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Newsletter - January 2012


History of the Long Case Clock History of the Long Case Clock

The first lecture of the New Year was an interesting exposé of clocks and clockmaking, from the Egyptian water clock of 1350BC, through the hourglass, sundial and the first mechanical clocks made in the 12th century for monasteries and convents which had no dial, but were designed to strike the bell. Salisbury Cathedral possesses a fine example; these were made by blacksmiths working in iron, and over time clockmakers evolved from this trade to become a livery company of their own. It was Charles I who granted the charter to the company where his father, James I, would not.

We heard about the use of solar time and mean time, the work of Harrison who (after many delays) achieved the £20,000 prize money for his clocks, devised to measure accurate time at sea, from the Board of Longitude. We were advised to beware of clocks marked with the maker’s name Thomas Tompion, as the so-called ‘father of English clockmaking’ had his work copied in his lifetime by numerous fraudsters.

Galileo had made the first pendulum clock in 1657, and it was found the longer the pendulum the more accurate the clock; this in turn lead to the long case clock which was a fashionable piece of furniture in great houses until the Adam brothers made the French clock style more desirable at the end of the 18th century. Long case clocks then moved down the social scale and those with painted dials and country scenes became popular outside the great houses. A fascinating insight into a history, in this digital age, we often take for granted.


History of the Long Case ClockLake Garda and Italy

The visit to see the Renaissance cities of northern Italy was, by all accounts, quite a success and we have a selection of beautiful photographs running as a slide show on our website. Just click on this link to view them:

Thanks go to Erica Moore for supplying these pictures.


National Gallery visit

This was a great success and a fully booked coach took members and guests to the National Gallery on 12th December. Although it was busy within the exhibition there was time to see all the drawings and paintings and it was a truly stunning show of Leonardo’s work from his years in Milan. To read a report about the day please visit this page of our website:

La belle Ferronière, Leonardo da Vinci


Goodbye to our printed Newsletter

Last Christmas was the first occasion we have not produced a printed newsletter, and we are sorry we have had to discontinue this; the reason is that it is both time consuming and expensive and duplicates the work we do to keep the website up to date. Most of our members are web-connected now, so the print number was too small to be economical. We hope that members will continue to check for information on lectures, visits and other events – both for details of forthcoming events and reports afterwards – and that you enjoy our monthly newsletters.

Do you want to contact us?

We have two email addresses to contact the Society.
Most emails come to you from and that address goes to the Publicity Officer who sends all invitations, information on visits and your e.newsletter.

If you want to contact your Chairman for any other information, the address to use is and that will go straight to Liz Pierce. Other committee members are on the website under CONTACT US.

Visit to London 28th February

The coach for the visit to the David Hockney and Picasso exhibitions is now full.

Diary Dates

Touring Exhibition: Titian's 'Diana and Actaeon'
Norwich Castle: 3 March – 15 April 2012

Sainsbury Centre for Visual Art
The First Moderns: Art Nouveau, from Nature to Abstraction
4 February – 2 December 2012

National Gallery
Turner Inspired: In the Light of Claude
14 March – 5 June 2012

Titian's First Masterpiece: The Flight into Egypt
On loan from the Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg.
4 April – 2 September 2012

National Portrait Gallery
Lucian Freud Portraits
9 February – 27 May 2012

British Library
Royal Manuscripts, the Genius of Illumination
until 13 March 1012

Museum of London
Dickens and London
Celebrating the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens in the first major UK exhibition for over 40 years.
Until 10 June 2012

Royal Academy
David Hockney RA: A Bigger Picture
21 January – 9 April, 2012

British Museum
Grayson Perry: The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman
Until 19 February 2012

Landscape, heroes and folktales: German Romantic prints and drawings
Until 1 April 2012

Tate Britain
31 January – 12 August 2012

Picasso and Modern British Art
15 February – 15 July 2012

Colour and Line: Turner's Experiments
Until 30 April 2012

Until 3 June 2012

Tate Modern
Edvard Munch: The Modern Eye
28 June – 14 October 2012

Whitechapel Gallery, London
Until 4 September 2012
Government Art Collection