Monday, March 31, 2014

Precious Time: A Magnificent Watch by Markwick and Markham, 1750-75

Markwick and Markham
The Victoria & Albert Museum
From the Eighteenth-Century makers of luxury “clock-watches,” Markwick & Markham, we see this glorious specimen with quarter-repeating movement, verge escapement and and enamel dial. It features gilt-metal cases, with an embossed outer case, adorned with chased gold and decorated with gold piqué work on leather

Signed Markwick-Markham, London, it is is numbered 14103. James Markwick and Robert Markham created elegant clocks and watches for the Turkish market, as well as formed a partnership under their joint names to operate a London shop-front from about 1725 to 1805.

The specific term, “Clock-Watch” refers to the oversized watches which were in vogue at the time. Not only could they be carried on a person, but they could be displayed in a room on a hook (usually from a necessaire) and employed as a clock while traveling. This model, made for export, is fitted with Turkish gradations and strikes the hours and quarters on a silver bell. This beautiful watch uses three cases: a gilt-metal case which is pierced and engraved with foliage, another outer case which is similarly decorated, and an extra outer case which is pierced in openwork with Rococo scrolls and foliage and with panels of shagreen (leather of rough, un-tanned skin) decorated with piqué in gold.

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