A small English ebonised table clock, James Wittit London, circa 1740
8-day movement with hour striking on a bell, quarter repeat on demand, ebonised case with brass mounts
15-cm arched brass dial, silvered chapter ring with Roman numerals, matted centre with apertures for date and mock pendulum, pierced urn spandrels, arch with signature plaque James Wittit London flanked by two silvered subsidiaries for strike/silent and up/down, double fusee spring driven movement of 8-day duration, rack hour striking on a bell, pull wind quarter repeat on six bells, foliate and similarly signed back plate, ebonised inverted bell top case surmounted by a brass handle, foliate pierced wood frets to the sides, moulded plinth.
The English table or bracket clock, as it is often called, has been universally liked for centuries. It’s design remained roughly the same for a long time and underwent only minor changes due to fashion in interior design so it matched with other objects. The dimensions of these clocks are often very similar; therefore, smaller versions are collectable and sought after. But in addition to being a pretty object, it was very practical. Besides showing the time, the date and striking the hours, it has a pull-cord quarter-repeater function. Using this, one could tell the approximate time during the night without the need for a light. This feature indicates that this clock was also used in the bedroom and sheds some light on the history of this fine object.