Queen Victoria Diamond Jubilee Skeleton Clock at Bonhams Fine Clocks Sale

One of the finest skeleton clocks to come to market for many years, features in Bonhams Fine Clocks sale in London on Wednesday 15 July. Made by Camerer Cuss & Co to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897, the clock is estimated at £10,000-15,000.

Prince Albert had died 36 years before this clock was made, but he was still a significant presence during Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897. The figures on the clock depict the young married couple. Albert is decorated with the Order of the Garter and the Golden Fleece. Victoria is dressed out of period, in a simple Medieval-style gown, the pair perhaps portraying the Age of Chivalry, in tune with the gothic decoration of the clock.

Bonhams Director of Clocks James Stratton said, "This is one of the finest skeleton clocks I've ever seen. Not only is it a fascinating and beautiful object, it also features a remote winding and hand-setting function, used here for the first time. One of the main challenges for skeleton clock owners is the need to remove the glass dome safely 52 times a year in order to wind the clock up. It is the reason that so many 19th century skeleton clocks are now lacking their domes. The current clock, by contrast, retains its original, perfectly fitting dome."

Other highlights include:

• One of only two known regulators by Thomas Reid incorporating his spring pallet escapement and pendulum (estimate £10,000-15,000). The clock was a wedding present from the Directors and Senior Officials of the Royal Bank of Scotland to Lady Alice Montagu Douglas Scott, later Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester (1901-2004). Lady Alice married Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester (1900-1974), the third son of George V, on 6th November 1935. Thomas Reid was born in Dysart, near Fife in 1746. Aged 16 he was apprenticed to his gifted clockmaking cousin James Cowan. When the latter died, Thomas took over the business. Reid was in demand for public commissions all over Scotland, including the first clock for the spire of St. Andrews Parish Church on George Street Edinburgh and improvements to the clock of St Giles' Kirk. He died on 24th September 1831.

• A unique and previously unrecorded mid-19th century engraved and gilt brass-mounted, coromandel calendar timepiece with long duration movement and thermometer (estimate £30,000-50,000). The clock was made by Thomas Cole (1880-1864) who, with his brother James Ferguson (1798- 1880), made an indelible mark on English horology in the 19th century. Thomas was awarded a medal for "excellence of taste and design" in the 1862 London Exhibition, and as well as signing his own name, he was happy to supply his clocks to various high-class retailers, as in this instance.


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