Walker of Edinburgh: A mahogany Longcase Clock
A mahogany longcase clock of lovely rich colour with an eight-day duration movement that strikes the hours on a bell.
The thirteen-inch painted arched dial has black Roman numerals, subsidiary date dial, blued steel decorative hands and is signed with the maker’s name J. Walker, Edinburgh, the date dial is stamped by the well-known dialmaker Wilson, Birm. with the rear of the dial stamped 256 along with the letter 'B' painted on to a typical Wilson white patch of paint on which is written in ink the instructions to the dial painter to follow.
The mahogany case is of typical Edinburgh style with excellent proportions and good colour. The base has crossbanding & stringing to it which is repeated to the trunk door and hood and there are fluted, quartered columns to the trunk. The hood has a swan-necked pediment with brass patrae, fluted columns with brass capitals and shaped fret-work within the pediment itself.
*There appears to be no record of a J Walker working as a clockmaker in Edinburgh in the late 1700's, although there are a number in the area.
Height: 84 inches (214 cms)
The dial is typical of James Wilson's work with the floral corner spandrels, the inner & outer lines to the numerals, the dotted minutes, the style of numerals and the decoration to the arch, being a classical urn with floriate decoration flowing from within.
James Wilson was a pioneer of the painted 'enamel' dial having started his manufactory in Birmingham in circa 1772 in partnership with Thomas Osborne when he was aged about seventeen and Osborne about twenty.
An advert from Aris's Birmingham Gazette in 1772 describes the partners making 'White Clock Dials in Imitation of Enamel, in a Manner entirely new', being the new style of painted dial that was to become so popular.
On the dissolution of the partnership in September 1777 James Wilson set up on his own account at 11, Great Charles Street before enlarging into number 12. He is considered one of the best of the Birmingham dial makers and certainly one of the most important. As in this example his dials are often signed on the date dials with the addition of a white 'splodge' on the rear of the dial painted with an initial, thought to be the actual painter of that particular dial, and also numbered.
James Wilson died in 1809, aged 54, and his business effectively went with him after a relative of his wife, Nathaniel Porter, tried unsuccessfully to run it but going bankrupt in 1811.