George Tinworth mouse group clock case, £9200 at Chilcotts.

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This was his personal take on the famous Polito’s Menagerie, the most elaborate of early 19th-century Staffordshire figure groups.

As well as a parrot on a perch and a monkey walking a tightrope a total of 20 mice are depicted, some playing instruments, others trying to sneak into the show, two playing a Three Card Trick and another pair spinning The Wheel of Fortune. The sgraffito decoration to the front and the sides includes the attractions of The Wild Beast Show: a lion, a tiger, a rhinoceros and a stork.

None of Tinworth’s ‘humoresques’ were made in large multiples (typically they were created in a mould then hand finished by Tinworth and his workshop) but the Menagerie Clock is particularly rare.


Another view of the George Tinworth mouse group clock case, £9200 at Chilcotts.

The example that appeared for sale at Chilcotts (21% buyer’s premium) of Honiton on January 21 had been bought by the vendor from LAPADA dealership Sylvia Powell Decorative Arts in 2003. Offered for sale with an accessible guide of £6000-8000, it took £9200.

Like other Tinworth groups, the clock is known in a number of different colour treatments.

The green-brown colour of this Devon clock contrasted with the predominately blue-grey colours to another version sold by Whitley’s Auction in Dania Beach, Florida, in July 2018 for $16,500 (£12,700) plus 25% buyer’s premium.