Wontner Bracket Clock

Some years ago, I advertised a balloon bracket clock by the Huguenot maker, Isaac Leplastrier. Among the respondents was a man who telephoned me because his ancestor’s clockmaking business at 125 The Minories in the City of London had been taken over by Leplastrier in 1813. The caller turned out to be Sir Hugh Wonter, formerly Lord Mayor of London and Chairman of Savoy Hotels; in the latter role, he was famously the scourge of the Forte family in their long-running battle to acquire control of the Savoy.

This year, for the first time, I came across a clock by the original John Wontner, who had a long working life, from 1763 until 1813, and in the fashion of the time signed his watches in reverse form (ie.Rentnow). What attracted me to this particular bracket clock, besides the maker, was its unusually low-slung shape: this was made possible by suspending the bell vertically from the backplate instead of horizontally above gthue movement. Correspondingly, the pattern of the engraving on the backplate is centred around the position of the bell.

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