Joseph Herring of London. Longcase clock.

A fine mahogany longcase clock with pagoda top bonnet and brass dial signed Joseph Herring / London.

Joseph Herring is listed in is listed in Brittens “Old Clocks and Watches and their Makers “ and also in Brian Loomes’ “Watchmakers and Clockmakers of the World.” He is listed as working in 1767-1804 as was a member of the Clockmakers Company in London. He is listed as being trained by Stephen Tracey in Whitechaple. His apprenticeship lasted five years. Joseph’s father was also named Joseph and was a clockmaker.

This formal mahogany example is wonderfully proportioned and exhibits a fully developed London form. The base stands up on a nicely formed double stepped bracket molding ending in pad feet. The apron is fancifully scrolled and the pads elevate it up off the floor. A a crotch veneered mahogany panel is applied to the base. The grain is positioned in a horizontal fashion. This panel is framed with an applied molding and features relief corners. The front corners of the base section are fitted with brass stop fluted quarter columns. These terminated in brass quarter capitals. The waist section is long and narrow. It is flanked brass stop fluted quarter columns that terminate in brass quarter capitals. The modified tombstone shaped waist door is also trimmed with an applied molding. This panel exhibits a crotch mahogany panel that is positioned in a vertical orientation. Through this door, one can access the brass covered lead weights and brass faced pendulum bob. The bonnet or hood is a pagoda or bell top design. This would have been the latest London fashion for the period in which this case was made. This decorative element features a blind fretwork panel, fluted molding to support the two outside finials and an applied molding that trims the top of the case. Three brass ball and spike finials are mounted to the top of this case. This pagoda is positioned above a double break arch molding. Blind frets are also incorporated into this design. Large rectangular shaped side lights are fitted with glass and positioned in the sides of the hood. Brass stop fluted bonnet columns are mounted in brass Doric shaped capitals and they flank the arched formed bonnet door. This door is fitted with glass and opens to access the dial.

This brass dial features applied decorative details. The four cast spandrels around the time dial depict a small cherub head in the center. The two spandrels in the arch are the popular dolphin form. In the arch is a and its backplate which is brass , engraved and silvered for contrast. This feature allows one to turn off the striking portion of the clock if so desired by manually turning the pointer. The time information is engraved in the large brass disk. This is also treated with a silver wash. The hours are indicated with large Roman style numerals The five minute makers on the outside of the time dil and around the subsidiary seconds dial are displayed in an Arabic form. The calendar day can be viewed through the small window above the hour numeral VI. This clock is signed in a flowing script format by the clockmaker. It reads, “Joseph Herring / London.” The blued steel hands are wonderful. They are well formed and very attractive.

The two train movement is brass, eight-day duration and of good quality. As is the London tradition, five turned pillars or posts support the two large brass plates. Hardened steel shafts support the polished steel pinions and brass gearing. The winding drums are grooved. The escapement is designed as a recoil format. The movement is weight driven and designed to run eight days on a full wind. It is a two train or a time and strike design having a rack and snail striking system. As a result, it will strike each hour on the hour. This is done on a cast iron bell which is mounted above the movement.

This clock was made circa 1785 and stands approximately 105.5 inches or 8 feet 9.5 inches tall to the top of the center finial. English clocks of this quality are very difficult to find in today’s market.


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