The Georgians are Coming: Clocks and Clockmaking in Hanoverian England

April 25th 2014

  The Three Georges: Clocks and Clockmaking in Hanoverian England 1714-1820

A Selling Exhibition

Venue: Raffety Fine Antique Clocks, 79 Kensington Church Street, London W8 4BG

Press Preview: Wednesday 7th May, 12noon-3pm

Exhibition Dates: Thursday 8th May – Friday 30th May

 

While many are remembering World War I this year, 2014 is also a year to remember the glorious Hanoverians. The Royal Collection is celebrating royal art during the reigns of George I and George II. George I has been appearing in all his best court dress at Hampton Court, Kensington Palace, and Kew, while the historians Lucy Worsley and Amanda Vickery have been immersing themselves in Georgian Britain on BBC2 and BBC4. Handel is making a comeback on the radio, and the British Library recently put on a triumphant exhibition Georgians Revealed.

King George I. Founder of the Hanoverian Dynasty. Courtesy Ms Jane Holdsworth

King George I. Founder of the Hanoverian Dynasty. Courtesy Ms Jane Holdsworth

The horologists at Raffety certainly didn’t want to be left out of this year’s celebrations. After all, we are specialists in 17th and 18th century British clocks and fine antique furniture, so we live and breathe the Georgians on a daily basis in our Kensington gallery. And having worked for over 30 years just a short walk from Kensington Palace, once a favourite abode of George I and George II, we wanted to celebrate Georgian England through our specialist field.

Kensington Palace. A favourite home of George I and George II. Raffety Ltd.

Kensington Palace. A favourite home of George I and George II. Raffety Ltd.

Thus, to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the founding of the Hanoverian Dynasty, Raffety Clocks will be holding a special exhibition looking at clocks and clockmaking during the reigns of George I, George II and George III. Their reigns corresponded with an unprecedented period of economic and cultural growth in London and England, including the foundation of a global empire that stretched from North America to India.

Detail of dials on a musical bracket clock by Robert Henderson, circa 1775. The songs include two minuets and a march, which were popular in the Georgian period. Raffety Ltd.

Detail of dials on a musical bracket clock by Robert Henderson, circa 1775. The songs include two minuets and a march, which were popular in the Georgian period. Raffety Ltd.

During this era, English clockmakers were seen as among the finest craftsmen in Europe, creating superb timepieces for both a burgeoning home market as well as for export. The clocks they produced reflect changing fashion and tastes, from Chinoiserie to Neoclassicism, as well as the growing interest in science and technology during the Age of Enlightenment. 

Detail of a barometer by bates of Kettering, circa 1790. Barometers were one of the new consumer products, linked to the Georgian's interest in science, nature and the weather. Raffety Ltd

Detail of a barometer by Bates of Kettering, circa 1790. Barometers were one of the new consumer products, linked to the Georgian’s interest in science, nature and the weather. Raffety Ltd

We will have on an exceptional and interesting selection of longcase, bracket, and wall clocks on display in our Kensington gallery. Ranging in date from the early 1700s to the dawn of the Regency, they will help to tell the story of how the clock gradually became an essential feature in the Georgian home, part of a growing consumer-driven society. While Georgian period clocks are exquisite examples of craftsmanship and design, they also chart the cultural and industrial changes that transformed Georgian England.

Sea Green Lacquer Bracket Clock by John Parker of Greenwich, circa 1770. Chinoiserie was on of the fashion crazes of the Georgian age. Photo copyright Raffety Ltd.

Sea Green Lacquer Bracket Clock by John Parker of Greenwich, circa 1770. Chinoiserie was on of the fashion crazes of the Georgian age. Photo copyright Raffety Ltd.

From the English obsession with the weather and the popularity of dances and music to the growing market for exotic imports, each clock tells us a little bit about the Georgians and the age that gave birth to our modern world. Almost all the clocks on view will be available for purchase, so you take a piece of history home with you!

An illustrated publication, written by Nigel Raffety, Stephen Wild and Tara Draper-Stumm will be available on request during the exhibition, which runs from May 8th to May 30th 2014. Entrance is free. For opening times see our website.

We look forward to seeing you in Kensington in May.

Tara Draper-Stumm