Amigoni (Amiconi) Venetian painter worked in London from 1730 - 1739
Originally from Stockton, Yorkshire Charles Clay trained as a machine watchmaker.
The 'Temple of the Four Great Monarchies of the World' was put on display shortly after his death; the clock had been completed by John Pyke, a clock and watch maker of Bedford Row who had been apprenticed in 1710 and admitted to the Freedom of the Clockmakers' Company in 1720.
The Charles Clay Musical Clock at Birmingham Museum.
Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.
7' 7" tall overall.
A small weight driven pipe organ is housed inside and is operated by a tune barrel, which
is engraved as follows, ‘Being the first/made in perfection/N: 1 Cha: Clay London Fecit.’
The small dial is exactly the same as those on the Beijing and Naples Clocks (see above).
Signed and Dated 1735.
Acquired from the collection of Lord Burnham at the sale of the contents of Hall Barn House, Buckinghamshire in September 1969.
winged figure that surmounts the case.
written by Handel.
The Gerret Braamkamp Musical Clock by Charles Clay.
from the collection of Gerret Braamkamp (1699 - 1771).
c. 1736 - 40.
Signed C. Clay on the dial. and Cha. Clay London on the Cylinder.
Sold at the Sotheby's Robert de Balkany Sale 2016 to the Museum Speelklok. Utrecht.
Acquired by Gerret Braamcamp ( 1699-1771 ), merchant in Amsterdam, owner of a shipping company, merchant of wood and collector. Clay's clock should have been one of the first works of art to be acquired by Braamcamp, which began collecting in 1735. Subsequently, his collection at Sweedenryck became renowned.
When he died, his collection was sold at auction; the clock is purchased for 3700 fl. by one of his three brothers, Rutger Braamcamp ( born 1706 ). Then, on the death of the latter, she passed to her nephews, the sons of her brother Hermann ( born in 1709 ) established in Portugal.
Subsequently, Clay's masterpiece was successively in the hands of Donna Maria Ignacio de Almeida in Castelo Branca and Infanta, Donna Maria Isabel ( died in 1876 ), sister of Dom Miguel, King of Portugal, who keeps him at the palace of S. Domingos de Benefica in Lisbon.
After the death of Infanta, the clock became the property of collector Antonio Augusto Carvalho Monteiro ( 1848-1920 ), owner of the most complicated watch in the world at the time, the Leroy 01.
From Carvalho Monteiro, it passed through several hands to Pedro Felner da Costa who sold it to Christie’s London on November 8, 1972, lot 88.
Purchased from Christies by London Dealer Frank Partridge, the clock later passes to Robert de Balkany.
Photographs Courtesy Sotheby's, Paris.
Jean François de Bastide, The Temple of the Arts or the Cabinet of Mr. Braamcamp, Amsterdam 1766.
William Barclay Squire, ‘ Handel’s clock music ’, The Musical Quarterly, v 1919, 538-52.
Gerrit Braamcamp, Distiller, timber merchant, shipbuilder and art collector.
Frontispiece to Le Temple des Arts ou Le Cabinet de M Braamcamp by M. de Bastide.
Engraving Reinier Vinkeles after Jacob Xavery.
213 x 153 mm.
for the remarkable collection of Gerrit Braamcamp see -
A Musical Clock by Charles Clay.
These pages below from Old Clocks and Watches and their Makers, FJ Britten, 1904. Second Edition.
In an Article in The Musical Quarterly - Vol. 5, No. 4 (Oct., 1919), pp. 538-552 by William Barclay Squire entitled Handel's Clock Music Mr Squire relates how he contacted Percy Webster who assisted Britten with his work who informed him that it had been previously owned by Mr F.A. English of Addington Park, Surrey.
see also - https://www.jstor.org/stable/738126?seq=1&refreqid=excelsior%3A4a2c27228ae398e8893f5d534ee9ee1c#page_scan_tab_contents
The Charles Clay Musical Clock at
The Clock is 98 tall cms x 81 cms wide.
Believed to have been taken to Castletown by and Katherine Conolly, nee Conyngham (d.1752), the wife of the Speaker of the Irish house of Commons William Connolly (1662 - 1729)
William Conolly was at the time the richest man in Ireland
by descent to Major William Francis Conolly-Carew
Purchased by Desmond Guiness in 1966.
Desmond Guiness had purchased the house in 1967 from a Major Wilson who had bought the house and its collection in 1965.
Bought by the Castletown Foundation in 1975.
The chimes not currently functioning
Information from Castletown Decorative Arts pub 2011
Office of Public Works Ireland
Very kindly supplied by Celine of the Guides reception at Castletown......................................................
This clock was finished by John Pyke, clockmaker to Frederick, Prince of Wales, and its elaborate case included reliefs in silver, based on models by Rysbrack and bronzes representing the seated figures of the four Grand Monarchies modelled by the French London-based sculptor Louis Francois Roubiliac (1702-62). The clock was surmounted by Roubiliac's figures of Hercules and Atlas supporting the globe .
In December 1743 it was available to view at John Pyke's premises at the corner of Brownlow Street, facing Bedford Row near Gray's Inn. It apparently cost more than £4,500
The case was a 'noble Structure, a regular Piece of Architecture in the Corinthian Order ... made of fine Ebony, with Mouldings of Brass; its Columns and Entablatures are also of Brass adorn'd with Modilions, Capitals, Bases and other ornaments of Silver in the most elegant Taste. It is supported with a Pedestal of circular Form, made of Curious Wood, with Brass Mouldings, and adorn'd with other Ornaments of Brass, upon which it turns round at Pleasure for the greater Conveniency of the Spectators'.
This clock was also later acquired for Augusta, widow of Frederick, Prince of Wales.
The long delay between the completion of the clock and its acquisition for the Royal Collection explains Clay's frustration with the challenge of marketing his musical creations.
Three days before his death, he 'order'd a Musical Machine, which had cost him about 20 Years Time, and upwards of £2000 to bring to perfection, to be beat to Pieces, and entirely destroy'd to prevent the Expense of the Time and Money of any one who should attempt to finish it after his death'.
It seems unlikely that Mrs Clay carried out her husband's death-bed wishes.
Above Clipping from The Daily Advertiser, 14 January, 1744.
The Temple of the Four Grand Monarchies of the World.
Commenced by Charles Clay and completed by John Pyke.
in the Rotunda at Kensington Palace.
Acquired by Princess Augusta after 1743.
Excerpt below from Tessa Murdoch, Apollo, November 2013
Bronze mounts by Louis Francois Roubiliac.
All photographs above from the Royal Collection.
The text below is lifted in its entirety from the Royal Collection website for which I can make no apologies. I coudn't do better. I have only created the paragraphs to make this information slightly more digestible.
see - https://www.royalcollection.org.uk/collection/search#/54/collection/1418/floor-standing-clock
Reference above to a Clay Clock in the General Advertiser 6 April, 1744,
for Auction at Aaron Lambe's Great Auction Room in Pall Mall.
Presumably it did not sell and was included in the next auction.
Clipping from the Daily Advertiser 25 April 1744
Panel from a Clock by Charles Clay.
c. 1739 - 40.
Perhaps from a clock under construction in his workshop when he died.
An advertisement displaying the extent of his ability in Lloyd’s Evening Post 19–22 March 1779, is quoted here in full:
1. William, Barclay Squire, Handel’s Clock Music. Musical Quarterly, 1919, pp. 528–42.
Victoria and Albert Museum.
In 1736, a bill from the Huguenot jeweller Peter Dutens to Frederick, Prince of Wales for an eight day clock which shows the signs of the zodiac and the rising of the sun, reveals the close connections between the jewellers' and clockmakers' trades. The clock dial plate was drawn in London by Clay and was enamelled white and blue with the days and months and signs of the zodiac. The clock mechanism was imported from Paris, and Dutens supplied 'a Gold Sun chased' and the 'side Frizes to the Case & Glass'.
Offices of the Duchy of Cornwall: The Accounts of Frederick, Prince of Wales, Vol. VI.
The Huguenot jeweller Peter Dutens, of Leicester Fields supplied Frederick, Prince of Wales with
a clock for £61. 2s in 1736.
'For a Clock Case bought at Paris £11. 11.0.
Charges coming over with commission £ 2. 2.0.
The Dial Plate Enamel'd White & Blue with the Days & Months & Signs of the Zodiack £21. 0.0.
Paid Mr. Charles Clay Vizt.
For a Drawing for a Clock Dial Plate £ 1. 5.0.
For a Gold Sun chased £ 4. 4.0.
For making side Frizes to the Case & Glass £ 2. 2.0.
For an Eight day Clock that goes with a Chain to shew the signs of the Zodiack with Rising
of the Sun etc £18.18.0.
Information here from - Huguenot Artists Designers and Craftsmen in Great Britain and Ireland, 1680-1760 - Tessa Violet Murdoch Thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy
All photographs above courtesy Victoria and Albert Museum.
Pinchbeck's Musical Clock.
Clipping from The Daily Post, Classified Ads, 1 April 1729.
Pinchbeck Daily Journal. 16 April 1729.
A Succinct DESCRIPTION OF THAT Elaborate PILE OF ART, called the MICROCOSM With a Short Account of the SOLAR SYSTEM, third edition with additions, Coventry, MDCCLXIII".The clock consisted of a large edifice in the form of a Roman temple, ten feet high and six feet wide (305 x 183 cm). A number of levels displayed representations of the nine Muses on Parnassus, Orpheus charming the wild beasts in the forest, a grove with birds flying and singing, a clock with both the Ptolemaic and Copernican celestial systems and a landscape with a prospect of the Ocean and ships sailing. The foreground was animated with coaches, carts, chaises, people, birds and dogs. Finally, there was a busy carpenter's yard. An organ, harpsichord, spinet, flute and whistle with thoroughbass accompaniment played eight melodies:"At length all the various Parts of this Machine are at once presented to the Spectator's View in Motion, when upwards of one thousand two Hundred Wheels and Pinions move all together; And during the whole Performance, it plays several fine Pieces of Music on the Organ, in a very elegant Manner; and the Organ is likewise provided with a Set of Keys, so that Ladies or Gentlemen may, themselves perform on the Organ what Pieces of Music they best like."
Note, the Business will be carried on by Mrs. Pyke, widow of the deceased, and Mr. Holland his
late Apprentice and Nephew, who return their grateful, Thanks to the Nobility and Gentry for their past Favours, and solicit the Continuance of them, to merit which the utmost Attention will be given.