llustrated here is a rare early 18th century versed 8-day longcase clock by John Sanderson of Wigton. Dating from around c1705 the clock is housed in a black lacquered case with lenticle. The 11.5-inch square solid brass dial has a polished dial centre with ringed winding holes and ringed date calendar. There is a religious verse to the dial centre which is wonderfully engraved ‘Memento Mori’ (Bear Death in Mind). The applied chapter has attached trident half hour-markers and is signed 'John Sanderson Wigton Fecit ’ There are spandrels to the four corners which are the twin cherubs with crown type which are correct for the period. It is however, quite rare for Sanderson to use spandrels on his early clocks, but I do believe these could be an original feature here as they match the grandness of the London style lacquered case which is of fine proportions standing approx. 8foot 4 inches tall and clearly bought in for one of his wealthier clients. The 5-ringed and finned pillar movement with rack striking is in a very original and untouched condition throughout including retaining all its original wheelwork. Note the Westmoreland calendar wheel passing over one of the winding holes. This type of calendar is more suitable for 30-hour clocks, but interestingly Sanderson also used it on some of his early 8-day examples!
or a major part of the last century this John Sanderson lacquered longcase was ' in store ' in the North of England and not used. It was kept totally unrestored, with its pine lacquered case being in such a poor rotten state and decaying condition that it was virtually unusable. The clock was then discovered and purchased by antique clock dealer George Hadfield of Penrith, who in believing the lacquered case to be original to the clock decided to have it fully restored to its former glory. The case had to be stripped, taken apart and then rebuilt and conserved using as much of the original timber as possible. It was then sensitively but totally re-lacquered copying the original design and was hand finished to be in keeping with its unrestored dial and movement.
purchased this John Sanderson longcase from Mr Hadfield in 2008 during the early stages of restoration to the lacquered case. I decided to leave the dial and movement in its unrestored, original condition and this is why the case was hand finished to match the unrestored dial.
urviving early 8-day versed longcase clocks by John Sanderson which pre-date 1710 are very rare indeed. Therefore, when the example illustrated here first came to light in what is thought to have been still housed in its original but decaying/rotten lacquered case, I believe it was well worth investing time, effort and money into the lacquered case to get it fully restored and conserved to its former glory - rather than simply marrying the clock with another case. There have now been several longcase clocks which have come to light by John Sanderson and ' The Wigton School ', which are mysteriously housed in what appears to be their original London style lacquered cases. It is believed however, that these lacquered cases were ' bought in ' from London originally for the clocks when they were first made, as it is extremely unlikely that anyone was making London-style lacquered cases in Cumberland in the early 18th century.
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