Once in a lifetime exhibition voted a huge success

The Innovation & Collaboration Exhibition at Bonhams was a resounding success with visitors

Innovation & Collaboration brings together rare clocks and watches for the first time.

Over 2,000 visitors from all over the world made the journey to Bonhams, London, at the beginning of September to view a unique collection of 119 early English clocks and watches which have never been exhibited together before and aren’t likely to be ever again.

The Innovation & Collaboration Exhibition, which ran from 3-14 September, showcased the early development of the pendulum clock in London, capturing the ‘golden age of clockmaking’ during the seventeenth century.

It has been many years in the planning and took an incredible two years to stage with sponsors Dr John C Taylor OBE and another private collector supplying many rarely seen and stunning exhibits. Further clocks and watches of the period came from public collections including that of the

Worshipful Company of Clockmakers, the Harris (Belmont) Charity and the Science Museum, London.

One of the many  highlights was John Harrison’s first ever wooden longcase, dated 1726, which at the time was considered to be the most accurate clock – a record it held for the following 150 years. A re-creation model painstakingly made and true to the original by Harrison scholar

Andrew King was also on show.

All five known clocks made by Samuel Knibb were exhibited together for the first time, alongside many other examples of the finest horology and the most exquisite casemaking of its time. Many were presented with the movement displayed separately to one side enabling a clear view of all the internal clock parts.

Throughout the two week run, guided tours and talks were given by horological experts to assembled guests.

‘It was an absolutely fantastic exhibition,’ said one visitor. ‘I know there won’t be another opportunity to view clocks like these in my lifetime.’

Others claimed the exhibition was ‘historically illuminating’, ‘intellectually stimulating’, ‘utterly brilliant’, ‘a triumph’, ‘absolutely magical’ and ‘timeless.’

Further information about the exhibition is also available at: www.clockexhibition.org.uk

One of the most comprehensive exhibitions ever to be staged in the UK celebrating English clockmaking between 1600 and 1726 brought together over 100 superb examples from this
golden age.

A period of significant historical importance, it showcased the work of Edward East and Thomas Tompion, plus the clockmaking families of Fromanteel and Knibb, among others, over five themed rooms which looked at subject matter ranging from initial imprecise timekeeping through to the highly accurate timepieces of great mechanical complication, along with crown patronage and the luxury market.

The earliest clock in the exhibition was believed to date back to c1500 and was an anonymous wrought iron gothic wall clock, which was built in Germany and decorated with the Arms of the Dukes of Württemburg. Clocks of all shapes and sizes followed showing the work of many celebrated clockmakers.

Fittingly, perhaps, the final clock, Exhibit 119, was one of the early wooden longcase clocks by John Harrison of Barrow. Dated 1726. This was the most accurate clock in the world for over 150 years.

Dr John C Taylor, one of the sponsors of the Exhibition, said: 'What is fascinating and noteworthy is that these clocks were made during some of the most turbulent and unstable times in British history. As well as the great plague and the fire of London, this most interesting period saw the death of Cromwell, the return of Charles, the problem with James and the glorious revolution of William and Mary.'

James Stratton, Director of the Clock Department at Bonhams, said: 'The exhibition has been visited by clock collectors from around the world, from Australia, the US, Canada, the Netherlands and the rest of Europe. All around the world, people are talking about it.

'The collectors – Dr John C Taylor OBE and another, anonymous, private collector – have caused great excitement in our vibrant and passionate community and can be seen as heroes of horology.'

Accompanying the exhibition is a fully illustrated hard-back book £150, plus a half leather limited edition version £425, both of which are proving hugely popular. To order a copy go to www.clockexhibition.org.uk/book

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British watchmaker Roger Smith OBE admires the Tompion No144, quarter repeater, 1679.Andrew King with his Harrison re-creation which is true to the original.Dr John C Taylor OBE, one of the sponsors of the exhibition.Dr John C Taylor OBE with one of his ‘favourites’ – The Selby-Lowndes Tompion, London, c1693. He says he particularly likes this as it was the last of the true English style clocks before clockmakers became influenced by more elaborate European styles.BCU’s Jeremy Hobbins, Stephen Clarke, Jon Parker, Benjaman Newman and Guild Chairman Chris Papworth.BHI President Alan Midleton, Dr John C Taylor OBE and Alan Burtoft.Guild Vice Chairman Paul Roberson with BHI Chair Stella Haward.Dr John C Taylor OBE, one of the sponsors of the exhibition.AHS Chairman, James Nye, with Bonhams Director of the Clock Department, James Stratton.

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