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Week-end Clock Blogging - Daniel Quaire

by dmun Sat Apr 22nd, 2006 at 08:20:26 AM EST


Of the great names in early English Clockmaking, Daniel Quare is the subject of our discourse today.


(images credit:Derek Roberts fine antique clocks)

Quare was a royal clockmaker, and noted inventor.  We know a lot more about the clocks than the man who made them  

Daniel Quare was born around 1648 in Somersetshire. He joined the clockmakers company in 1671, and be came a master in 1708.  He died on March 21, 1724, in Croydon, Surrey. We don't have any existing portrait of the man.  

He came to the attention of the King in 1686, when Edward Barlow tried to patent a repeating mechanism for watches, and Quare, with the support of the clockmakers company, appealed his patent, saying he had been making repeaters since 1680.  Repeating was important in the era before easily turned-on electric light, so you could know what time it was in the dark. Barlow's patent was refused, and the king, testing Barlow's and Quare's watches side by side, stated a preference for Quare's.  There are several Quare clocks in the royal collections: The most notable is a year running clock in Hampton palace, in a burl walnut veneered case:

 The dial has subsidiary dials for the time of sunrise and sunset, the angle of the sun in the sky, and the equation of time. Joseph Williamson claimed in a paper in 1719 to have made the equation work for this clock, which would have been his wacky system where the equation cam raised and lowered the pendulum suspension in it's chocks, so the clock would run on sundial time.  We'll never know because the equation work was suppressed by Vulliamy, who also replaced the pendulum and escapement in 1836.  Vulliamy, althougth an excellent maker in his own right, is much hated in certain circles for vandalism to the royal collections.  He seems to have billed by the hour, and had his hand in everything.

There is also a Quare repeating bracket clock in the collections of Buckingham Palace:

You will excuse the quality of these images The royal collections are not much photographed, these come from an old book:(image credit: Old Clocks and Watches & their Makers  5th edition  F.J. Britten  Spon Ltd. London 1922)

Here's a great bracket clock by Quare:

(image credit John Carlton-Smith)

Note the matching key spandrels (one is fake for symmetry) the fretted aperture in the door for the bell to be heard better, and the false pendulum display in the dial which shows a disk moving back and forth to show that the clock is running.  These are all features of good early bracket clocks.

Here's a good Quare longcase, and a bit more biography from a UK museum:

An 8 day rack striking longcase clock, no.151, by Daniel Quare, London, c.1720.
With anchor escapement, the break arch dial has a date ring in the arch.
The case with caddy top is in veneered walnut with gilt flambeau spandrels.

Daniel Quare, c.1647-1724. Quare worked at St Martins-le-Grand and Exchange Alley, London. He became a celebrated maker of clocks including year going examples and also of repeating watches. He also invented a type of portable weatherglass. Quare became Master of the Clockmakers Co. in 1708 and on his death was buried at the Quakers Burial Ground at Bunhill Fields.

This clock has a four pillar movement with a recoil escapement (with replaced pallets) and seconds pendulum. The striking train is an unusual rack system, superior in design to the more conventional type, which puts undue strain on the gathering pallet tail.

The case is veneered in figured walnut and fretwork backed with silk high in the hood allows the sound of the bell to be heard more clearly. The gilt dial has a matt background with oval reserve for the name. The chapter, seconds and date ring are silvered.

An expensive clock when first made, this one was designed for high ceilinged rooms of the type which became common among the wealthy as London was rebuilt after the Great Fire of 1666.

(image credit St. Edmundsbury Borough Council Manor House Museum)

Here's a completely over-the-top longcase clock:

This was in a fashonable red lacquered case with gilt oriental motifs. This form of decoration, called chinoiserie, is extremely desirable, and extremely fragile.  It's rare to see one that hasn't been restored and re-restored, if not fabricated from a plain case.  Not to cast aspersions on the present example which is no doubt in fine original condition (image credit Mallett Antiques).  By the way, take a peek at the homepage i just linked, they have a really good clock by Vulliamy, who I just got done insulting.

Next time: Joseph Knibb, the last of our royal makers of the "golden age"


Monastic alarms and the beginnings of clockmaking
De Dondi's remarkable astrarium
Early tower clocks
Gothic iron clocks
Rennaisance clocks
Early english lantern clocks
Huygens and the pendulum
Fromanteel's English pendulum clocks
Huygens in Paris
Clement and the recoil escapement
Edward East and the golden age
Thomas Tompion

I continue my survey of famous English clockmakers of the late17th and early 18th century . I know, there are a lot of them.

Well, looks like a rainy weekend here in the NYC area, hope it's better by you.



by dmun on Sat Apr 22nd, 2006 at 08:25:48 AM EST
Thank you for these diaries and their photos. I usually read the diary several days late but am glad to see they keep showing up every week!
by Alexandra in WMass (alexandra_wmass[a|t]yahoo[d|o|t]fr) on Sun Apr 23rd, 2006 at 04:55:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, it's a lovely and also an educating diary! Thank you, dmun!
by Laura on Mon Apr 24th, 2006 at 10:35:52 AM EST

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