Today is the story of two Williams–William Kent, the renowned designer and architect attributed with the Palladian Revival, and William Hogarth, an English painter whose name is synonymous with English satire in Georgian art.
We recently acquired a George II mahogany longcase clock in the manner of William Kent. The case is constructed in a rich Cuban mahogany with carved adornments, rising from a breakfront plinth, and carved with a running stiff leaf band. The leaf carved hood has a scroll dressed broken swan neck pediment, with a central carved bust of Chronos, the god of time.
The enclosed brass faced arched dial is driven by an eight day, three train quarter hour striking movement, the quarters being struck on 6 bells, and the hours on a separate bell, with figural spandrels of the Four Seasons to the angles. The silvered chapter ring has the seconds in Arabic, and the hours in Roman numerals, indicated by blued steel hands, flanked by spandrels of Mercury and Pan.
Another longcase clock with Kentian architectural case similar to ours is known to exist in a private collection. The latter example was the property of William Hogarth, Sarjeant Painter to the King. Hogarth’s Chiswick studio was adjacent to Lord Burlington’s Chiswick House, which was designed by Kent. Hogarth and Kent were certain to have met there. R.W. Symonds attributed this clock to William Hallett in his 1938 publication, English Furniture from Charles II to George II.