John Hughes of London. A beautiful walnut 8-day longcase clock. 27033

This early tall case clock was made by John Hughes in London. There are two London clockmakers named John Hughes listed in Brain Loomes, Watchmakers and Clockmakers of the World. John (I) is listed as being at work in 1689 and died in 1695. The second is listed as John (II) is recorded as working in as early as 1695 and was a member of the Clockmakers Company in 1703-1714. Several bracket clock examples signed by this Maker are known.

This tall case example exhibits excellent proportions. The case is constructed in oak and is decoratively veneered in richly figured walnut. Many of the veneered selections are positioned in a book-matched format. This is best illustrated in the formatting of the waist door. Please also note the many uneven surfaces in the present condition of this case. This is the result of the shifting dimensions of the oak substructure behind the veneer. This is a tell tale sign that this case has age and is not a reproduction.

This fine example stands flat to the floor on an applied molding. The front base panel is formatted with a cross-banded border. A thin line of herringbone inlay separates this border from the central panel. This panel is veneered. The wood selected for this location is vibrantly grained. The waist section is long and narrow which accentuates the excellent proportions of the case. The waist door is quite large and fills the waist section. It is trimmed with an applied ½ round molding. This door is also framed with a herringbone inlay pattern and the veneers selected for the main panel are also vibrantly grained. They are presented in a book-matched fashion. The sides of this case are decoratively finished. They are horizontally veneered in walnut. This was the tradition of many London cabinetmakers. The bonnet or hood is designed with a boldly shaped cornice molding. Below this is a pierced frieze or blind fretwork section. Large rectangular glass side lights are positioned on each side of the hood. The squared hood door is fitted with three-quarter Doric columns. These and the quarter columns located at the back of the case terminate in Doric shaped capitals.

The twelve inch square dial is brass and features many decorative details that are both engraved and applied. The applied decorations in the form of the four cast brass spandrels, a large time ring and subsidiary seconds ring are featured on this dial. The heavily cast spandrels are nicely detailed. The time ring is formatted with Arabic five minute markers. A closed minute ring separates them from the large Roman style hour makers. The hours are divided by nicely formed half-hour markers in the form of fleur-dis-lies. An additional minute ring located on the inside of this circle. The time ring along with the seconds ring and calendar have been treated with a silver wash for contrast. This clock is signed by the clockmaker in a plaque above the calendar display. It reads, “John Hughes / London.” This center section is textured in an attempt to make the finely formed steel hands more visible when viewing the dial. This area is called a matted center. Here the subsidiary seconds dial and the day of the month calendar are displayed.

This weight driven movement is constructed in brass. Five knob and finned pillars or posts support the two large rectangular shaped brass plates. Steel shafts support the brass gearing. The escapement is a recoil design and features a seconds length pendulum. Both winding barrels are grooved. This movement is weight powered and designed to run eight-days on a full wind. The strike train is governed by a rack and snail striking system. It strikes each hour on the hour on a large cast iron bell that is mounted on a stand above the movement.

This example stands approximately 88 inches tall, 20.75 inches wide at the widest molding on the hood and 10.5 inches deep. The dial is approximately 12 inch square. This clock was made circa 1710.

This clock is inventory number 27033.

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