lowers the pendulum.
It is extremely difficult in a description to get across the particular fineness of this case. We have handled many Vulliamy mantel clocks and this is one of the best cases of this type that we have seen.
Height: 9″ (23 cm)
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.