An extremely rare Victorian gilt-brass ‘Bon-bon dish’ clock, made by Thomas Cole (the great Victorian watchmaker 1820-1864), individually numbered №1630, circa 1860s, signed for one of Thomas Cole’s main retailers: “Hunt & Roskell, London”. The bon-bon dish or cake basket is one of Thomas Cole’s rarest designs, illustrates an item 51 on pages 138/139 in ‘Thomas Cole and Victorian Clockmaking’ by J.B. Hawkins for a similar but larger example described as a cake basket.
Only very few small “bon-bon dish” clocks were made by Thomas Cole, two of them №150 and №783 were sold on Christies in 1999 and Bonhams in 2017 for around $10000 and $12500 accordingly .
Case: in the form of a bon-bon dish with foliate engraved border and shaped folding handle raised on shallow tripod base, base numbered №1630. Dial: The 3 inch finely engraved silvered concave dial with Roman numerals and blued steel fleur de lys hands, signed “Hunt & Roskell, London”. Movement: 3/4 plate movement, frosted, gilt, keywind, cylinder escapement, ring balance, fine florally engraved balance cock.
Thomas Cole, famous Victorian watchmaker, described himself as a ‘designer and maker of ornamental clocks’ – as Hawkins wrote, “They are completely original in their design and format and owe their inspiration to Cole alone. The metalwork of their cases, engraving and attention to detail set a standard rarely exceeded“. Cole constructed over 1600 clocks, each one slightly different from the next and the designs were very original and exciting. Thomas Cole numbered his clocks in sequence, apparently starting at 500 around 1846 and by the time he died in 1864 the number was no higher than 1900. Further details can be found in ‘Thomas Cole & Victorian Clockmaking’ by J. B. Hawkins.
Hunt & Roskell were founded by the world-renowned silversmith Paul Storr who was joined by John Mortimer in 1822, to become Storr & Mortimer, selling watches, clocks, jewellery and silver wares. They exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1851, held in the Crystal Palace within Hyde Park, where it is known they had a fair number of Thomas Cole clocks, suggesting they were very much not only main retailers of his clocks, but also championing Cole timepieces.
Clock is in overall great condition, running and ready to use or gift!