Made as a pair with the consecutive serial numbers 1363 and 1364 and matching veneers, both are engraved to the dials with the royal VR monogram over the signature Vulliamy London and the designation General Register Office.
Each measuring 10in (25cm) high, they have substantial rectangular four-pillar single-fusee movements with half deadbeat escapements for regulation by heavy disc bob pendulums (now missing).
The numbering dates these clocks to c.1837-38, suggesting they were supplied by Benjamin Vulliamy – the last of the celebrated dynasty of royal clockmakers which started with his grandfather, Justin – to Whitehall for use in The General Records Office around the time it was established following the passing of the Births and Deaths Registration Act 1836. The department conducted the first census for England and Wales in 1841.
Timepieces supplied by Vulliamy for use in government offices do turn up at auction from time to time although most are drop-dial wall clocks rather than portable mantel clocks.
One engraved with the banner Poor Law Commission was sold by Dreweatts in March 2018 for £6500 while another inscribed Paymaster of Exchequer Bills and the date 1842 took £8800 at Bearnes, Hampton & Littlewood in Exeter in October 2015.
Dreweatts expect the General Register Office pair, for sale on October, to bring in excess of £10,000.