12th Dec, 2023 10:00

Fine Interiors

  Lot 253


A mahogany regulator clock by Sir James Clark (1788-1870)

A mahogany regulator clock by Sir James Clark (1788-1870),
19th century, Scottish, the silvered dial set with Arabic numerals and two subsidiary dials, with a scratched inscription 'Made by Dr James Clark, MD.FRCS.EDIN', the glazed door fitted with fret-carved scrolling foliate decoration, above a panelled plinth base and bracket feet,
47cm wide
30cm deep
177cm high

According to records held in the National Archives, a Sir James Clark was born on 14 December 1788, in Cullen, Banffshire. He was educated at Aberdeen University where he graduated with an MA. Initially intending to pursue a career in law, he found he had a preference for medicine and went to Edinburgh to study. In 1809, he became a member of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and immediately entered the medical service of the Navy. He later returned to Edinburgh to continue his studies at the University, graduating MD in 1817.

In 1818, Clark took a patient with phthisis (pulmonary tuberculosis) to the south of France and to Switzerland, making observations on the effects of the climate upon the disease. In 1819, he settled in Rome, a resort frequented by many of the higher echelons of English society, where he built up a practice and a steadily increasing reputation over the next seven years, so much so that Prince Leopold of Belgium appointed him as his physician.

On Clark's return to England in 1826, he was admitted a Licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians and concentrated on building up his London practice. He became both famous and popular for the care he took in his prescriptions, masking the nauseous taste of the drugs for his patients. In 1834 he obtained, via recommendation by Leopold, now King of the Belgians, the appointment of physician to the Duchess of Kent. The appointment involved the medical care of Princess Victoria. Accordingly, this led to a large increase in his business and reputation. Upon Queen Victoria's accession to the throne in 1837, Clark was appointed the Queen's physician in ordinary, and was created baronet. Upon the Queen's marriage in 1840, Clark was also appointed physician to the Prince Consort, Prince Albert, who also held him in high esteem. He also served on several Royal Commissions.

Outside of his role at court, Clark was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in 1832, and he served on the Senate of the University of London, 1838-65. He also played an influential role in the establishment of the Royal College of Chemistry in 1845, and Clark also served on the General Medical Council, 1858-60. Clark finally retired in 1860, leaving his practice at Brook Street, Grosvenor Square, where he had lived since 1841, and giving up his duties as physician to the monarch. Clark was 81 when he died at Bagshot Park on 29 June 1870. He was buried at Kensal Green on 4 July 1870.

Take advantage of our Sworders Delivery Service. Please see 'Shipping estimate' below.

Sold for £1,500

Condition Report
No mercury. With winding key. Case in generally good condition, few knocks, dents and small veneer splits. Tarnish to dial. Re-polished. See additional photos.



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Auction: Fine Interiors, 12th Dec, 2023


London Viewing | Highlights

A selection of lots will be on view Wednesday 22 November - Saturday 2 December at our London Gallery, 15 Cecil Court, London WC2N 4EZ, as follows:

Monday-Friday, 11.30am - 5.30pm 

Saturday, 1pm - 5pm

Sunday - Closed


Stansted Viewing | Auction

Viewing will be held at our Stansted Auction Rooms, Cambridge Road, Stansted Mountfitchet CM24 8GE, as follows:

Friday 8 December, 10am - 5pm 

Saturday 9 December, 10am - 2pm 

Sunday 10 December, 10am - 2pm 

Monday 11 December, 10am - 5pm 

All lots are, however, extensively illustrated and carry detailed condition reports - see 'Condition report' at the foot of each lot description. 

The auction will take place at our Stansted Auction Rooms, Cambridge Road, Stansted Mountfitchet CM24 8GE. 

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Please note that this item is not suitable for a pre-sale automated shipping estimate due to the items weight/size. 

The below table shows indicative shipping costs for larger items being delivered within the UK mainland. Please note that all the below costs are purely for indicative purposes and are to be used as a guideline only. If you purchase multiple large items, we will combine deliveries to reduce the shipping costs. 

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