Discovering Clocks

Uncovering the history and stories of antique clocks, barometers, chronometers and fine antique furniture

Restoration Flair: Design & Style from Charles II to William & Mary

Exhibition Poster

EXHIBITION DATES: November 26, 2014 – Early January 2015

Following on from our successful exhibition on Clockmaking during the Georgian period, we have put together a small exhibition for the festive season, which concentrates on design and style in the period after the restoration of Charles II through to the reign of William & Mary and the glorious revolution.

In 1660 Charles II returned from exile and the dreary years of the Commonwealth were slowly swept away. The colourful return of the monarchy brought with it a sparkling, opulent and frivolous court. The restoration also heralded a flourishing of the arts, theatre, sciences, and architecture – clocks and cabinet-making emerged at the heart of this artistic re-birth.

London benefited from an influx of migrants from Holland, Flanders and France, escaping religious persecution and war on the continent, or simply looking to do business in the expanding economy after the restoration and later during the reign of William & Mary. They brought new skills, including the art of floral marquetry and oyster veneers in cabinet-making. Queen Mary’s interest in botany and china-mania also had an impact on fashion and style during this period.

Marquetry panel of tulips and flowers on a longcase clock by Thomas Harris, London. Circa 1690

Marquetry panel of tulips and flowers on a longcase clock by Thomas Harris, London. Circa 1690

The mechanics of clock-making advanced rapidly during the 1660s and 1670s and a number of technological innovations appeared on the scene. A key moment in the history of horology was the development of the swinging pendulum, which appeared in 1656. This invention allowed clocks to perform with much greater accuracy, to within a minute each day, and it was quickly utilised by London’s burgeoning clock-making fraternity. Such innovations led to a golden age of clockmaking in England.

Detail of a backplate on a clock by Edward East, circa 1665-70. This shows the pendulum - a revolutionary technological innovation that first appeared on a working clock in 1656

Detail of a backplate on a clock by Edward East, circa 1665-70. This shows the pendulum – a revolutionary technological innovation that first appeared on a working clock in 1656

Our exhibition offers a window into this exciting period, when new styles and innovations flourished and English clocks and furniture reached new heights of sophistication. Fine examples of both the clock-maker’s and cabinet-maker’s art from the later 17th century are on display including clocks by Edward East, Jacobus Markwick, and Huguenot maker Simon De Charmes as well as stylish examples of the cabinet-maker’s art, including a magnificent marquetry clockcase and an oyster veneered cabinet on stand.

William III period marquetry chest of drawers. Circa 1700

William III period marquetry chest of drawers. Circa 1700

 

An interesting selection of historic prints which illustrate sights or monuments associated with the last of the Stuart monarchs (including the monument to the Great Fire) also form part of the exhibition, courtesy of Isaac & Ede.

A gilt basket top bracket clock by Charles Gretton, circa 1690-95

A gilt basket top bracket clock by Charles Gretton, circa 1690-95

The exhibition can be viewed in our gallery at 79 Kensington Church Street until early January 2015 and we will be open Monday to Friday 9:30 to 5:30 pm and all other times by appointment (please note that the gallery will be closed between Christmas and New Year).

Our neighbour’s Reindeer Antiques are holding a concurrent exhibition entitled “Eat, Drink & be Merry”, which you can also see when you visit our exhibition.

A slection of 18th and 19th century barometers available at Raffety, 79 Kensington Church Street

A slection of 18th and 19th century barometers available at Raffety, 79 Kensington Church Street

As well as our current exhibition you will also find an interesting selection of barometers from the 18th and 19th century on show in our Kensington gallery – these make excellent Christmas gifts and are a wonderful addition to any hall or drawing room.

We do look forward to welcoming you to the gallery.

* for further details visit our website www.raffetyclocks.com

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