Thomas Wagstaffe, London

This is a superb English Bracket Clock that retains it’s original ebonized case, bell top and decorative brass mounts. The case stands proudly on four cast brass feet. They are nicely formed and applied to the bottom of the clock. Both the front and back of this case are fitted with doors. The doors are fitted with glass and allow one access the clock. The sides of this case features decorative cutouts. These have a pierced brass screen that was backed with a color fabric. This would allow the sounds of the clock to more easily escape the clock. The top of the case are mounted four brass acorn finials. The top of the case is surmounted by a bell shaped molding which terminates in a brass handle.

The front door opens to access the broken arch dial. It is a composite brass dial having applied cast floral spandrels, silver engraved chapters for the hours and minutes, strike/silent indicator which is located in the arch, a day of the month calendar aperture located above the numeral “Six”, and a silver engraved nameplate, ‘Tho’s Wagstaffe, London’. The hour chapter ring features Roman numerals for the hours and Arabic numbers for the minutes.

The door at the rear of the clock allows one to view the back of the movement. The heavy brass backplate is skillfully and elaborately engraved. It is fastened to the case by two engraved brackets. The movement is designed to run eight days on a full wind and strike the hour on a bell. It is powered by springs and features fussees. Currently, it has four shouldered posts. The fifth one has been removed. It still retains its original crown-wheel escapement and the pendulum has a steel rod, a brass lenticular bob and is suspended by steel suspension The steel work is well executed.

In my opinion, it is rare to find a clock with both exceptional quality and wonderful proportions, this clock has both and would make nice addition to any collection.

The dimensions are as follows: The height measured with the handle in the up position is 20.5 inches. Measured with the handle down it is 19 inches tall. The width measured at the base or the feet is 11 inches. This clock is 7.75 inches deep at the feet as well. This clock was made 1775.

About Thomas Wagstaffe of London, England.

“Thomas Wagstaffe, London.” He is listed in Brain Loomes “Watchmakers & Clockmakers of the World, Volume 1,” As working between 1756 through 1793. Thomas was born in 1724 in the small town of Banbury, Oxfordshire, England. This town is located some 67 miles northwest of London. By 1753 he is listed as a Merchant and Taylor in London later as a Watchmaker. It is said that he was a physically large individual. He was diligent and prolific worker and by temperament, patient and conscientious. His correspondence indicate a warm and highly socialized personality. He was a dedicated Quaker and had many acquaintance who lived in America. Most of whom lived in the Philadelphia area. When Quakers from Colonial American visited London, they were welcomed and received lodging in his home. It was not uncommon for many to return to America with one of his movements to be cased here. Some 30 plus examples exist, including one which is in the collection at Winterthur with a case constructed by Thomas Affleck who was a very talented Philadelphia cabinetmaker. Wagstaffe clocks are highly prized in England and enjoy the same hallowed reputation as the Willard Family does in America. Thomas lived until 1802.


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