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A fine Queen Anne walnut eight-day longcase clock by John Knibb, Oxon (Oxford)

The Case

The 233.5cm walnut case echoes London work of the period despite being provincially made, with well chosen walnut veneers, the domed caddy surmounted by two brass flambeau urn finials, fronted box upstand above moulded cornice, generous three-quarter columns with gilt capitals to glazed hood door, the sides with rectangular windows and rear quarter columns with chamfered capitals set against tapering bargeboards, the trunk with concave throat above a 38 inch rectangular cross-band moulded door with book-matched veneers and again the plinth base with book-matched veneers within cross-banded surround to the front over moulded double skirt * See comparison of case in gallery previously sold at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury

The Dial-Plate

Fine 11inch dial plate with original twin cherub and crown spandrels, silvered chapter ring with finely chased half hour markers are 'typical' of John Knibbs later work (see comparison image of previously sold knibb) finely matted centre engraved John Knibb Oxon to a polished centre cartouche with engraved boarder (see comparison image of Samual Aldworth Dial who was apprenticed to Samuel and Joseph Knibb and became John Knibbs right hand man where they worked together closely for many years) top centre is a wonderful Loveheart date aperture with working calendar, a very rare feature not seen on any other Longcase before.

*The dial plate is original to the movement and no adjustments or alterations have been made to its fixing mounts/feet.

The Movement

Four pillar 8 Day movement with anchor escapement and inside count-wheel, usual delicate wheelwork and the typical Knibb feature of having no bridge for the hour wheel to the front-plate which was very much favoured by him.

Brass seconds Pendulum with original brass cased weights.

John Knibb

John Knibb was born in 1650 and was apprenticed to his older brother, Joseph, in around 1664. When Joseph moved to London in 1670 to set up business (presumably in the workshop inherited from his uncle, Samuel) John, his younger brother, took on the Oxford workshop gaining the Freedom of the city on payment of a fine in 1673.

Joseph Knibb retired in 1697 selling up most of his workshop before moving to Hanslop, Buckinghamshire where he made a few clocks prior to his death in 1711.

John Knibb became a high profile figure within the City of Oxford twice becoming Mayor, he continued in business until his death in 1722.

Due to the comparative rarity of clocks signed by John Knibb it has been suggested that his workshop may have generally served to supply Joseph's larger concern in London. The strong similarities between John's best work and those signed by Joseph would certainly support this view. However it is also clear that John was a high profile tradesman in the City of Oxford who trained no less than ten apprentices, therefore it is perhaps more likely that, although the two workshops were closely connected, they generally worked separately to supply clocks to differing groups of clients.

Samuel Aldworth

(1659-1720?) was John Knibb’s brightest and most auspicious apprentice and journeyman. He was born the son of John Aldworth of Childrey, Buckinghamshire and began his apprenticeship with John Knibb in Oxford in 1673 at the age of about 14. When his 7 year apprenticeship ended in 1680 Samuel continued to work for Knibb as his Journeyman until 1689 when he set up in Oxford on his own. In 1697 Samuel moved to London when Joseph Knibb sold his London business and in December of the same year he was admitted to the Clockmakers’ Company as a Free Brother. In 1703 he married Elizabeth Knibb, thought to be the daughter of John Knibb; she is listed as having been aged 23 and from Collingtree, near Northampton. Samuel eventually left London in1720 returning to his birthplace of Childrey where he died.

*Samuel Aldworth’s clocks show the very high quality of craftsmanship and many similarities to that of his employers, John and Joseph knibb.

Early 18th Century Walnut Caddy Top Longcase Clock by John Knibb of Oxon

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