An extremely attractive early 18th century George I period table clock of small proportions by Gamaliel Voyce, c.1725.
The proportions of the petite clock (measuring only 14 inches (36cm) with the handle up) are such that is difficult not to fall in love with it. The timepiece has a five knopped and finely finned pillar gut-fusee movement with verge escapement and a short knife-edge suspended pendulum. It has a pull quarter repeat on two vertically positioned bells indicating the hours on the larger bell followed by the quarter hours sounding a ting-tang strike on both bells. The profusely engraved backplate and verge cock apron depict symmetrical floral and scrolling leaf and vine patterns around a prominent signature cartouche: Gam Voyce London.
The break-arch brass dial has a silvered chapter ring, a circular signature plaque to the arch, date aperture right under the middle and a false pendulum aperture under the XII. The chapter ring has Roman numerals within a minute ring and an outer Arabic five-minute track. The dial centre is finely matted and the gilt-brass corner spandrels are of the crown and sceptre design, while the arch spandrels depict putti looking outwards. The time is indicated by a fine pair of pierced blued steel hands.
The ebonised fruitwood veneered oak case has an inverted bell top surmounted by a brass swinging carrying handle, well-formed and returned top moulding and door edge moulding. All sides are glazed so that the fine movement is almost entirely visible. The arched side panels are surmounted by smaller shaped windows. Both doors have fretted quadrants backed with red silk and well-formed elaborated concave mouldings.
The clock is in excellent fully restored condition and keeping good time.
The maker, Gamaliel Voyce, perhaps originally of French family origin, was born in England around 1673. Voyce became the patriarch of a large family of 18th-century clockmakers who eventually settled in Gloucestershire. However, Gamaliel himself worked in London and was apprenticed to Sarah Payne from 1687 to 1694.2 Sarah, widow of Nicholas Payne, was one of a small group of female horologists of the time. A record in the Clockmakers Company minutes notes:
“14th day of January 1694…Gamaliel Voyce, who was the Apprentice of Sarah Payne was admitted and sworne a Free clockmaker &c vide his subscription in ffol 216 of the large Parchment Book.”
Witnesses that day were notables such as William Clement, Joseph Windmills, Joseph Knibb, and Thomas Tompion. His will was proved in 1754.