Clerke, Royal Exchange, London
A Delépine Carriage Clock with English Case
A large gilt-bronze carriage clock in the English style by Delépine-Barrois who at this time were also supplying movements and complete clocks for Jacot to finish.
The eight-day duration movement is fitted with a platform lever escapement which is stamped with the initials 'G.V.' as seen on the platforms of other Delépine carriage clocks and numbered to both the top and the underside 68269. The balance cock is finely engraved, an adornement that was quite probably undertaken with the clock in London, and has a Breguet overcoil to the hairspring and steel bridge to stop the regulation index moving, as seen on the finer Henri Jacot carriage clock escapements.
The movement strikes the hours and half-hours on a gong with the gong block stamped with the initials F.D. for the gong maker, and has a push button to the top to repeat the strike of the last hour at will. Both the backplate and rear shuttered door are stamped with a hand setting arrow design as used by Delépine.
The silvered dial has black Roman hour numerals, blued steel spade hands and signed for the retailer and maker F.W. Clerke, 1 Royal Exchange.
The substantial gilt-bronze pillared case was almost certainly made by a London maker for Clerke to be fitted with the Delépine movement and is reminiscent of other clocks signed for them in a similar vein. The case is of superb quality and when taken apart was made up of three times as many individual pieces than the normal French Anglaise-style case.
Height: 8 inches (handle up): 7 inches (handle down) (20cms/18cms)
The Delépine of Delépine-Barrois is not the well-know Saint-Nicolas-d'Aliermont maker Charles-Boromé Delépine taking on a new partner after the death of Charles Canchy as previously assumed. It is in fact a relative of his named Ludovic Delépine along with Ludovic's wife Marie Barrois. Marie was a Parisian girl who had no prior horological experience as such. Her father had died in Paris and her widowed mother then married her sister's brother-in-law, the horloger Gustave Sauteur. They moved to Saint Nicolas d'Aliermont in circa 1880 where Marie met and married Ludovic Delépine in 1884. Together they formed the Delépine-Barrois business that became one of the finest carriage clock producers of the late-Victorian period and eventually succeeded Charles-Borome Delépine following his death in 1891 and therefore by descent were successors to Honoré Pons. They originally lived in a house next to the church with workshops set up in the gardens but moved across the town square to the prominent house with workshops that is well-known having been depicted on many postcards of the time, as seen above. It is quite probable that these premises were originally built by the step-uncle to Marie Barrois, the prominent horologist Augustin Sauteur, brother to Gustave.
Ludovic and Marie Delépine returned to Paris in 1912, having had an horological business running in tandem with that in Saint Nicolas from at least 1901, and their business, along with the house and workshops, were taken over by the Couaillet family.
Frederick William Clerke, born in 1820, was both a watchmaker, chronometer maker and retailer which would explain the mix between the French movement, the upgraded platform and English case.
He is recorded at 46 Bridenell Place, North Road in 1851 and by 1861 he was working at 27 Lombard Street. From at least 1864 to 1867 Frederick was recorded at 168 Fenchurch Street as a watchmaker but by 1871 he had moved the business to 1 Royal Exchange where he continued until his death in 1885.
The 1871 census shows Frederick as a ‘watchmaker employing 8 men’ and living at 1 Park Villas, Grosvenor Park Road, Walthamstow with his wife Sarah and children Florence and Fredk Jas, his mother-in-law Mary Newberry, his aunt Sarah Muston and a servant girl.
Clerke died in 1885 when his son Frederick James Clerke took over running the business and is recorded in the 1891 census as both a chronometer maker and watch maker at 1 Royal Exchange.
Phone book entries show F.J Clerke, watchmaker and jeweller, at 1 Royal Exchange from at least 1907 to 1914.
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Engraved Platform Escapement
Engraved Platform Escapement