Current issue of Antiquarian Horology


Volume 41, Issue 4 December 2020

The front cover shows the front door of 4 Lovat Lane, the new headquarters of the AHS. The painting of number ‘4’ to the reverse of the glass fanlight was done by Peter Anthony, a traditional signwriter, who spent a day working in gold-leaf. For more information, see the Chairman’s update in AHS News.

This issue contains the following articles and notes:

'The Adam clock — the Suffolk connection'
by John A. Robey (pages 462-472)

Summary: Circumstantial evidence is presented that suggests that the Adam lantern clock,  first described in this journal in September 2010, was made near Bury St Edmunds in West Suffolk, possibly by Robert Sparke who is Suffolk’s earliest recorded clockmaker, or more likely by his son William Sparke. An unusual lantern clock signed for Luke Cocksedge, who was probably its owner, and not a clockmaker, may also have been made by William Sparke.

'A comparative analysis of twelve manuscripts of Giovanni Dondi’s astrarium'
by Guido Dresti and Rosario Mosello (pages 473-504)
Summary: Between 1365 and 1381 Giovanni Dondi (c. 1330–1388) built a magnificent mechanical apparatus which predicted the position in the zodiac of the seven ‘movable’ bodies (Sun, Venus, Mercury, Moon, Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars) rotating around the Earth. Besides Dondi’s declared aim of demonstrating the reliability of the Ptolemaic model of the Universe by his instrument, the instrument was found to be useful and appreciated for its ability to determine astrological matters, so much so that Gian Galeazzo Visconti, lord of the Duchy of Milan, put it in the library of the Pavia Castle. The astrarium was supplied with a manuscript containing details of its construction and maintenance, which included accurate drawings. This was new for that period in history and makes the manuscript and subsequent copies of great historical value. The astrarium was lost in the first half of the sixteenth century, but evidence of its existence was retained in manuscripts, of which there are twelve different copies, held in ten different European libraries. In this article, after a short description of the astrarium and its use at the Pavia court, we will describe and compare the twelve manuscripts, with special attention to the drawings, in order to highlight and discuss the differences.

'The Wellington clock tower of Swanage'
by Chris McKay (pages 505-520)
Summary: The Wellington clock tower, situated right on the water’s edge in the Dorset sea-side town of Swanage, started its life in Southwark, London, in the 1850s, when it was fitted with a clock supplied by the Greenwich watchmaker George Weedon Bennett (1816–1859). In 1868 it was demolished and removed to Dorset, where it was re-erected. The clock did not come with it, and the tower has been without a clock ever since.

'The Chandos Delander'
by Jeremy Evans and Ann McBroom, with appendices by Richard Garnier and Guy Boney (pages 521-530)
Summary: Sadly, we often do not know who commissioned or originally purchased the spectacular clocks and watches from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries that still survive. This paper, however, identifies James Brydges, 1st Duke of Chandos, as the person who commissioned from Daniel Delander the extraordinary weight-driven clock that came to light again when it appeared at auction in 1989, to be auctioned again in 2002, and which is now in the John Taylor Collection. (Read this article here)

'Bahne Bonniksen, inventor and manufacturer of the karrusel watch. A biography of a famous Coventry watchmaker. Part 4. The great inventor'
by Clare Woodward (pages 531-538)
[Continued from Antiquarian Horology September 2020, pages 319–340]

'Nicolas Hanet  — a new discovery'
by Ben Hordijk (pages 539-545)
Summary: As the author has argued in his 2018 book on this maker, Nicolas Hanet (c. 1625–1687) can be considered to be the father of the pendulum clock in France. In this article, the remains of a movement signed ‘Hanet’ are presented and dated to 1674/1675. The possible significance of a satyr head engraved on the back plate is also discussed.

'Celebrating a tower clock'
by Jennifer Speake and Anthony Turner (pages 546-551)
Summary: In 1660, the Jesuit Ippolito Grassetti (1603–1663) published a book of epigrams.  One of these, ‘Horologium’, which is 64 lines long, has a tower clock as its subject, and is reproduced and translated in this article.

‘Unfreezing Time’ by Patricia Fara (pages 552-553) (Read this article here)

The issue totals 144 pages and is illustrated mainly in colour, and is completed by the regular sections Book reviews, AHS News, Letters to the Editor and Further Reading.