Old & New

I was recently offered the post of finishing the work I began on the 1765 George Pyke clock at Temple Newsam House I mentioned in a previous blog entry. You can read about it here.

George Pyke clock, automata, automaton, clockmaking, watchmaking, brittany cox, nico cox, temple Newsam House, Ian fraser

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Unfortunately this old path is not the future path. It was extremely difficult to set aside my feelings of attachment to this project and the desire to finish what I started. As previously mentioned, three years of prep work, grant applications, research, and multiple visits to assess the condition went into putting the proposal together that I presented to West Dean. I owe so much to Ian Fraser, the head Conservator at Temple Newsam, for all of his hard work and support on this project.

George Pyke clock, automata, automaton, clockmaking, watchmaking, brittany cox, nico cox, temple Newsam House, Ian fraser

Dial

The reason my path has changed course is the following: I have been offered the opportunity of handling the estate of the late horologist Dennis E. Harmon. A friend of George Daniels, and a man who did everything in the old way, making his own pigments from scratch for his enameling work and grinding raw diamonds down for polishing powders. His workshop is painted with the original green paint from the (long closed) Bulova watchmaking factory. This man was one of the Greats and is missed by many. He is the best friend, tutor, and all around most amazing person I never met.

Dennis E. Harmon

Dennis E. Harmon

From what I understand, Dennis and his brother were a force to be reckoned with – traveling to auctions far and wide, buying up anything and everything horological. If the Harmon Brothers showed, you were out of luck.

His workshop includes, but is not limited to the following:

A Rose Engine

A Straight-Line Engine

Schaublin 70 + all accessories

Schaublin 102 + all accessories

Schaublin 120 + all accessories

Pantographs

Profile Projectors

Watchmakers lathes + accessories

Scientific Instruments

And everything else you might ever wish for you in your most decadent horological dreams

Here are some photos:

IMG_3208 IMG_3174 IMG_3195 IMG_3185 IMG_3231 IMG_3246

 
In addition there are old wooden tool chests filled to the brim, bulls eye crystals, industrial benches + light fixtures + cabinets, books, and more.
 
 
I have been hired to catalogue and sell off the shop. Stay tuned for updates and a catalogue that will be uploaded on an additional page with price lists and items for sale. There will be a series of onsite sales later this year. Get in touch if you’re interested, but more information will be coming soon. I will be relocating temporarily to the East Coast to handle the estate. I aim to return to Seattle by the summer with many wonderful additions to my workshop.
 
Today is day 1 on the job. Hello New York; it’s nice to see you again.

George Pyke’s Musical Clock

I had the privilege of working with Conservator Ian Fraser at Temple Newsam House in Leeds, England. Together, we worked for two years on the prospect of making conservation works to an important piece in the collection possible.

Temple Newsam House

Temple Newsam House

The house holds this treasure in its stairwell. A musical clock made in 1765. The clock stands in excess of 6 feet tall on its pedestal.

Circa 1765, signed George Pyke

Circa 1765, signed George Pyke

 

The organ and clockwork

The organ and clockwork (left)

The organ and clockwork

The organ and clockwork (right)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The clock consists of two main components: Its case, which houses the clock, automata and dial, and barrel organ, is accented with ormolu rosettes baring peninsular corners and banded by looking glass while supported by pairs of ormolu feet. Four brass columns corner the case and are spirally banded by a cascading floral trail. At the top of each stands an urn finial. Matching and elaborately pierced chased gilt bronze panels of floral sprays, musical instruments, female masks, and flaming urns fill the arched side doors, lined with green cloth. The hood is surmounted by a cast figure of Mercury. Two arched doors that are bolted by lock and key enclose the organ mechanism and clock.

Dial

Dial

The petite white enamelled dial is set in the midst of a vibrant village scene, alive with music and dancing figures. Whilst above the dance, the village continues with routine. A dog chases a duck through a pond, people make their way across a distant bridge, and boats bustle through rolling waves in the outlying sea. The seven muses in gilded bronze can be found lounging beneath the dial while Diana and Apollo stand erect upon pedestals flanked by urns. The clock strikes the hours and the organ plays eight tunes. Its high hollow pedestal that the clock and case rest upon, which allows space for the descent of the massive hundred pound weight needed to drive the automata, program barrel, and provide wind to the pipe organ. It is veneered in ebony with brass banding. Gilt bronze lion’s masks watch from the top four pedestal corners while satirical masks look out from below and pierced foliated strap work plaques parallel each. The four sides of the pedestal are bestowed with a gilt framed mirror.

It is a marvel to behold and enchants any audience with its performance.

Working on the dial

Assessing the dial

I ventured to Temple Newsam on several occasions to assess the clock and its condition. After putting together a proposal for its conservation we applied for grants, hoping to achieve funding for the project. Currently Temple Newsam possesses half of the necessary amount required to carry out the conservation works, though proposals are still in progress. Should the money be obtained, it is likely I will be heading back to England to work on this exceptional object.

Here’s to hoping the three of us will soon be reunited!

Final touches before replacing the hood

Final touches before replacing the hood