Counting down to clock auction


Bellmans Sussex is pleased to announce that, included in our series of May sales, is a specialist clocks and scientific instruments auction, going under the hammer on Tuesday 9th May at 1pm.


Consigned from a number of collectors and estates, the collection comprises one hundred lots of carriage, mantel and bracket, lantern and longcase clocks, with examples dating from the 17th to the 21st century.


Rarely seen nowadays is a group of ten miniature lantern clocks.  One of the earliest forms of domestic clock, these usually date from the 17th century and the sale includes a rare example by Joseph Knibb of London, a fine and innovative clockmaker (lot 839).  It can be dated to circa 1670 - the Golden Age of English clockmaking - around the time Knibb moved from Oxford to London.  


From the Queen Anne period is a beautifully patinated walnut longcase clock by Charles Gretton (lot 818).  Here the best 'London made' movement and beautiful case combine to give a handsome and functional clock, which strikes each hour and runs for a week.  There are also a variety of other longcase clocks, including an example by Thomas Ogden of Halifax (lot 819), a fine maker who always exhibits a number of unusual features in his movements.


Precision timekeeping is represented by a small German 56 hour chronometer by Glasshutte from the 1960s (lot 779), and a fine floor-standing regulator in a mahogany case by Steward of London (lot 809).  Regulators were originally designed to be used by astronomers in the 18th century, who wanted to mark the exact time that a planet might traverse a given point in the sky.


Also attracting attention is a group of carriage clocks, including three by Drocourt, which date from the late 19th century, and are each decorated in cloisonné enamel.  They represent the need for an accurate yet decorative timepiece by the burgeoning middle classes at the time.  Two of these also incorporate grande sonnerie striking (on the hours and quarters), with an option for petite sonnerie also, allowing just the quarters to be marked.  The challenge for miniaturisation with the high-quality French manufacturers is also represented with a small and charming carriage timepiece (lot 805), similarly decorated with cloisonné enamel panels, but just 9.5cm high.


The entire auction is on view from Friday 5th May, and will be fully illustrated online from Tuesday 2nd May. Online bidding is available via For more information and to register your interest, please contact Bellmans Auctioneers directly on 01403 700858, or email