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Longcase clock
  • Longcase clock
    Fromanteel, Ahasuerus, born 1607 - died 1693
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Longcase clock

  • Place of origin:

    London, England (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1660 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Fromanteel, Ahasuerus, born 1607 - died 1693 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Oak, with veneer of ebony and stained hardwood, and gilt-bronze mounts

  • Credit Line:

    Gift of Brigadier W. E. Clark CMG, DSO through The Art Fund

  • Museum number:

    W.10:1 to 5-1963

  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, room 56e, case 2

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Object Type
This clock is housed in a long case veneered with ebony on oak. The lift-up hood is glazed on three sides. At the corners it has attached Corinthian columns with gilt-bronze bases and capitals. They support a pediment with a gilt-bronze cartouche and laurel swags. The acorn finials beneath the front columns on the hood suggest that the clock was originally designed to be hung on a wall, but was later adapted as a long-case clock. The present pendulum is only 7 inches long.

People
There were three clockmakers with the name of Ahasuerus Fromanteel working in London from 1630 onwards. This is probably the work of the second, who became a Freeman of the Clockmakers' Company in 1655. His family were of Flemish origin and had settled in East Anglia in the 16th century.

Design & Designing
Ahasuerus Fromanteel introduced the use of the pendulum for clockwork to Britain. He learned of the development through his son John, who worked for eight months in 1657-1658 with the clockmaker Salomon Coster in The Hague. Coster had obtained the rights for the pendulum from Huygens.

Physical description

This clock is housed in a long case veneered with ebony on oak. The lift-up hood is glazed on three sides. At the corners it has attached Corinthian columns with gilt-bronze bases and capitals. They support a pediment with a gilt-bronze cartouche and laurel swags. The acorn finials beneath the front columns on the hood suggest that the clock was originally designed to be hung on a wall, but was later adapted as a long-case clock. The present pendulum is only 7 inches long.

Place of Origin

London, England (made)

Date

ca. 1660 (made)

Artist/maker

Fromanteel, Ahasuerus, born 1607 - died 1693 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Oak, with veneer of ebony and stained hardwood, and gilt-bronze mounts

Dimensions

Height: 189.3 cm, Width: 31.8 cm, Depth: 19.8 cm, Height: 27 cm base

Object history note

Made in London by Ahasuerus Fromanteel (active 1654-1685)

A Fromanteel long case clock, English c.1600, gift of Brigadier W E Clark

Notes from R.P. 63/1987

29 July 1963 letter, Mallet to Molesworth
The clock is to be sent to the V & A from Mallet

Minute paper (undated & unsigned)
Refers to this "not too undesirable bequest…an early Fromanteel clock showing the first development of the long case clock"

19 September 1963 letter, Ronald Lee to Hayward (attached)
reports "this type of clock exists in such small numbers that this acquisition…(is) one of importance". The clock had passed through his hands ten years earlier and he recalls certain repairs & replacements and some details of provenance. He agrees with the possibility of its having started out as a hanging clock. This letter appears to be a response to an enquiry but no such enquiry is on file in the R.P.

CONDITION ASSESSMENT BY FRANCIS BRODIE ON SERVICING THE CLOCK 21/05/08
The Fromanteel clock appeared in good condition. The metalwork side of it was clean and bright and not particularly dusty. Obviously with a clock of this date there is some wear to components, but I did not see any serious, abnormal wear. The oil in the bearings appeared reasonably clean but with some darkening in places, but nothing out of the ordinary for a running clock. The lines on which the weights run appeared to be sound without fraying. The movement's functions appeared normal.

I wiped out oil from accessible bearings and those that showed discoloration, carrying out a small amount of dismantling to improve access. All bearings were sparingly re-oiled with "Moebius D4" lubricant, a clock oil designed to lessen wear on loaded components.

I would have thought that the clock ought to be looked at again in not less than two years hence. A bit more dismantling ought to be carried out to improve access to some components, so I would have thought the work should be carried out not right by the clock; a reasonably sized table in somewhere quiet would suffice, and the work would not be that much more time consuming than this recent service.

Descriptive line

Long-case Clock- Fromanteel

Labels and date

British Galleries:
Christiaan Huygens (1629-1695) invented the pendulum in 1657 in The Netherlands, as a device to make clocks more accurate. By 1658 Ahasuerus Fromanteel was advertising clocks with the new mechanism in London. As a short, bob pendulum was used, the clock case could be made either square to hang on the wall, or long to enclose weights that hung down. Long cases quickly became popular. [27/03/2003]

Categories

Clocks & Watches

Collection code

FWK

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Qr_O78936
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