The clock, which is numbered 222 in the Tompion inventory, is known as ‘The Q Clock’, and was delivered to the Royal Apartments at Kensington Palace along with its diminutive pair, a campaign clock made for William III. The silver-mounted, quarter-repeating miniature table clock was made for Queen Mary in 1693 and may have passed out of royal hands on Mary’s death in 1694, or on the death of William in 1702.
It is mentioned in the diary of Robert Hooke who wrote on Friday, June 16, 1693: “Called at Tompion, saw K and Q clocks.” Both K(ing) and Q(ueen) clocks, each measuring just 7in (17.5cm) high, are decorated with royal heraldry.
Head of Bonhams clock department James Stratton said: “This is an exceptional clock, and one of the finest ever to appear at auction. Thomas Tompion was among the very greatest of English clockmakers. The combination of his craftsmanship, artistry and the royal provenance made this clock unique.”
The clock was estimated at £2m-3m and sold for £1.93m including buyer’s premium.
The sale total for Bonhams’ fine clocks auction was a premium-inclusive £2.4m.