This object is eligible for a Certificate of BADA Provenance
About the object
The style of this carriage clock is basically Cannalée but with slightly more substantial moulding. The eight-day duration movement strikes the hours and half-hours on a gong, with push button repeat of the last hour at will and has a subsidiary alarm.
The dial incorporates delicate black Roman numerals against the silvered surround below which there is a depiction of a young man offering a bouquet of flowers to a girl, whilst above various insects are seen flying. On one side panel a girl is featured wearing a pink dress with hollyhocks around her whilst on the other side a girl dressed in yellow, green and purple is writing a message on a tree. It is certain that one of the paintings is based on original by Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Le Chiffre d'Amour (The Souvenir) which is in the Wallace Collection. It is believed Fragonard signed the original painting with his initial where the girl is writing on the tree, whereas on the depiction on the clock panel we see this replaced by the initials L.S., quite possibly for the painter of the panel Lucien Simonnet. This attribution becomes more apparent when comparing the clock movement with those seen in other carriage clocks bearing Simonnet panels, all of which are near-identical and obviously originate from the same workshop, suggesting that Simonnet used the same clockmaker; or the same clockmaker used Simonnet panels. If not, then possibly the initials are those of the recipient of the clock itself; L.H. Simpson.
The clock itself rests on an ebony base which bears a silver presentation plaque on which is engraved: 'Presented to L.H Simpson Esq. as a token of respect by the work people of Park Mills, Preston on the occasion of his marriage on April 24th 1880'.
Leigh Extence notes: According to Grace’s Guide referring to The Cotton Mills in Preston 1891, Park Mills was home to the Park Lane Twist Company, Cotton spinners and Manufacturers, situated in North Road, Preston, Lancashire, an area dominated by the cotton industry at this time being in such close proximity to the great trading ports of Liverpool and Manchester. They were one of the larger concerns operating at the time with 48,760 spindles producing 448/608 throstle. Their payday was Wednesday. The managing director is noted to be A. Simpson, who was obviously related to the Simpson presented with this clock, who in turn were quite probably related to the other Simpson family members involved in the industry at the time.
A half-century or more earlier, a John Simpson was involved in the first cotton mill in Manchester, Simpson’s Mill, built in partnership with the well-known Richard Arkwright in 1782, along with Samuel Simpson. Arkwright’s son, also Richard, married Mary Simpson in 1780. An air raid in October of 1940 destroyed Simpson’s Mill.
Derek Roberts notes: The dial and side panels, which are silvered, are probably some of the finest we have seen.
Derval: The Derek Roberts Collection