Born of French descent c.1662, Prevost was probably trained in London but seemingly did not join the Clockmakers’ Company and probably worked most of his life in the north-east. He was remarkably skilled.
Famously, after a contretemps in a local tavern in 1698, he challenged fellow Newcastle clockmaker Deodatus Threlkeld (1657-1733) to a wager to decide who was the better maker.
Prevost’s submission is thought to be the year-going striking longcase recently offered by dealer Carter Marsh as part of the John Taylor collection with a price tag of £95,000. Striking a bell a minimum of 56,940 between windings, it is believed to be earliest known yeargoing and striking longcase made outside London.
Threlkeld’s clock no longer survives but it must have been of great merit as the judges, Samuel Watson (Mathematician to the King) and Edward Burgiss, proclaimed him rather than Provost the winner.
Anderson & Garland’s clock was also well above the norm as under the hood was a three-train movement sounding the hours on 11 hammers and bells. The line-inlaid case, based around a pine carcass, also represented good-quality provincial work, although it will require restoration to damaged fretwork, missing locks, splits and missing veneers.
It was estimated at £2500-3500, a modest sum for a rare provincial clock of this period, and found plenty of admirers before it sold at £11,000.
Made in Scotland
Edinburgh-made clocks that predate 1700 are equally rare – but Lyon & Turnbull (25/20% buyer’s premium), based in that city, has sold two in as many sales, both by Andrew Brown or Broun (c. 1651-1712).
He was apprenticed to Humphrey Milne in 1665 and became a freeman of the Hammermen’s Incorporation a decade later. Although recorded as a highly capable maker, he apparently died penniless, with his son applying to the Incorporation for financial assistance on his father’s death.
John Smith, author of Old Scottish Clockmakers from 1453 to 1850, records only three surviving examples, although as Brown was in business for 35 years there are others out there. In September L&T sold a month-going clock with an ebony, rosewood and marquetry case for £36,000.
It received a second example, again with a month-going movement and an ebony, rosewood elm and floral marquetry case, for the November 17 sale. This achieved a similar result, selling at £35,000 (estimate £20,000-30,000).