A Regency Period Painted Pine Tavern Timepiece Wall Clock c.1825

Origin: English
Period: Late Regency
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1825
Height: 71.5”
Depth: 6.5”
Diameter: 24” (at face)

The provincially crafted and painted tavern timepiece wall clock, at six feet tall, having a painted sheet metal dial hand-decorated in black to an ivory ground with Roman numerals and lozenged outer dial, the primitive case with pendulum and a hinged door opening to reveal a weight-driven square brass timepiece movement marked 'Whitmore No. 386 1825'; the whole surviving from the late regency period in delightfully untouched condition.

The clock is hugely decorative and attractive as is to look at but to function as intended it requires some restoration (though we have not tested it as it lacks the key), which we can administer if so desired at cost with our local clock restorer. The hands are original but there is loss to one of them.  It retains the pendulum and weight which one presumes original. The movement is untested though looks complete to the eye, whilst the case is possibly missing a base panel to the front. The paint is nicely crazed and aged. There is some old inscriptions to the front inner door asking not to wind the weight up too high, and to the back of the inner case it is inscribed Whitmore 1825. The clock is priced appropriately with these factors in mind.

As a result of an Act passed by the English Parliament in 1797 tavern clocks were hung in every pub and tavern throughout the British Isles. The Act declared that a tax would be collected on every clock in the realm. Thus, many private clock owners either hid their clocks or got rid of them altogether. Thus taverns and pubs became the preferred location for obtaining the correct time. The Tavern owners did not mind paying the tax because the towns people had to stop by if they wanted to find out what time it was. This resulted in more people eating and drinking at the Tavern.

An "Act of Parliament clock" is a type of large weight driven wall clock originally hung in inns and taverns in the United Kingdom, beginning in the mid-18th century. Such clocks were plain in design, the faces were around two to five feet in diameter, and they were hung on the wall. They were also commonly called Tavern Clocks. The term "Act of Parliament clock" came about long after these clocks were already in existence. In 1797, a tax against clocks of five shillings was introduced in the Kingdom of Great Britain by the Prime Minister William Pitt. The tax was very unpopular among clockmakers and was repealed after nine months. The large clocks in inns were later popularly said to have been developed as a response to this tax.

Such is the primitive and provincial decorative appeal of this clock with its glorious paint, it hardly needs to function to act as showstopping good piece of wall art.