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British Industrial History

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Jacob Lovelace

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Jacob Lovelace (1656-1716). Clockmaker

1656 March 15th. Born in Exeter the son of a clockmaker

Believed to have been rather reclusive, he produced after many years a remarkable clock. This was discovered and passed in to the possession of Mr Dickinson of Tiverton. It was then bought by My Burt.

1834 Concerns the Exeter Clock formerly the property of James Burt of St. David's Hill. Sold for 680 guineas. Built over 34 years by Jacob Lovelace of Exeter.[1]

Owned by Charles Brutton of Exeter,[2]

1851 "Died 28th September 1851 at Exeter, aged 62, Mr. William Frost. A self-taught watchmaker who was originally a stable boy on the mail coach establishment. He had recently repaired a complicated clock made by Jacob Lovelace at Exeter and had attended its exhibition at the Crystal Palace."[3]

It was later owned by John Stone of Exeter

The clock was eventually bought by Sir Joseph Meyer, a famed Victorian collector, who donated it to Liverpool Museum. During the bombing of that city in World War 2, it was damaged beyond all repair or restoration.

Another clock by Jacob Lovelace, of a more simple design is in the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter.[4]

Jacob Lovelace was the father of the Rev. John Lovelace of Aylesbeare


Exeter Clock Description.[5]

This beautiful specimen of mechanism is enclosed in an elegant cabinet 10ft. high, 5ft. wide, and weighing half a ton, ornamented with Oriental figures and finely executed paintings, bordered by richly-gilded, carved fretwork. The movements are:

1st. A moving panorama, descriptive of day and night—day is beautifully represented by Apollo in his car, drawn by four spirited coursers, accompanied by the twelve hours; and Diana in her car, drawn stags, attended twelve hours, represents night.

2nd. Two gilt figures in Roman costume, who turn their heads and salute with their swords as the panorama revolves, and also move in the same manner while the bells are ringing.

3rd. A perpetual almanac, showing the days of the month on a semi-circular plate, the index returning to the first day of every month on the close of each month, without alteration even for leap years; regulated only once in 130 years.

4th. A circle, the index of which shows the day the week' with its appropriate planet.

5th. A perpetual almanac, showing the days of the month weekly and the equation of time.

6th. A circle, showing the leap year, the index revolving only once in four years.

7th. A timepiece that strikes the hours and chimes the quarters, on the face which the whole of the twenty-four hours (twelve day and twelve night) are shown and regulated; within this circle the sun is seen in his course with the time of rising and setting, an horizon receding or advancing the days lengthen or shorten; and under is seen the moon, showing her different quarters, phases, age, &c.

8th. Two female figures, one on each side the dial plate, representing Fame and Terpsichore, who move in time when the organ plays.

9th. A movement regulating the clock as repeater, strike or be silent.

10th. Saturn, the God of Time, who beats movement while the organ plays.

11th. A circle on the face shows the names of ten celebrated ancient tunes played by the organ in the interior of the cabinet every four hours.

12th. A belfry with six ringers, who ring a merry peal ad libitum; the interior of this part of the cabinet is ornamented with beautiful paintings, representing some of the principal ancient buildings of the city of Exeter.

13th. Connected with the organ there is a bird organ, which plays when required."


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. Western Times - Saturday 30 August 1834
  2. Exeter and Plymouth Gazette - Saturday 04 October 1851
  3. Gentleman's Magazine November 1851
  4. Exeter and Plymouth Gazette - Monday 29 August 1921
  5. Exeter and Plymouth Gazette - Tuesday 23 April 1895