Maker, Smith of Clerkenwell, England. Model - Presentation
piece, Brighton Pavilion, c. 1860. 22"h x 18"w x 9.5"d, net
clock movement without base, 18"h x 13"w x 7"d.
duration, three train chain fusee, heavy frame in the Brighton Pavilion design; seven
knopped and finned pillars, blued screws throughout. Quarter chiming Cambridge tune on
eight bells; hour chiming on gong. Pull chain repeat. Extensively documented in Derek
Roberts, British Skeleton Clocks, pp. 210-214, "This clock, which must have
been one of the finest English skeleton clocks produced would have been made by Smith's of
Clerkenwell". Click here for another fine example of a Smith presentation clock.
Click on the individual pictures for detail
These clocks were quite expensive in their day and were customized
with various features. The level of finish and quality could be selected. For example
one could have the various cocks, bridges and levers in the solid, or fully pierced.
Silver appliques or even small turned urns could be added. Pendulums could have simple
rods and bobs or the more elaborate types as seen here. A Smith's catalog of 1865 gives
some idea of the value of these timepieces. 'Chime Skeleton Clocks,
quarter-hours on eight bells & hours on gong, 25 Pounds upwards', 1.
That was their minimum price for a much smaller and less fancy base
model. This example was one of Smith's largest and fanciest three train quarter chiming
clocks, top of the line as to finish work. Notice the extent to which the maker pierced
the various cocks and bridges, fretted the racks and levers; decorated the various
components. The velvet base has an elaborate silver filigree pattern as well as a silver
'fencing' surrounding the original base and plinth which holds the original
glass dome. These features as well as the size of movement added the cost for an
estimated final price of 50 Pounds. The pay for an average government worker in 1865 was
68 Pounds per year or 37,400 Pounds in 2006. Current value of the Pound in 1865 wages
would translate into a 551:1 ratio to 2006 or a price of 27,550 Pounds for this clock
today; nearly a full year's wages. This clock would be an extreme specimen of 'over the
top' high Victorian design. A perfect example of the quote found on the skeleton clock
home page. Altogether, given the originality of all components and design features, this
is, along with another in this collection, the
best examples offered by this prominent maker.
1 .British Skeleton Clocks, Derek Roberts, p. 127