Clock that cheated death to be sold at Bonhams


2015-06-26 11:23:44

Clock that cheated death to be sold at Bonhams

Clock that cheated death to be sold at Bonhams

14 Jun 2012, 10:23 GMT+01

This is the story of a stalwart clock, dating from the 19th century, which survived the World War II London Blitz even after a bomb fell right on top of the house in which it stood.

The rare French ‘bubble top’ grande sonnerie giant carriage clock, made by famed French clock-making family Berrolla between 1850 and 1860, is expected to fetch between £30,000 and £50,000 at Bonhams June 20th Fine Clock sale. It is of engraved gilt bronze with a glass dome, 11 inches tall. Its carrying case is scarred by shrapnel from the bomb blast – the case was in the attic, while the clock downstairs kept on ticking, without a scratch. Whether its miraculous survival renders this clock a good luck charm or a herald of doom will be a chance taken by daring bidders. Let’s hope it keeps on ticking for a good long time.

Bonhams Fine Clock sale includes other testaments to survival. The highest valued item in the auction is an 18th century walnut longcase clock, 7ft 2” built by George Graham of London. The clock has stood in the same British house since it was first built in 1733, and has not moved an inch. It is expected to sell, for the second time ever since its 18th century creation, for £100,000-£150,000.

George Graham, the maker of this clock that time forgot, was a craftsmen. He worked for some of the best and most innovative clockmakers in London during the early 1700s, and rose to the rank of business partner, and then director of the Dial and Three Crowns workshop. Alongside clocks, Graham produced a number of important astronomical instruments, including a three dimensional mechanical model of the Earth, Moon and Sun known as an Orrery and several remarkable telescopes.

Other grand, beautiful, and fascinating clocks will be offered, including an 18th century Judocus Mortier barrel organ and dulcimer combination compound music clock, in a fine Cuban mahogany case, valued at £30,000-£40,000. A 19th century French marble, ormolu and enamel skeleton clock, with Moonphase and revolutionary calendar, is valued at £12,000-£18,000, and a 19th century German carved cuckoo clock, made by J. B. Beha in the Black Forest and shipped to be sold at Morath Brothers, Liverpool, is a steal at just £1,000-£1,500.


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