13 November 2013

Mr. Pitt's watch at The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

I received confirmation from The Fitzwilliam Museum that William Pitt’s watch is still there. Unfortunately, an image of it is not currently on the museum’s website as they’re in the process of photographing and cataloguing all the watches in the collection. The images of the watch shown below are the ones I commissioned the museum to photograph for me. I have been granted permission to reproduce them here:

Fig. 1: The front of Pitt's gold fob watch

Fig 2: The back of Pitt's watch. It has the stork and anchor from his crest, and is inscribed 1782

Fig. 3: Two views of Pitt's fob watch

Here’s some info about the watch:

The watch was given to the museum by the Rt. Hon. R.A. Christopher on 16th November 1852. It’s an English watch, made by John Holmes in 1782. In the object folder for this watch there is a letter from a C.H. Watson, concerning an article he wrote on ‘John Holmes - time for a further look,’ which was published in ‘Antiquarian Horology.’ Watson states that the article has photographs of the watch on pg. 653. Unhelpfully, he doesn’t give a volume or a date, but the original letter is dated January 2004. It's a gold fob watch with a gold case. On the back of the watch there is an image of a stork holding an anchor from Pitt's family crest. On the back of the watchcase there is the same image of the bird holding the anchor, and underneath it is written ‘William Pitt 1782.’ This source information comes from the senior technician of the Department of Applied Arts at the Fitzwilliam Museum.

Pitt kept the watch until his death, when it passed to his servant (his valet is a likely candidate), who handed it to Mr. Dundas, M.P. more than twenty years later. That watch, a mourning ring, and a box containing Pitt’s hair were bequeathed to the Rt. Hon. R.N. Hamilton. (Source: Timbs, J. (1864) ‘A century of anecdote from 1760-1860, Vol. 1,’ pp. 182-183.) It must have passed from there to the Rt. Hon. R.A. Christopher, and then finally to The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.

Image Credits:

All three images are reproduced by the kind permission of The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. Accession No.: M.1&A-1852.

No comments:

Post a Comment