18th.c. Welsh Brass Faced Longcase Clock by John Owen of Llanrwst c.1770.

Brass faced 8 day longcase clock by John Owen of Llanrwst, founder of Wales’s most celebrated family of clockmakers, c.1770. Excellent Conwy valley oak case featuring a square hood without the architectural pediments found on later Owen clocks. Moulded cornice and a fine pierced fretwork frieze backed with red silk over turned and reeded columns. Long door to the case with a shaped top repeated on the ‘slap on’ plinth panel. Flanked with reeded quarter columns and with good deep ogee mouldings. Canted corners to the plinth and shaped bracket feet. Eight day brass works striking the hours on a bell. Superb brass face with separate silvered chapter ring, seconds dial and a working date display. Dial decorated by ‘The Good Engraver’ with exotic flowers and with the original pierced brass spandrels at the corners. Unusually the dial is just named for Owen Llanrwst rather than with the Christian name of John or his more famous son Watkin.

The style of the works and face would suggest it dates from the period of John Owen. However, sold together with the clock are some typed notes from a previous overhaul of the works which note that dismantling the works revealed a hidden practice engraving on the movement which reads ‘Samuel Owe’. Samuel Owen was the elder son of the family but his name has only been found on the dials of a couple of clocks. It is believed he left the business and became a surgeon. Perhaps this clock dates from the very end of John’s career and when the future head of the business was uncertain.
Excellent condition, the works are sold with a 12 month guarantee. The case has been cleaned, restored and polished in our workshops. Winder and key supplied.

The Owen family of Llanrwst, a small but historically significant market town in the Conwy valley, are probably the most prolific and best known family of 18th century clockmakers in Wales. Watkin Owen (1755-1809) was aged just 21 when his father, the respected clockmaker John Owen, died. After establishing himself as head of the business, he improved and refined his father’s works, adding a fifth pillar to the movement and producing a remarkable number of clocks of consistently high quality and reliability housed in excellent regional cases. For more information about the Owen family you can’t beat the remarkable study of their output which makes up the bulk of Colin and Mary Brown’s book The Clockmakers of Llanrwst.


Dimensions: width 22″, depth 12″, height 76″
Year: c.1770
Price: £4495
Stock Number: 33100