Antiques Corner by Patrick Van de Vorst

An ebonised table clock, by Thomas Hatton, London
An ebonised table clock, by Thomas Hatton, London

THIS week we valued an ebonised table clock featuring a brass carrying handle and finials and a date dial in the arch, by Thomas Hatton, London.

Thomas Hatton is recorded as working in the Old Bailey in London for a short time, only from about 1735 to 1760, and the clock we valued looks to be from the 1740/50s period. Originality is an important factor in the value of clocks like this.

Often the movements have been modified and ‘improved’, to the detriment of the clock’s value. Our valuation is based on it being original.

The clock we valued features an ebonised finish. Ebonising means to stain or finish black in imitation of ebony.

As ebony is a very expense material to use, furniture makers ebonised some furniture to make it look and appear to be made of solid ebony.

This was already done back in the 16th and 17th centuries, but came to the fore again during the 19th century when many of the old styles were revived.

Ebony itself is a dark, heavy and very dense wood, which made it hard to carve motifs, hence cabinet markers used ebonising techniques to carve intricate decoration out of softer woods, then stain it black to blend in with the rest of the ebony.

Our specialist valued it at £3,000-£5,000.