Hugh Gordon longcase clock

Hugh Gordon, clock-maker worked in Aberdeen, Scotland from 1748-90. He had previously worked in Edinburgh and London. Although a very proficient maker little of his work seems to have survived.

Hugh Gordon throat
Hugh Gordon tall-case clock

This is a friend’s clock and I was asked to research it. Unfortunately, I have discovered very little so far.

Hugh Gordon clock
Hugh Gordon tall-case clock

This time and strike clock is an excellent example of Scottish style and was likely made between 1760 to 1770 judging by the design of the spandrels.

Hugh Gordon face, hands and spandrels
Hugh Gordon face, hands and spandrels
Hugh Gordon bonnet and face
Hugh Gordon pagoda hood and face

It features a second hand just below the 12 o’clock position and a single date aperture just beneath the hour pipe. It is a nicely proportioned clock with a tall centre throat and pagoda-styled top bonnet; the centre engraving is a typical feature of the Scottish clocks of the latter part of the 18th century as is the box calendar opening (date aperture), side glass on either side of the hood and doped canvas top cover. These clocks are not overly tall at about 7′.

It is missing three finials; one on top and on the left and right front corners. The mounting holes were evidently covered up by a later canvas re-application. The chapter ring and dial centre would have been silvered at one time and rubbed clean by over-polishing through the years. The hour hand looks correct but the original minute hand would have had a serpentine design in keeping with the hour hand.

Hugh Gordon face and hands
Hugh Gordon face and hands

This clock has been in my friend’s family since 1850 having been brought over by ship when his ancestors immigrated to Canada. It has survived quite well and it has been well taken care of.

It is not in running order. I suggested that my friend seek a clock repair person (horologist) who is knowledgeable in the repair of antique tall-case clocks particularly with clocks of this era as special care and attention is required if parts need to be rebuilt/repaired to remain consistent with the period.

 


4 thoughts on “Hugh Gordon longcase clock

  1. Yikes! That maltese minute hand has GOT to go. This is a really beautiful pagoda-top longcase. It would really improve the look just to redo the silvering. This is actually VERY easy to do with silvering powders. You basically just wet the dial (and your fingers) with water and scrub the powder onto the brass until it silvers. Rinse, clean, dry, and then lacquer. I did a dial last week.

    I think (not 100% sure) that some had just the side finials. I’m looking through one of my reference books now, and it’s 50/50. The ones with 3 finials tend to have a little stand (column) over the top. It definitely looks rather empty without them, though. Cheap finials can be bought for as little as 20-30$ USD, but nice ones (exact copies from originals) are about 112$ USD each. I can send you links if interested.

    Sadly I don’t have “makers’ books” so all I can confirm is that you are likely close with the date. I would lean slightly closer to 1770, but it could just as well be 1760s. Pagoda top LCs were made all the way into the 1820s, but with white dials by that point.

    The spandrels are not much help. “popular between 1755-1785”. That pretty much covers most of the working life of the clockmaker in question.

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    1. Thanks JC. When I looked at the pagoda top I tried to find finial holes but could not so you might well be correct, however I have seen this style of clock with finials so yes, 50/50. It never occurred to me that the face could be re-slivered and you suggest that it is relatively simple. 1750 to 1770 seems about right.

      Ron

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