Victorian 15" Dial Oak Striking Wall Clock by Charles Frodsham
A large Victorian 15 inch oak cased striking dial clock by Charles Frodsham.
This fantastic statement piece dial clock is comprised of an octagonal oak case with a four piece circular oak surround carrying a magnificent brass bezel. The bezel is worthy of additional note in that its sheer size and thickness points it out as a thing of quality, something you should expect from a maker such as Frodsham. It comprises of a circular front bezel and back retainer that clicks into place when closing. It differs somewhat from the norm in that the bezel is normally secured in place by means of a catch that runs through the body of the clock.
The unusually large fifteen inch dial retains its original paint and has the maker’s name “Charles Frodsham” and the “Clockmaker to the Queen” below. Another sign of quality are the brass ferrules that line the holes for winding the movement and chime thus avoiding damage to the painted dial when servicing. It is complete with beautifully crafted blue steel moon shape or Brequet type hands.
The movement is a French going barrel eight day movement signed to A Brocot & Delettrez, Paris with serial number 11866 stamped to the back plate. The double barrel movement running both the movement and the chime which is a circular wire gong type chime attached to the back of the case. The original pendulum is also stamped with the same serial number 11866.
Brocot and Delettrez were a renowned French clockmaking firm founded in 1851 and had premises at 62 Rue Charlot in Paris. Brocot’s movements drew worldwide attention for their ingenuity of design and won the firm a first class prize at the Paris World Exposition in 1857. It is likely that the publicity encouraged Charles Frodsham to strike a trade deal between the two firms as there a number of Frodsham clocks that contain movements by Brocot & Delettrez from this period. Most of these examples however, are mantel clocks so the inclusion of this French movement in a wall clock of this size is highly unusual.
Charles Frodsham (1810 – 1871) was himself one of the most highly regarded English clockmakers of the period. He was apprenticed to the chronometer maker William James Frodsham and by 1830 had himself submitted two designs to the Premium Trials at Greenwich for which he was awarded second prize. Setting himself up in business as a chronometer maker, Frodsham purchased the business of John Roger Arnold following his death in 1848 and traded as Arnold & Frodsham until 1858 whereafter he reverted to Charles Frodsham. During this period, Frodsham began to exhibit at most of the major World Expositions that occurred during the nineteenth century. Like Brocot & Delettrez, he was awarded a first class medal at the 1851 Great Exhibition and went on to become a judge and exhibitor at the Paris International Exposition of 1862. It is clear that the two companies would have come into contact with one another during this period.
Amongst his other accolades, Frodsham succeeded Vuilliamy in 1854 to become the Superintendant and Keeper of Her Majesty’s Clocks at Buckingham Palace, he was a founding member of the British Horological Institute and a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers.
Frodsham died in 1871 but the company still continues today. It was changes to Charles Frodsham & Co in 1884 and was incorporated to Charles Frodsham & Co Limited in 1893.
This clock is certain to have been manufactured between 1854 and 1871 given that it proudly states the firm’s position as “Clockmaker to the Queen”. Frodsham held the Royal position from that point until his death and would have been keen to benefit from the publicity.
This is a desirable and rare clock for so many reasons, its sheer size, the attention to detail on the face and the bezel, its prestigious makers and for the inclusion of such an unusual movement in a dial clock. It has been recently serviced by a qualified horologist.