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Durrants auctioneers in Beccles hope grandfather clock collection will chime with buyers

PUBLISHED: 12:55 19 January 2017 | UPDATED: 13:06 19 January 2017

Durrants Auction Rooms are set to auction off five uinique longcase clocks.
Bev Baker from Durrants with the clocks.
PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Durrants Auction Rooms are set to auction off five uinique longcase clocks. Bev Baker from Durrants with the clocks. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

©archant2017

On the face of it, a clock is just something that tells the time. But these ones are special - and time is running out if you want to buy one.

Durrants Auction Rooms are set to auction off five uinique longcase clocks.

PHOTO: Nick Butcher Durrants Auction Rooms are set to auction off five uinique longcase clocks. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

The five antique timepieces are going under the hammer at a Beccles auction house.

The three longcase clocks and two regulators are part of a collection owned by a local man and are his second batch to be sold at Durrants.

The regulators are psrticularly accurate and would have been used in country houses to set other clocks by.

Clockmaker Dents of London made the first, which is an oak-cased wall-mounted clock and was 
owned by a well-known collector 
in the 1930s, whose collection was sold at Sotheby’s.

The second is a Georgian regulator, probably made by David Ritchie in London circa 1812 as it boasts the type of pendulum he was known for.

There are three longcase clocks, which have eight-day movement, and two of them are locally made.

One was made by Feltham, who had known links to Harleston and Stowmarket and has a rocking ship, which works with the movement of the pendulum.

Durrants Auction Rooms are set to auction off five uinique longcase clocks.  PHOTO: Nick Butcher Durrants Auction Rooms are set to auction off five uinique longcase clocks. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

It is made of flame mahogany with an elegant door and in each corner there is a figure representing a season.

Feltham made watches as well as clocks and was active in the period between 1839 and 1846.

The second longcase clock was produced by Joseph King from Shaftsbury circa 1710. It features marquetry and gold-coloured spandrels behind the dials.

There is also a function which allows the user to change the mode of the clock from silent to chiming.

The final clock hails from Beccles and was made by Richard Durrant between 1823 and 1855. He may be a descendant from the Durrant family who own the auction house.

The case is flame mahogany and has been kept out of sunlight most of its life.

Mark Whistler, manager at Durrants said: “The height and hood are typical of this area of Suffolk because many houses had 
low ceilings so it was made a bit shorter.

“The dial features a swan on the river, which is thought to be the River Waveney and the swan rocks with the motion of the pendulum.

“Durrants started in the 1850s so its entirely possible Mr Durrant was some kind of relative so if anyone knows of any connection we would like to know.

“We expect the collection as a whole to reach several thousand pounds.

“We have never seen such a wonderful quality collection of clocks up for sale.”

What are regulator clocks?

Regulator clocks are sometimes referred to as pendulum clocks and were invented in the late 18th century in a bid to help timekeeping become accurate.

They are weight-driven devices and each of the clock’s hands work off a different mechanism.

The earliest regulators were invented by Benjamin Vulliamy and James Harrison between 1760 and 1780.

Regulators were most popular in Vienna and were used in places such as train stations.

The longcase clock, which is also known as the grandfather clock, was the result of two breakthroughs in the late 1650s – the application of the pendulum clock and the invention of the anchor escapement.

It was first used in clockmaking by Dutchman Christiaan Huygens in 1656 with the pendulum made for near frictionless time-keeping and the anchor mechanism reducing the swing to improve accuracy.

This style of clock was extremely popular for more than two centuries.

The auction takes place on February 10, bids can be taken via saleroom.com, on the phone or in person on the day. Call Durrants Auction Rooms on 01502 713490.

Do you own some unusual antiques? Email louisa.lay@archant.co.uk

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