Quarter repeating ebony veneered English table clock signed for Ambrose Gardner, $55,000 (£43,700) at Hindman in Palm Beach.

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However, his name is well-known as he worked for many years as an apprentice in the household of the ‘father of English clockmaking’ Thomas Tompion.

A member of the Goldsmiths’ Company, who was perhaps hired for his skills as an engraver, Gardner was the foreman at Tompion’s workshop on Water Lane off Fleet Street. Elements of Tompion clocks stamped with the initials AG are thought to have been his work.

The only two clocks fully signed for Gardner have appeared for sale in the past decade. Both are high-status ebony veneered table clocks with ‘quarter repeating’ movements dated to c.1700. They include many ‘Tompion’ features to both the cases and movements and may have been made under his supervision. Whether Gardner branched out on his own around the turn of the 18th century is a matter of speculation.

The example offered by Bonhams in London in 2015 was signed to the backplate only. Although now missing its repeat work, the deluxe complication that meant the clock would once have chimed the hours and quarters on the pull of a cord, it sold at £20,000.

Better condition

The similar clock that appeared for sale at Hindman (26/20/15% buyer’s premium) in Palm Beach, Florida, on December 7 was in better condition with the repeating mechanism still intact.

It was fully signed for Ambrose Gardner to both the dial (above the numeral XII) and to the back plate and came for sale from the local estate of Joanna Hoffman, whose father John Hoffman had been a member of the British Antique Dealers’ Association.

The best of several clocks from this source in the sale, it sold well above its estimate of $15,000-$25,000 at a hammer price of $55,000 (£43,700).