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  Reader's letter | August 2005 | Clocks Magazine

Seeing double

Quite often one gets in for restoration a brass dial longcase and you think: ‘I had a clock with a very similarly engraved dial in once’. Many books suggest that dial engraving was a separate, specialised trade.

I thought your readers might like to see two 11in brass dials which arrived at my bench simultaneously which were, in the chapter ring and between the spandrels, engraved exactly the same.

I enclose a photograph. On the left is a dial by Joseph Windmills who by that time (c1695) was working in Mark Lane, near the Tower of London. The dial on the right is by a lesser maker, Peter Blacknell of Christopher Ally [sic]. St Christopher’s Church was off Lothbury and it, its churchyard and its alley were subsumed into the Bank of England’s courtyard when the bank was built in the early 18th century.

From Jim Neale’s book on Windmills it is clear that Joseph Windmills used a chapter ring engraver for many of his longcases, but from seeing the second Blacknell clock alongside it, it is also clear that they were obtained from an engraver working for other clockmakers.

Mark Forrester, UK

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