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image XF236
Eight-day quarter-chiming table clock, XF236, English, Thwaites and Reed, c.1820, walnut, gilt bronze, enamel, steel, silk and glass.

Eight-day quarter-chiming table clock, English, Thwaites and Reed, c.1820

Walnut with gilt bronze, enamel, steel, silk and glass

Height: 49cm
Width: 29 cm
Depth: 29cm

Museum number: XF236

Curatorial note

With case designed by John Soane, c.1816., the movement and dial by Thwaites & Reed. The substantial case with neo-classical rotunda top surmounted by a raised circular plinth, with yellow etched glass lunettes (modern) to all four upper sides, each angle with outset ormolu Corinthian columns and each side and door with ormolu mouldings, the sides with massive ormolu drop loop carrying handles above silk-backed pierced ormolu double frets cast with C-scrolls and flowerheads, with ormolu-framed front and rear doors (both backed with substantial brass plates), all raised on a rectangular plinth base with moulded edges, on small acorn feet, the 7¾ inch (19.5 cm.) square gilt-brass dial with mask and foliate spandrels to skeletonised gilt-brass chapter ring and matted centre, blued steel hands, with strike/silent lever above XII and silvered pendulum regulation disc concealed behind the upper door, the substantial 8-day movement with triple chain and fusees, dead beat escapement positioned on the backplate, hour strike on large bell and quarter chimes on a nest of eight bells, the backplate with engraved borders and concave-cut upper corners, signed Thwaites & Reed/Clerkenwell/LONDON on the backplate with latched holdfast for ebonised wood rod pendulum with substantial brass-cased bob.

This clock was in the Breakfast Room in No 13 until it was replaced with the Vulliamy clock (XF146) in 1835, when it was presumably moved to Soane’s bedroom where it is described in the Furniture and Fittings inventory.

The company Thwaites and Reed is still in existence specialising in restoring and conserving turret clocks (until recently they were responsible for maintaining ‘Big Ben’). Its roots go back to 1740, when Aynsworth Thwaites began working as a clockmaker in London. His sons went into partnership with George Jeremiah Reed in 1808 and formed the business Thwaites and Reed.

The Thwaites and Reed Rough Day Book for 1816-26 (Guildhall Library) shows them charging Soane £1-12-0 on 24 April 1816 for altering a spring clock with quarter chimes, and fitting it into a case they had supplied for £27-18-0. On 21 November 1820 Thwaites and Reed charged Soane 8 guineas for replacing the movement and dial.1

Thwaites and Reed were also responsible for the maintenance of Soane’s clocks and were paid annually for this service.

In 2015 this clock was reinstated in its original position on the windowsill in the recreated Bedroom as part of Phase 2 of Opening up the Soane.

1 This information is by courtesy of Roger Smith.

If you have any further information about this object, please contact us: worksofart@soane.org.uk