Saturday, 24 December 2005

Pull a cracker this Christmas - thanks to Victorian baker Tom Smith

by Christopher Proudlove©
Español | Deutsche | Français | Italiano | Português

<a href="" title="Victorian advertisement

What do you get when you walk under a friendly cow?
A pat on the head.

What's a dentist's favourite musical instrument?
A tuba toothpaste.

Jokes as bad as these - and worse - will spill out over dining tables across the land tomorrow when the nation sits down to Christmas dinner and the annual cracker pulling contest to decide who gets to wear the silly paper hat.

It's one of those long-held traditions that we all hold dear but few of us stop to wonder about the history of the ubiquitous Christmas cracker. Except, of course, for the people who collect Christmas antiques and the band is growing - we saw a box of six 1930s German-made glass shiny balls at recent car boot sale and now, having decorated our own tree with the plastic excuses for tree decorations, we wished we had bought them. At £10, they seemed like a bargain, given their longevity. That's the problem with Christmas crackers. They are meant to be pulled apart and destroyed, ending up in the dustbin with the armfuls of gift wrapping paper. So I guess surviving early Victorian and Edwardian examples are few and far between, but there's no harm in looking. You never know.

For some unknown reason, I always thought that the cracker was invented by the Chinese. Perhaps I linked them with gunpowder and firecrackers. I was wrong, but not completely.

In fact, we have a baker and confectioner called Tom Smith to thank for Christmas crackers, so as we all prepare for the festive season, I thought I'd tell his story.

What's large, red and wears a bikini
An elephant with sunburn.

Young Tom left school at an early age and in early 1830, he found work in a London bakery, which in addition to bread, made and sold sweets, wedding cakes and their icing sugar ornaments and decorations. He was a quick learner and a hard worker and before long he started up his own business in Clerkenwell, East London.

Clearly the business was a success, enabling Tom to travel abroad in search of new products and ideas. One one such trip to Paris in 1840, he tasted his first "bon bon", a simple sugared almond but sold wrapped in a twist of waxed paper.

Bonbonnieres were - and still are - all the rage in Paris, making healthy profits from handmade sweets wrapped and presented in pretty boxes and Tom brought the idea back to London. His bonbons went on sale in time for that Christmas and were an instant success.

What's large, red and wears a bikini?
An elephant with sunburn.

However, sales fell away in the months that followed and competitors also started selling their own wrapped sweets. Tom quickly realised he needed another unique idea to keep him ahead.

Although he had never visited country, he heard about the Chinese tradition of celebrating the New Year with fortune cookies with predictions about the future concealed inside. Tom seized the idea and began double-wrapping his bonbons, the waxed paper outer layer with a motto appropriate to his market concealed beneath.

As his sweets were enjoying great success among young ladies, he hit on the idea of making the mottos like little love notes, which suitors were keen to give to their bows.

Again the sweets were successful and again, without the protection of copyright laws, his competitors were hot on his heels.

What did one plate say to the other?
Lunch is on me.

Tom's next brainwave was to include a small charm or trinket, which he decided he would place with the sweet and motto inside a small cardboard tube enclosed by an outer wrapper. Because they had always been associated with Christmas, they were marketed as "Christmas Bonbonnes Complete with a Surprise". The cracker was born, although there was one more process yet to be thought of.

Again Tom hit the jackpot and sales soared to the point where he was employing more and more staff to cope with demand. But greater things were to follow.

Ever eager to stay one step ahead of the competition, Tom wracked his brains for the next unique idea. Tradition has it that inspiration came one day sitting in front of a log fire. When the flames had died down, a log fell on to the hearth and as he kicked it back into place, it spluttered and sparked back into life.

What does a proud computer call his son?
A microchip off the old block.

That was it. Instead of the tube of sweets being unwrapped, it would be made to pull apart so the sweet, motto and trinket fell from it with a bang!

It took two years to perfect the means of producing the effect safely and effectively and the design is still in use today. Two narrow strips of cardboard were pasted with a small, thin layer of saltpetre, a compound used in the manufacture of gunpowder, and stuck together facing each other. As the strips were pulled apart, the friction caused the saltpetre to crack and spark.

It was down to trial and error: too little saltpetre made the crack inaudible. Too much caused the whole thing to burst into flames! But manufacture was perfected and in the Christmas of 1860, Tom's crackers were launched under the brand name "Bangs of Expectation".

What is green and goes dah-dit, dah-dah, dah-dit?
A morse toad.

Interestingly, the crackers were first known as "Cosaques" because the noise they made sounded like the sound of cracking whips used by Cossacks who were infamous for their part in the Franco-Prussian wars.

Several other English manufacturers jumped on the cracker bandwagon, notably confectioners Caleys of Norwich; ice-cream maker Neilsons and Hovells of Holborn. Their products were inferior with their designs copied those of Tom Smith, forcing Smiths into litigation.

In the Smith's catalogue for 1893 a notice read: "Important notice to the trade; the names and designs of the principal Novelties in Tom Smith's Crackers are protected under the Trades Marks Acts. Persons copying or in any way infringing same are liable to legal proceedings".

What did the dolphin say to the whale when he bumped into him?
I didn't do it on porpoise.

By then Tom's company was producing almost 100 different sets of crackers which sold for prices ranging from 1/8d (about 8 pence) for a dozen plain white or coloured crackers containing just one sweet and a motto, to 42/- (£2.10p) for the deluxe set of "Cosaques for our Christmas Party". Each of the 12 crackers were decorated with fine chromolithographed picture scraps of Father Christmas and appropriate scenes, and contained in an elegant box with brass handle.

Compare those prices with today's top of the range box of crackers from Harrods which contain sterling silver gifts and retail at £290.

The golden era for crackers was the period between 1880 and 1930. Tom Smith remained the dominant manufacturer producing sets linked by common themes. They included Shakespearean crackers containing party hats and quotations from the Bard's plays; "Aesthetic Crackers" inspired by Oscar Wilde; "Stereoscopic Crackers" containing tiny kaleidoscopes and other optical toys and trinkets in a box which when empty became the stereoscope; and a vast range of others which echoed topical events that had caught popular imagination during the year in question.

What is yellow and dangerous?
Sharks in custard.

Thus, it was possible to celebrate the discovery of gold in America with "Klondyke Gold Rush" crackers; Tutankhamen's tomb in 1922 with a set of "Treasure from Luxor" crackers and there were "Crackers for Married Folk"; "Crackers for Bachelors" and an entire range of crackers supporting the armed forces.

Other sets were created for war heroes, Charlie Chaplin, the wireless, motoring, the Coronation and even the plan to dig a Channel Tunnel … in 1914. Exclusive crackers were also made for members of the Royal Family and still are to this day.

So, give as you enjoy a hearty Christmas lunch and pull a cracker, give a thought to Tom Smith and his inspired imagination. And if you find an "antique" Christmas cracker on your travels, don't pull it, preserve it for posterity!

A man walked into a bar...


Pictures show, top: A Victorian advertisement for Tom Smith and Co Ltd, manufacturers of Christmas novelties. In addition to crackers, the firm made all manner of festive bric-a-brac and was awarded a raft of gold medals as can be seen at the top of the picture Below, large image: Ho ho ho! Tom Smith enjoyed Royal patronage, as proudly proclaimed on the cover of this trade catalogue. Smaller pictures: some of the huge range of Tom Smith's Victorian and Edwardian Christmas crackers

Costume CrackersRoler Skating Carnival CrackersCracker-maker to RoyaltyBizarrely named Animated Insects & Reptile CrackersChanticler Crackers

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, 14 December 2005

What's on the menu? A charming collectable, for the price of a meal!

by Christopher Proudlove�
Espa�ol | Deutsche | Fran�ais | Italiano | Portugu�s


It's 1947, you're travelling First Class aboard the Cunard White Star flagship RMS Queen Elizabeth and dinner is served. For starters, it's oysters on the half shell, followed by clear turtle soup, turbot for the fish course and timable of ham. The roast sirloin of beef is accompanied by braised onions, fresh broccoli, globe artichokes and hollandaise sauce. Potatoes are 'boiled, roast snow and Parisienne'.

Pudding is a choice of Seville souffl�, charlotte russe or praline parfait, or one could stick with the ices - vanilla, Neapolitan or pistachio. And to finish: fresh fruit, coffee and 'Scotch Woodcock'. How do I know the menu? Simple, I have a copy of it.

Beautifully printed and decorated with an illustration on the cover - in this case, a view of the Scottish Highlands - and rescued by me from a car boot sale. Cost? A couple of pounds, if memory serves, and I snapped up seven others for similar money.

Of course, there are far more expensive ways of starting your own collection of menus. The entreaty in the Sunday papers reads 'Book your place on your dream liner'. With a Christmas cruise to the Caribbean for 10 nights starting just at short of �5,000, sadly, any menus collected on the voyage would prove to be an expensive long term investment. Today, my Forties vintage menus might be worth perhaps �10-15 apiece.

But not only is a menu a charming collectable, there is no better memento of a meal to celebrate a special occasion, a memorable holiday or an important anniversary. Printed menus from such events should not be left on the table.

They first appeared in France at the beginning of the 19th century, possibly to mark the Peace of Amiens in 1802, which ended a decade of war against Britain.

Such examples were decorated delightfully with woodcut images of fruit and game and peaceful scenes of the French countryside and they were collected avidly by tourists.

However, Napoleon Bonaparte's campaign was not far behind and peace did not last. Menus reflected the fact. During Boney's era they were illustrated with scenes from his glorious military career.

By 1815, after Napoleon's defeat at the Battle of Waterloo, the printed menu had become a social institution that the victorious British and their allies eagerly took back with them to their own countries.

In England, as elsewhere, Victorian diners glorified the menu and decorated with it flamboyant decoration, embossing and gold-edged finery.

However, the menu's golden period followed the introduction of colour lithography in about 1840.

Hotels, restaurants and gentlemen's clubs actively competed with each another to produce the most impressive menus with London's Savage Club being among the most inventive.

Theirs were tours de force embroidered on satin or trimmed with lace!

Apart from the visual joy of old menus - they look charming mounted as a group and framed in the dining room - they are also fascinating records of social history describing the mountains of exotic foods our great grandparents enjoyed at great grand dinner parties.

Most sought after are those from early air and steamship travel, while famous restaurants such as the Savoy, often commissioned popular artists of the day to illustrate them.

Like stamps, their value is negated if stuck down

Picture frames with sheets of glass front and back are a great way of displaying your collection, allowing you to enjoy the decoration on the cover without sacrificing the information inside.

Alternatively, use an album such as one for photographs, but don't be tempted to paste them down. Instead, mount them with photographic corners. Like stamps, their value is negated if they are stuck.

Menus make a charming conversation piece - specially at a dinner party of your own, which leads me on to a related collecting subject: menu holders.

Visit a restaurant these days and the menu is generally brought to you by a waiter and taken away again after you have ordered.

In Victorian and Edwardian days, the menu stood on the table, held flag-like by some simple but usually ingenious device, so that it was always at hand.

Sometimes, the holders were nothing more than a plain metal disc with either a clip or a slot in to which the menu was pushed to hold it upright.

But then there were posh restaurants where everything on the diners' tables followed a distinct design that echoed the style of the establishment and, of course, the prevailing fashion of the day.

Thus, a sober gentleman's club, all leather armchairs and oak paneling, would chose matching menu holders, usually in silver with the mutest of decoration, possibly just the club crest and motto.

Upmarket city hotels and restaurants, on the other hand, would be sure to follow current fashion. When Art Nouveau was all the rage, menu holders would be far less understated than previously.

Expect to find flowing sensual examples, all flowers and femmes fleurs with exotic tendrils and complex curves (both plants and ladies!).

The arrival of the Art Deco era put an end to all that and fashionable restaurants were obliged to adopt the geometric zig-zags and odeonesque angles the fashion demanded.

Menu holders are found in a variety of materials including porcelain, ivory, glass and several different metals, notably hotel-quality electroplated base metal.

Examples of menu holders from such establishments rarely come on to the market in anything other than singles, the value of each of which depends on the quality of design and material from which it is constructed.

A simple glass or pot holder could be yours for a fiver, a good Deco example for �80-100 or more.

If it's a set of menu holders you're after, then a country house contents sale could provide the answer.

Preference was given to silver, silver gilt or good quality silver plate and the holders would have been produced in sets - usually cased - to match the table silver (or flatware, as it is called).

Chances are, such sets would have been handed down over several generations and often they are decorated with family mottoes and crests.

These make a fascinating area of research for today's inquisitive collectors who, with a good reference library book listing such things, can often trace the development of a family and to discover exactly which branch or member ordered the menu holders and when.

Pictures show a group of menus from the Cunard White Star liner Queen Elizabeth, each dating from 1947. They cost me a fiver each


Labels: , ,

Thursday, 8 December 2005

Clarice Cliff: doyenne of ceramic designers whose work is still fresh

by Christopher Proudlove�
Espa�ol | Deutsche | Fran�ais | Italiano | Portugu�s

cliff 18

We tend not to think about it but given time, antiques collectors will look back on the first few decades of the 21st Century and marvel at how life was then, probably in much the same way that we do today about the 1920s Art Deco period. What they will be collecting is anyone's guess, and if I knew, I'd be stockpiling now.

If I was clever, I'd be trying to come up with a catchy term that best sums up the mood of the era. "Nouveau Elizabethan", perhaps, or "Deco Revival" or, God forbid, "eBayian", so-called after all the people who buy and sell "eBayiana" on the Internet.

What will be interesting, from an historical point of view, is whether or not today's collecting trends stand the test of time. Will people still be going daft about Doulton, bonkers about Beswick and crazy about Clarice Cliff?

The cynics say the price spiral cannot continue. Hard-bitten collectors have a foot in two camps: on the one hand, as supply of the best stuff continues to dwindle, they hope beyond hope that they can continue to afford to add to their respective collections. On the other hand, if prices decline, so their investments become ever less sound.

It's a brave man who makes a prediction, and I ain't. But a conversation with a local auctioneer this week added another dimension to the conundrum: the popularity of Deco antiques looks set to continue for at least as long as the fashion to make our homes unfussy, uncluttered and unique.

Adrian Byrne, of Chester fine art and antiques auctioneers Byrne's, was in the middle of cataloguing a single-owner collection of Clarice Cliff ceramics. They had been sent for sale by an owner living on the North Wales coast.

Almost 60 lots of the pottery is about to come back on to the market for the first time in years after being in the private collection of someone who spared no effort to seek out and own the best.

He said: �This is some of the best Clarice Cliff I�ve been asked to sell for as long I can remember. The collection was assembled by a local man who really did appreciate just how important a figure Clarice was in the field of 1920s ceramic design. After years of collecting, however, he has run out of space in his home to display the museum-quality pieces to their full potential, so he has decided the time is right to give other collectors the opportunity to enjoy them as much as he has."
So who was Clarice Cliff?
She was born on January 20, 1899, in Tunstall, one the five towns of Arnold Bennett's Potteries. Father was an iron moulder, and she was one of seven children who, like most youngsters in the Potteries in those days, started work as an apprentice at the age of 13 in the local pot bank, Lingard, Webster and Co.
She had shown an aptitude for drawing while at elementary school, so it was a natural progression to learn freehand painting on pottery without the aid of printed or drawn outlines to follow.
After the customary three-year apprenticeship as an enameller, she left to learn lithography with Hollinshead and Kirkham and at the same time enrolled on a study course at Tunstall School of Art. On her 17th birthday she again changed her job, joining A.J. Wilkinson and Co. as a lithographer.
Her career with Wilkinson's Royal Staffordshire Pottery at Burslem was to last a lifetime and its managing director, Colley Shorter, was later to become her husband.
Clarice�s artistic ability was first noticed by Shorter's brother-in-law, Jack Walker, who was decorating manager at the Wilkinson pot bank. By chance he saw one of her drawings of a butterfly on a piece of lustreware and from then on, she was allowed to experiment.
In 1927, she was accepted by the Royal College of of Art in London to study sculpture, but she returned to Burslem after only a few months away and set up a studio in the Newport Pottery showrooms which had been acquired by Wilkinson.
Within a few months she had added original and extravagant decoration to the firm's traditional wares which were so popular that new lines had to be hidden away for fear industrial spies would steal them and sell them to rival companies.
With a handful of girls working for her, she hand-painted 60 dozen pieces of existing stock and sent them out for market testing in 1928. Clarice called this early ware "Bizarre" and after a cautious reception from the trade, the market testing was an enormous success, selling out instantly. A year later, in 1929, the entire Newport factory was given over to producing Bizarre pottery.
Output between 1929 and 1935 was prodigious and the ware was being shown at most of the big exhibitions. For the big occasions, Clarice would take a group of her Bizarre Girls, as she called them, to bedeck the display and promote sales.
They would be dressed in smocks, large neck bows and artists' berets, accompanied by a "pantomime" horse called Bizooka, from which hung examples of the ware.
In 1940, Colley Shorter's first wife died after a long illness and he and Clarice married that same year at Staffordshire Register Office.
By 1941, however, the Bizarre shop was forced to close when output from the Newport factory was given over war work for the Ministry of Supply. After the war, a combination of diminished appeal, dearer raw materials and shortage of trained labour led to the demise of the ware.

He would say that wouldn't he. But it was another remark that made me stop and think. Adrian added: �Clarice Cliff pottery is an investment which is always going to give a good return. Its perennial appeal is based on its timelessness in terms of design and aesthetics. For a home with modern interiors or based on an Art Deco theme, it�s the perfect accompaniment."

And there you have it. Could this be the answer? And could this be the reason why Clarice Cliff will only ever get more expensive? Who knows, in 2105 all the best stuff might well be in museums.

The answer then might well be to buy now while stocks last. They're not everyone's cup of tea, of course, but Clarice's crocks were always expensive and were aimed at the Harrods market, not Woolworth�s.

But they were good fun. What makes them so appropriate today is their angular designs and bright, gay, hand-painted decoration. There's something very cool and chic about laminate floors, plate glass and chrome furniture and leather chairs. Light, neutral colours are demanded by interior designers, but it's easy to fall into the trap of characterless uniformity.

Introduce half a dozen examples of Clarice Cliff into an interior and no one could accuse you of being characterless.

Go back 30 years and the world had forgotten Clarice Cliff. Her weird, brightly coloured pottery was consigned to the top shelves of junk shops and if anyone was mad enough to want to buy it, it was theirs for a few shillings. Today, all that has changed. In these minimalist times when d�cor is pruned back to bare essentials and sleek, clean lines are de rigueur, Clarice�s so-called Bizarre pottery is totally at home.

Clarice�s gaudy Bizarre pottery was once derided by the purists. Then in 1972 the directors of Brighton Museum and Art Gallery organised the first Clarice Cliff exhibition.

Clarice provided notes for the accompanying catalogue and also donated some pieces from her own collection, but she never attended and shied away from the publicity. The exhibition wowed visitors who were intrigued to learn this doyenne of Staffordshire's Pottery Ladies was still alive. Her death the same year served only to heighten their interest

In the following year, the London gallery, L'Odeon, staged a major exhibition of Clarice Cliff which was attended by many of the Bizarre Girls. They were an intensely proud and loyal band of paintresses who were considered among the elite of their day in the Potteries.

Blockbusting London sales of her ceramics followed, the first at Christie�s in June 1983, which put Clarice�s name back on the lips of collectors worldwide, particularly among the younger generation looking to invest in antiques.

Today she is lauded as one of the most influential ceramic artists of the 20th Century.

Pictures show, top: Clarice�s crocks, left to right: a Wilkinson Meiping vase, in the Melon pattern, circa 1930-32, (Estimate �700-1,000); a Newport Meiping vase, decorated in the Whisper pattern (�1,500-2000); a Newport conical sugar sifter, in the Blue Autumn pattern, circa 1931, (�800-1,200); a Newport vase in the Sunray pattern, circa 1929-30 (�600-900)

Below, left to right:
Plate glass, chrome and black ash furniture makes the perfect backdrop for Clarice�s crocks. Left to right, top: a Newport Lotus jug, decorated with the Sliced Fruit pattern, circa 1930, (estimate �700-1,000); a Newport Meiping vase, decorated in the Whisper pattern (estimate �1,500-2,000). Middle a Newport biscuit barrel decorated in the football pattern, circa 1929-30, (�1,000-1,500); a Newport Coronet jug, in the Orange Picasso Flower pattern, circa 1930, (�500-800). Bottom: a Wilkinson vase in the Melons pattern, circa 1930-32 (�800-1,000).

Centuries collide: left, Clarice�s Newport Meiping vase, decorated in the Whisper pattern (estimate �1,500-2,000); right, a Wilkinson vase in the Melons pattern, circa 1930-32, (�800-1,000),

Prices are going up for investors with ultra modern homes. From bottom: a Newport Lotus jug, decorated with the Sliced Fruit pattern, circa 1930, (Estimate �700-1,000); a Newport Meiping vase, decorated in the Whisper pattern (�15,00-2,000); a Wilkinson vase in the Melons pattern, circa 1930-32, (�800-1,000). Furniture from Chattels The Furnishers, 42 City Road, Chester

chattels 24chattels 8chattels 3

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, 3 December 2005

Antique clocks by a Welsh family that rival the best in the world

by Christopher Proudlove�
Espa�ol | Deutsche | Fran�ais | Italiano | Portugu�s

Morris cut out

Learning to tell the time in the Morris household was not easy. It was apparently all Grandpa William's fault. He claimed it was named after him - he said it was called a grandfather clock, so he believed he was right � but he never did like the numbers painted on the dial. So one day, he took out his brush and a pot of black paint, and he replaced the digits with the letters of his name. Take a look at the picture and you can see the result: the photograph was taken at seven minutes past A o'clock!

It's a charming story. But what's equally fascinating the clock�s link to the clock-making industry that thrived in the Conwy Valley of North Wales in the 18th and 19th centuries. The family who own it have a link to someone special too. See the panel for more.

Centred on the small market town of Llanrwst, 12 miles south of Conwy, the North Wales clock-making industry established itself around the Owen family, whose production methods allowed them to become hugely prolific.

Well before mass-production was ever thought of, the Owens produced literally hundreds of clocks using components -- movements, fingers and dials -- imported from other centres, notably the clockmaking area around Prescot, St Helens and Warrington, which were assembled in cases made locally. Llanrwst already had a well-established furniture-making industry, using timber available locally.

Readers interested in learning more about the clockmakers of Llanrwst should obtain a copy of a book by the same title written by Colin and Mary Brown to whom I am grateful for the information in this week's column. The book is published by Bridge Books, Wrexham (Tel: 01978 358661) and is available in softback, price �21.

However, as can be seen from the illustrations, William Morris's clock does not bear the name of a Owen maker, rather one Moses Evans, of "Llangerniew", who is recorded in that other vital research book: Clock and Watch Makers in Wales, written by Iorwerth C. Peate and published by the National Museum of Wales (Welsh Folk Museum). Mr Peate was Keeper of the Department of Folk Culture and Industries.

In fact, the latter book lists three makers by the same name working at Llangddoged from 1780-1819; at Llangernyw and at Llanrwst, although a footnote points out that all three are "almost certainly the same person".

Evans is described by Colin and Mary Brown as the only other clockmaker of any significance to have ever established himself in or near Llanrwst, and they note that there is nothing to connect him to the Owen family.
Interestingly enough, the William Lewis Morris, whose name is painted on the dial of the Moses Evans clock face, is by marriage a distant relative of John Lennon, a fact not realised until 1995, when the link was established following family research.
Lennon�s great grandfather, John Denbry Millward was born in Llantwit Major, in South Wales, the son of the landlord of an inn which stands to this day. He subsequently moved to live in North Wales, where he met and married Mary Elizabeth Morris. She was born in Llysfaen in 1851, and her cousin William Lewis Morris, the man whose name appears on the clock, is the grandfather of the clock's present owner.
Millward later became private secretary to the Earl of Shrewsbury, whose townhouse was the famous Tudor House on Lower Bridge Street in Chester, now the well known Bear and Billet public house.
While living in Chester, Millward and his wife, Mary Elizabeth, had a daughter Annie Jane, who was Lennon�s grandmother. Millward and wife Mary Elizabeth subsequently moved to Liverpool and their daughter, Annie Jane, met and married George Ernest Stanley. They had five daughters, one of whom was John Lennon�s mother, Julia.
Despite the competition that they would have provided him, Evans appears to have produced good-quality clocks for nearly 40 years.

Moses Evans was the only child of Owen and Jane Evans, tenant farmers on the Gwydir estate in Llanddoged, near Llanrwst. He was baptised in 1744 and married Jane Jones of Llangernyw in 1779, when he was 35. He died in 1819, aged 75.

Exhaustive research by Colin and Mary Brown gives valuable evidence for dating Moses' clocks. A study of 35 examples by him spanning a period 1775 to 1819 showed no painted dials signed by him in Llanddoged. He moved to Llangernyw, his wife's home village, in about 1785, so the William Morris clock must date after then.

All Moses' clocks were eight-day duration and it is interesting to note that while he probably relied on farming for a least some of his income, he made no effort to compete with the Owen family which he could have done by making 30-hour clocks to sell cheaply to undercut them.

It would also appear that Moses used the same suppliers of mechanisms and fittings for his works and also the same joiners for his clock cases, but unlike the Owens, he is known for incorporating a clock into the centre of a dresser or cupboard

Pictures show, top:The time? It�s seven minutes after A o�clock! Mr Morris had an aversion to the numerals on the dial, so he took his paint brush and painted his name in their place. The Moses Evans clock is worth �1,000-1,500

Below: No painted dials were signed by Moses Evans in Llanddoged. He moved to Llangernyw, his wife's home village, in about 1785, so the William Morris clock must date after then

clock maker

Labels: ,