A rare and interesting strut clock very much in the manner of Thomas Cole and signed for one of his main retailers, Hunt & Roskell of London who exhibited a number of Cole clocks at the Great Exhibition of 1851.
The gilded oval case is profusely engraved with floral and c-scroll decoration and has a folding two-piece handle to the top and spring-loaded revolving strut, of typical Cole design, to the base, with the oval dial held within a scroll shaped frame. The dial is also profusely engraved with matching decoration and has blued steel fleur-de-lys hands, black Roman hour numerals and signed to the top and base Hunt & Roskell, 156 New Bond Street, London. To the lower part of the dial is a moon-phase aperture sat within the curved date crescent with a further blued steel hand. The engraving to the dial centre isn’t symmetrical as mostly seen on Cole clocks, although this is not so unusual on earlier made clocks, those pre-numbered, and there are certainly a number retailed by Hunt & Roskell that are not symmetrical.
The rear of the case has an engraved monogramme, formed with the initials H.S.A, presumably that of the first owner, along with a hand setting arrow and an engraved slide behind which is the hand setting and platform lever escapement, further engraved Hunt & Roskell, London.
Complete with a matching engraved winding key.
Contained in the original leather travelling case with a repeat of the initials embossed in gold-leaf to the front and stamped within Hunt & Roskell, Late Storr & Mortimor, To the Queen and Royal Family, 156 New Bond Street.
The Hunt & Roskell details as shown on this piece would place this clock after 1844 and prior to 1849 as, according to J.B.Hawkins in Thomas Cole & Victorian Clockmaking published in 1975, Cole clocks were certainly being numbered after this latter date, although a number may well have been made prior to this in readiness for the aforementioned 1851 Exhibition and therefore still unmarked.
Hunt & Roskell were founded by the world-renowned silversmith Paul Storr who was joined by John Mortimer in 1822, to become Storr & Mortimer, selling watches, clocks, jewellery and silver wares. In 1838 the business, by now with John Samuel Hunt as a partner, was dissolved and carried on by just Mortimer, Hunt and John Hunt, and now known as Mortimer & Hunt which itself was terminated in 1843 when John Mortimer retired. It is most probable that at this point Robert Roskell joined the business. with the firm now named Hunt & Roskell, becoming a limited company in 1898 and then moving from 156 New Bond Street to 25 Old Bond Street in 1912, were they were known until 1965 when J.W. Benson took over this address.
They exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1851, held in the Crystal Palace within Hyde Park, where it is known they had a fair number of clocks of this nature attributable to Thomas Cole suggesting they were very much not only main retailers of his clocks but also championing his pieces in the early years of production.
Derval: The Derek Roberts Collection