Snelling Moon Phase Long Case Clock

Object name: Longcase clock

Object number: CHWJA:JAH399

Category: Objects

Description: A moon-phase longcase clock by John Snelling of Alton, Hampshire. Five pillar movement striking the hours on a bell. 12” dial featuring seconds, calendar & moon-phase, set off by decorative engraving. Blued steel hands. Mahogany case, typical of the area, with Pagoda, long trunk door with moulded edge & veneer, and double plinth.

Made: c. 1765.

Context: John Snelling (1725-1799) was a watch and clock maker based in Alton, a small market town just a mile from Chawton. By the 1780s he had passed his business to his son James, who was registered as a watchmaker in the Hampshire Directory for 1784, and went on to become a master craftsman.

While this particular clock has no Austen connection, it is known that the family did have at least one item from the Snellings as, on 15th May 1817, Jane’s sister-in-law (Mary Austen, second wife of James Austen) wrote in her diary: ‘I dined at Capt Austens bought a watch at Snelling.

Jane’s brother Edward also employed James Snelling to undertake clock repairs in 1807/8.

Credit: Purchased in 2017, with help from the National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Collecting Cultures scheme

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