Miniature of the Month
William & Mary Longcase Clock by Malcolm Hall
Malcolm Hall’s William & Mary longcase clock in the foyer of Savage Manor is fully functionable. Real-size clock key for scale.
The William and Mary Period dates roughly from 1690 to 1725. Named for William of Orange and his wife Mary who became co-monarchs of England in 1689 after taking power in the Glorious Revolution, it is characterized as Baroque style with heavy Dutch, Flemish and French influence.
During this time, taste in furniture in the English court was moving away from provincial designs and incorporating aesthetics from Europe’s notable trade partners. The Dutch were considered the import/export center of Europe offering a new and interesting variety of home goods as well as other items. And even though William and Mary had fought wars against Louis XIV, it certainly did not hinder their appreciation of furnishings the French king chose for Versailles. In fact, many describe England’s William and Mary style as a direct derivative of those very designs.
The distinctive style is evident throughout Malcolm Hall’s working longcase clock which is displayed in Savage Manor by Mulvany & Rogers. Malcolm took the overall design from a photo of an antique clock, but the clock’s maker was sadly not identified. The fine-scale artisan spent many years acquiring various tropical hardwoods exhibiting the fine grains he desired for his work. For this longcase model he crafted more than 400 tiny pieces of marquetry from those woods to create intricately carved flowers and birds. He made only five of this type clock, keeping one for himself, says Malcolm, adding that all the woods are natural—no dyes or paints were used.
The former engraver by trade made every part of the William & Mary clock from the brass fittings, hands, hinges, and feet to the finials. The barley twist pillars have brass capitals and the chapter ring is brass engraved and silvered. The dial includes large cherub head spandrels with hands copied from a 17th century clock. The miniature, measuring 6.7 inches tall by 1.5 inches wide, is a beautiful example of William & Mary style offering an authentic and artistic flair to the 1/12 scale 16th century manor depicting the ancestral home of Thomas Savage, Archbishop of York.