Richard Comber, Lewes, Sussex
A very fine mahogany longcase by one of the most well-regarded provincial makers of the 18th century. The exactness of his work throughout his entire working life cannot be easily overstated. It was admired during his lifetime and continues to be so by clockmakers to the present day.
We are fortunate that they were so well regarded as accordingly they have survived mostly in excellent condition, and still prove themselves to be precise timekeepers. This example with a crisp silvered dial is very much up to date with the fashion of the time. It is fitted with strike/silent in the break arch and a concentric date ring inside the minute and hour chapters. The subsidiary seconds ring is fitted with a very slim seconds hand typical of Comber’s work as is the strike/silent indicator. The concentric date hand has about half a millimetre clearance and the winding squares are similarly tight leaving no room for error. The under dial work on the clock is superbly finished and detailed. Although it was never seen by the owner, it is a testament to the work of a master clockmaker.
Comber was also a man of taste and contemporary fashion. We can only surmise that he must have been influenced by the best London work of the time. This is a discipline inherited from the influence of his master, William Kemp. Interestingly the work of the two men is virtually indistinguishable one from another. This says something about Richard Comber’s response to his apprenticeship.
Another Lewes clockmaker working nearly one hundred years later has the last word:
“I have never met with a bad or imperfect specimen. His work will endure for many generations”.