COLUMBIA, PA: Join us for Majestic Time, a once-in-a-lifetime exhibit of the largest collection ever assembled of Thomas Tompion’s clocks, watches, and sundials, just in time to commemorate the 300th anniversary of his death (1639-1713). Tompion made precision clocks for the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, ornate clocks and repeating pocket watches for seventeenth-century aristocrats, and tower clocks.
Thomas Tompion is known as the founder of English clockmaking; every timepiece he signed shouts quality. Though little is known about the clockmaker’s personal history, Tompion first traveled to London at age 32 in 1671, where he would eventually become a highly successful watch and clockmaker, making 700 clocks and ten times as many watches. Although a much smaller percentage of his watches have endured, many examples of his magnificent clocks have survived. Tompion also produced precision sundials to ensure that customers who commissioned one of his clocks could always set the clock accurately according to correct solar time.
In 1671 Tompion joined the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers as a “Great Clockmaker.” In 1674 he bought his full freedom and began enrolling apprentices of his own, becoming a master in 1703. In 1713 Tompion was the first clockmaker granted the honor of burial in London’s Westminster Abbey.
Majestic Time, at the National Watch and Clock Museum, is a truly unparalleled collection: never before have so many Tompion creations been on public display in one place—a singular occurrence that may never be repeated again in North America.
The collection’s owner, an eminent British gentleman and avid collector, was determined that the 300th anniversary of Tompion’s death merited a special exhibition. After considering several European options, he decided to bring his collection overseas for a brief appearance at the 2013 NAWCC “Time For Everyone” Ward Francillon Time Symposium in Pasadena, CA. That exhibition has now been transplanted to the National Watch & Clock Museum in Columbia, PA, for a limited two-month engagement.
“I felt strongly that this collection be seen not only by those who attended the Symposium, but while in America be accessible to everyone. What better place, more fitting could there be for this special exhibition than the National Watch and Clock Museum!” shared the collection’s owner.
“The National Watch & Clock Museum is honored to be able to host a collection of this significance. Thomas Tompion was one of, if not the, foremost clockmakers of his era and to be able to display so many examples of his work at one time is a truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” stated Museum Director Noel Poirier.
Majestic Time will be on display for a limited time, from November 22 through January 19, 2014.
(All images copyright © 2013 Majestic Time)