Nov 272011

Long case clock In this way my ancestor Richard Hall noted that his long-case clock, bought in London some eight years previously, had been transported by Mr Endall, wagoner, to his new home in Bourton on the Water.

The clock, a monster at just under nine feet high, was made by Conyers Dunlop, a good clockmaker based in London. He had been apprenticed in 1725, four years before Richard was born, and went on to become Master of the Clockmakers Company in 1758. He made clocks until his death in 1779.

In more recent years the very height of the clock was to become a problem – I remember my mother moved into a ‘Granny flat’ with ceilings around seven feet six inches high. So she had a hole cut in the ceiling to allow an extra six inches (mostlytaken up with finials) to poke up out of view. Still it didn’t fit. A hole was cut in the floorboards and this allowed the clock to drop down between the joists so that visitors were greeted with a weird sight of a  ‘sawn-off clock’ emerging from the void and disappearing into the attic!

Only when I had the clock looked at by a professional was I told that the finials were all wrong, had been doctored, and that the original clock was never that tall….

Conyers Dunlop was a fine craftsman. I like the picture of a bracket clock which he made in 1760  and shown on the  Anthony Woodburn site at

CONYERS DUNLOP, London, c1760

This is an eight-day clock with an hour strike and a pull quarter-hour repeat, using six bells.

Another bracket clock by the same maker is this one measuring some eighteen inches in height and described as being an eight day clock with a crown-wheel escapement. It is of green chinoiserie lacquerwork.

    The back plate is beautifully engraved.

The nearest I can get to a picture of Richard’s longcase clock (sold some ten years ago, unfortunately) is this one:

It is by Conyers Dunlop and is apparently a whopping 99 inches tall! It  is described in the auction details at the Woolley & Wallis website at as ‘a George III mahogany longcase clock, with an 8 day five pillar movement striking on a bell, with a 12 inch arched brass dial having a silvered chapter ring and subsidiary seconds dial’. And since you ask,the auction price for this particular specimen was four grand, probably rather less than the bracket clocks by the same maker (perhaps reflecting the fact that most modern houses simply cannot accommodate such a monster).

Other very helpful information about longcase clocks in the eighteenth century can be found at the website of P. A. Oxley Clocks at

  4 Responses to “The long case clock (Part Two) – an 18th century masterpiece”




    Very fine – what a shame your Conyers was sold!


      A shame up to a point, but it really was so huge none of the family could house it. For a while it was in pieces in the garage but in the end it was better to say goodbye to it, and free up money for Mum’s nursing home fees, rather than keep the clock and watch it deteriorate. I was sad to see it go after 230 years in the family, but in a way it is simply a precursor to the decisions my children will have to make about all the other family items. No-one seems too keen to live in a museum!


    Conyers Dunlop is a good maker, we have sold many of his clocks.


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