Ahasuerus Fromanteel, London
A fine, small and extremely rare English striking longcase clock by this sought after early maker. The two train, key wound, weight driven, 8 day movement unusually with reversed trains and count wheel strike. The hammer with linkage being drawn toward the centre of the movement rather than to the outside and striking a vertically mounted bell as opposed to the standard horizontal mounting, sounding the hours upon a single bell, having butterfly rating above the back cock, with brass crutch to the seconds pendulum. The 8.75 inch square brass dial with finely matted centre and chased gilt cherub spandrels, narrow silvered engraved Roman chapter ring with bolt and shutter maintaining power and calendar aperture above VI, with large narrow silvered seconds ring below XII, signed to the base of the dial, A. Fromanteel Londini Fecit, with simple but well cut steel hands. The small and superbly proportioned ebony veneered case with architectural top to the rising hood mounted with Corinthian capitals and gilt Doric bases to the slender ebony pillars. The trunk with slender panelled door having panelled sides with plain ebony veneered base standing on compressed ebony bun feet.
This small clock represents the earliest form of English longcase clock. Ahasuerus II, (1640-1703) being the son of Ahasuerus the Elder who was the first clockmaker in Britain to use the pendulum in clocks, which revolutionised horology the world over. Although the Fromanteel family were at the cutting edge of technology in the 17th century there is still much we need to learn about the family and research continues today.
Provenance: The property of a gentleman
For information on this clock see, The Story of the Pendulum Clock, by Ernest L. Edwardes, plates 64,65,66,67,68 and 69; Maestricht Antiques Fair 1979; Brass Dial Clocks, by Brian Loames, plates 13 and 27.
For comparative literature see, Antiquarian Horology, March 1975 and The First Twelve Years of the English Pendulum, by Ronald A. Lee.