352 pages

large format 273 x 210mm

730 illustrations, including 517 in colour

hardback binding

full colour laminated dust jacket



by M. F. Tennant

In 1772 a different type of clock dial made of painted iron was announced to replace the traditional engraved brass dial, and a new industry was born that flourished for over a century. The Art of the Painted Clock Dial charts the rise of painted dials and the dialmakers who worked in Birmingham and elsewhere, with particular emphasis on the development of the various artistic styles that were in fashion at different times. Introductory chapters discuss the development of painted elements on brass dials and the themes on various types of painted dials. Subsequent chapters deal with the major Birmingham dialmakers as well as smaller concerns, together with the various factors and merchants who sold dials under their own brand name, but made by others. The different artistic styles found on dials made in the lesser centres of production, such as Manchester, Halifax and Scotland, are also considered.Throughout this book the different styles of artwork and graphics that distinguish the dials made by various manufacturers are discussed and illustrated. The birds, flowers or moon faces painted by the anonymous artists working for different dialmakers can often be identified with a particular manufactory. These dial styles, and especially the graphics, provide important evidence that often enables a clock to be dated to within a few years.This important new book brings a unique British folk art to a wide audience and it will not only be an essential reference work for horologists and collectors, but introduces the subject to those interested in the history of a form of commercial art found in many houses and cottages from the eighteenth century to the present day. Painted clock dials range from sophisticated high-quality artwork, sometimes specially commissioned, to simple naïve painting to satisfy a mass market. After a long period of being ignored by collectors, it is now appreciated that painted dials are an essential part of horological history and development.The author draws on many years of restoring, documenting and researching painted clock dials and compiling the largest library of photographs, to present the most detailed study to date. The Art of the Painted Clock Dial includes 730 illustrations, almost 520 of them in colour.



Chapter 1 The Development of Art in Horology

Chapter 2 The Origins of Painting on Clock Dials

Chapter 3 The Osborne & Wilson Partnership

Chapter 4 Ann & James Osborne

Chapter 5 James Wilson

Chapter 6 Thomas Ashwin, Francis Byrne and the Nicholas Family

Chapter 7 George Walker, William Finnemore and Thomas Hughes

Chapter 8 Samuel Wilkes and Samuel Baker

Chapter 9 Some Other Birmingham Dialmakers

Chapter 10 Later Birmingham Dials

Chapter 11 Painted Clock Dials Sold by Birmingham Factors

Chapter 12 Lancashire and Yorkshire Painted Clock Dials

Chapter 13 Dialmakers in Southern England

Chapter 14 Scottish Painted Clock Dials



The Author:

Mary Frances Tennant was born in New York City and graduated from university in Washington DC, where she specialized in British illuminated medieval manuscripts. She then studied costume design, fine art and graphics at Parsons School of Design, NYC, and later studied cartography. She now lives in North Wales and thirty-five years ago became one of the first specializwed restorers of painted clock dials. She has frequently given lectures on the subject in both Britain and the USA, and has written numerous articles for Clocks magazine, Antiquarian Horology and Horological Journal. Her first book Longcase Painted Dials was published in 1995 and the present work presents numerous examples of some of the dials that have been restored and the results of recent historical research. Since 1975 she has restored and photographed over 2,000 clock dials, but in her 82nd year she has no plans for retirement.