top of page

William Tomlinson, London: An Ebonised Longcase Clock

WilliamTomlinson London ebonised eight day antique longcase clock Tompion 18th century caddy top

William Tomlinson, London: An early 18th century ebonised longcase clock; the twelve-inch square brass dial has a raised silvered chapter ring engraved with black Roman numerals, Arabic five-minute outer numerals, diamond half hour markings, and further diamond half quarter hour markings, and is signed either side of VI o’clock Wm Tomlinson, London.

The gilded matted dial centre has ringed winding holes, date aperture and a subsidiary seconds dial with a raised silvered ring, with fine blued steel hands. To the four corners are cast cherub & crown spandrels.

The eight-day duration movement, with brass bound weights, strikes the hours on a bell with an inside countwheel and is fitted with five finned pillars, the centre one being latched.

The ebonised case has a double caddy top to the hood with fretwork to the two friezes and two giltwood ball and spire finials. The ebonised hood pillars have cast brass capitals with a brass escutcheon to the lock. The trunk door has a round lenticle to view the pendulum bob and a decorative cast brass escutcheon in a style much favoured by the top makers of this period; with a plain base standing on applied plinth.


William Tomlinson was a fine maker and is first recorded as becoming a Brother of the Clockmakers Company in 1699 and Master on the 29th of September 1733. He worked at The Dial & Three Crowns, Birchin Lane, nr Royal Exchange; now in White Hart Court, Gracechurch St.

A Quaker, at some point he retired to Stoke Newington where he died in 1750.

An oval plaque engraved for Wm. Tomlinson, London, is illustrated and discussed in Antiquarian Horology, the quarterly journal of the Antiquarian Horological Society, December 2019, where in an article written by Jon Power Was there high-quality, wholesale movement manufacture in seventeenth-century London? it is stated that it is attached to a movement most likely to have been made in the workshops of Daniel Quare, with the dial also signed for Tomlinson.


Various clocks by Tomlinson are recorded including:

A fine ebonised bracket clock made circa 1710: Catalogue of clocks for sale, White, Boniface, Thornbury. Date unknown.

A further ebonised bracket clock, with a three-train chiming movement, was in the famed pre-war Wetherfield Collection; see W.E. Hurcomb, The Wetherfield Collection of Clocks, second edition August 1929, page 32.

A watch is known presented to the President of Harvard College, Edward Holyoake, after which the outer case was made into a drinking cup.

A watch signed by Tomlinson, and dated 1719, is in the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.

A George II mahogany longcase clock, with moonphase: Sotheby's, Bond Street, 2nd February 1970, lot 213; sold to Pavolini for £210.00.

Price: £18,000

Ref: 1298

Click on slide show below to view full images

bottom of page