Early Drop Dial Wall Clock by Charles Tutton

It can be hard to define what distinguishes a superior English wall clock from a more run-of-the-mill example. These solid timepieces can, by their very nature, be somewhat chunky, functional objects, but we have one on display here that exhibits some of the best characteristics of the breed.

It is of the type known as ‘drop-dial’, which means that the case extends down below the dial itself. In this example, the body is divided by a horizontal moulding, below which it curves backwards in a quarter circle to the wall. The dial is 12” in diameter, enclosed by a domed glass door with a heavy cast brass bezel. This is surrounded by a wooden bezel, crisply carved in an unusual profile. The junction of dial and case is decorated with a pair of Carolean ears.

The painted dial itself is made of iron and supports the movement via a connecting false plate; the whole movement/dial assembly is fixed to the case by means of steel pins instead of the conventional wooden pegs.

It is usual for such a clock to have a small hinged access door on either side, but these are normally flimsy affairs, almost invariably broken. Charles Tutton’s anonymous cabinet maker has taken the trouble to design a sliding door in the manner of the lid of a child’s pencil case. It is the only one I have ever seen on an English clock and the idea is possibly borrowed from contemporary French mantel clocks by Breguet.

The date is c.1810/1820

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