Antique Clocks

Peter Fearnley, Lancashire

George III Period Northern English quarter-striking
mahogany longcase clock by Peter Fearnley, Wigan, Lancashire.

Case: The tall and impressive case of Peter Fearnley's clock is scaled to match the complex 14.5 inch brass dial. The hood carries panels of fretwork backed by silk in the arch, and the fearnley-casesides have the fret patterns cut out of the solid panels. The only brass trim is the circular paterae at the tips of the swan-neck scrolls and the escutcheon for the trunk door's key. Hood pillars are fluted mahogany. The urn finials are replaced.

The clock's trunk has a panel of flame mahogany on the door and free-standing fully developed fluted pillars at the sides. The base has a further raised panel of flame mahogany and canted corners. The ogee bracket feet are also restored.

Dial: The 14.5 inch brass and silvered brass dial carries a large amount of information. The lunar dial in the arch has two sober-looking moon faces and two well executed country scenes, and an engraved and silvered circumference. The half-hemisphere humps at the sides of the lunar dial's opening have

applied and engraved silvered panels with the motto Tempus Fugit (Time Flees). The chapter ring is engraved all around its border with a fully annual calendar, every day of every month, with its own indicator hand. The dial's silvered center is beautifully engraved with swirling foliage, centered by a panel proclaiming Gloria Deo. The very high quality corner spandrels are of an asymmetrical rococo pattern, fashionable on large dials in the North for almost the whole second half of the 18th century.

There are four hands radiating from the center of this dial. The usual hour and minutes hands, then the straight spike of the calendar hand, and the sweep center seconds hand with its decorated and counter balanced tail.

Movement: Peter Fearnley's large and substantial movement carries three trains; time, hourly striking and quarter striking. It is built with five pillars between the plates, and much under-dial machinery to move and set the calendar, move the lunar dial, etc. Unusually for use of the center seconds, the escapement is anchor recoil rather than dead beat.Much use is made of short bridges to support extended arbors, and the quality of finishing is very good. Pendulum is original, the lead weights are restored.

Maker: Baillie gives only one short entry to Peter Fearnley in Wigan; 1778-1820. Brian Loomes' research shows Fearnley as born about 1749, married Ann Lawson, of another Wigan clockmaking family, in 1776 at age 27, a considerable time after he would have completed apprenticeship, and died in 1826. He was known to have produced tower clocks, one in fact for Wigan Church in about 1790, as well as domestic clocks.

8 Feet 5 Inches High
Circa 1785-1790
No. 1611

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