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Year-going Clock

Richard Street

Category

Horology

Date

circa 1700

Materials

Seaweed marquetry on walnut frame, ormolu, glass

Measurements

2465 x 518 x 282 mm

Place of origin

London

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Collection

Melford Hall, Suffolk

NT 926717

Caption

This clock, made by Richard Street in the late 17th century, only needs to be wound once a year. Year-going clocks have to be very well made to run reliably, and are only made by the most skilled makers. The case is decorated with 'seaweed' marquetry, an intricate design of scrollwork and arabesques resembling the swirling forms of seaweed.

Summary

Year-going longcase clock, seaweed marquetry on walnut frame. Inscribed 'Ric Street London Fecit'. c.1700. Street joined the Clockmakers Company in London as a Freeman (enabling him to work in London) in 1687. He appears to have worked for the great Thomas Tompion as a watchmaker at some stage in his career, and a very fine longcase clock was commissioned from him for Trinity College Cambridge, by Sir Issac Newton. According to an equation table of his (a printed mathematical table) his business was "at ye Dial & two Crowns over against St. Dunstans Church in Fleet Street London". In 1716 he jointly took over the care of St Paul's cathedral clock from the clockmaker Langley Bradley. There are a few clocks and watches of his surviving and these show him to have been an excellent workman. His work is invariably of high quality and is often of quite unusual and interesting design. For example the National Maritime Museum has a longcase clock by him with a 'minutes' hand which goes round the dial in 10 minutes (rather than a full hour) making it easy to read seconds from it as well. Other clocks and watches with unusual dialling by him are known. There is also a very interesting turret clock by him, dated 1714, in the stables at Osterley Park. About fifteen to twenty clocks and watches by him are known. A year-going clock was a particularly difficult thing to construct as it had to be very well made indeed otherwise excess friction in the additional wheelwork meant it would simply not run reliably. Usually year-going clocks were only made by the very best makers and are recognised as a tour de force in movement design. They were invariably made for very particular patrons, more often than not for noble or royal houses (if not for institutions like the National Maritime Museum which has two year-going clocks by Tompion) and are, by definition, usually of very great historical interest. This clock is regarded as one of the most significant clocks in the National Trust's collection because of Street's association with Tompion and the high quality and interesting nature of his surviving work, and because it is currently the only year-going English clock in the Trust. One year movement, roman numerals, date window, steel face with pairs of ormolu putti in ormolu at corners. Walnut frame, glazed, with 4 columns, and 4 brass ball and eagle finials. Richard Street of Shoe Lane, London, became a clockmaker in 1687

Full description

Information on Richard Street (Notes by Jonathan Betts, National Trust Clocks advisor, Senior Horological Specialist of the National Maritime Museum- 2007) Street joined the Clockmakers Company in London as a Freeman (enabling him to work in London) in 1687. He appears to have worked for the great Thomas Tompion as a watchmaker at some stage in his career, and a very fine longcase clock was commissioned from him for Trinity College Cambridge, by Sir Issac Newton. According to an equation table of his (a printed mathematical table) his business was "at ye Dial & two Crowns over against St. Dunstans Church in Fleet Street London". In 1716 he jointly took over the care of St Paul's cathedral clock from the clockmaker Langley Bradley. There are a few clocks and watches of his surviving and these show him to have been an excellent workman. His work is invariably of high quality and is often of quite unusual and interesting design. For example we (NMM) have a longcase clock by him with a 'minutes'hand which goes round the dial in 10 minutes (rather than a full hour) making it easy to read seconds from it as well. Other clocks and watches with unusual dialling by him are known. There is also a very interesting turret clock by him, dated 1714, in the stables at Osterley Park. About fifteen to twenty clocks and watches by him are known. A year-going clock (that's how they are referred to) was a particularly difficult thing to construct as it had to be very well made indeed otherwise excess friction in the additional wheelwork meant it would simply not run reliably. Usually year-going clocks were only made by the very best makers and are recognised as a tour de force in movement design. They were invariably made for very particular patrons, more often than not for noble or royal houses (if not for institutions like Greenwich, we have two year-going clocks by Tompion) and are, by definition, usually of very great historical interest (what is known of the Melford clock's provenance?) I regard this as one of the most significant clocks in the NT collection because of Street's association with Tompion and the high quality and interesting nature of his surviving work, and because it is currently (as far as I know) the only year-going English clock in the Trust.

Marks and inscriptions

Ric STREET London Fecit

Makers and roles

Richard Street

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