Walnut Longcase Clock Attributed Mark Hawkins Senior Bury St. Ed

During the 17th and 18th centuries the Suffolk market town of Bury St. Edmunds was associated with the trade of fine clock and watch making. One of the most notable firms was the Hawkins family business of Mark Senior 1674 -1750, Mark Junior 1707-1767 and William 1703-1775.

 This period example of a provincially made long-case clock is constructed from solid Walnut with Walnut veneered pine-wood for the carcase and the Oak door in the trunk. Although not pictured this particular type of clock has what is often colloquially termed a Tea caddy top. This was a stepped construction placed on top of the hood and crowned with three brass finials. The clock face is inscribed with its makers name and location; Mark Hawkins St.Edmunds, Bury to due to the shrine of King Edmund being in the town. 

In 2018 Andrew was commissioned to restore an example of a Walnut Longcase Clock attributed to Mark Hawkins Snr, made circa 1737. The clock was sourced near to Bury St. Edmunds in good condition with all its original metal work, glass and internal clock mechanism; known as the movement.

Condition Report

Visible evidence of historical worm infestation to the lower part of the case had resulted in poor remedial treatment. In addition maintenance work was required such as re-gluing blocks, re-laying veneer blisters, all expected on a piece with such age;

  1. Wood worm had damaged both solid Walnut side panels that had been removed and replaced with incorrect timber.
  2. Replacement of incorrect long grain mouldings with cross- grain mouldings.
  3. Replacement of incorrectly laid cross-grain veneer-banding.
  4. Make and fit one new key
  5. Make and fit new metal hood-door bolt.
  6. Lay all loose / lifting veneer
  7. Make and fit new plinth skirting boards.
  8. Removal of modern T&G floorboard, make and fit new softwood backboard panel and joint into existing.

Once the repairs were completed all new work had to be blended in with the existing finish using a wide range of specialist techniques including acids, bleach, oil-stain, water-stain, shellac, Indian Ink to name but a few. The original early 18th Century finish would have been oil -based varnish with wax paste on top. However in the 19th Century it was fashionable to remove the oil finish and use shellac applied via a cotton waste pad; known as French Polishing.