Prince of Wales Feathers Desk Compendium c1880
Prince of Wales Feathers Desk Compendium c1880
Prince of Wales Desk Compendium Barometer Performance Chart
A rare, very fine ormolu and silver plated clock and barometer desk compendium raised on an onyx plinth, probably an official gift from Albert Edward, Prince of Wales c1880

Desk compendium having aneroid barometer of conventional early pattern French design with C spring tension, driven from a single 1½” capsule, the white transfer printed enamel dial calibrated in inches of mercury with a range from 25 – 31 divided to 1/20ths”, the outer part marked with standard meteorological terms, the lower stating “Aneroid Barometer,” blued steel pointer, gilt brass index with setting knob, heavy bevelled glass. All contained within a drum form case.

The clock with platform escapement and going barrel, the movement of the basic carriage clock design, stamped serial no. “1572,” the enamel dial with roman chapter ring the outer part with five minute stations, blued steel spade hands. Heavy bevelled glass.

Both instruments mounted in suspension rings, and attached to the plume of feathers emanating from a royal coronet displayed above a scroll with the Prince of Wales’ motto “Ich Dien.” All raised on a bevelled onyx plinth.

Condition: The entire compendium the subject of an extensive and detailed conservation, service and overhaul, the barometer tested and calibrated to best performance under laboratory conditions, see performance chart. Both dials appear damage free and original, the barometer movement working well, the clock completely overhauled, the platform replaced. The drum form cases with a good proportion of original finish. The major castings retaining a very high proportion of original finish. The onyx plinth with some losses to original high lustre finish, though remaining crisp and chip free. Essentially this compendium offers a high degree of originality in crisp original condition.

Comments: We have no evidence to suggest that this was a princely gift, however there is much circumstantial evidence to suggest that it was. The quality and execution of this compendium are beyond dispute, the very nature of its design is beyond doubt the Prince of Wales’ armorial crest. Additionally, had this been a production piece for general sale, we would have expected to see a number of these over time. Any manufacturer planning a new design would be most interested in potential sales – this piece in view of its exclusive nature is unlikely to have met that criteria. Interestingly, of other themed but similar pieces, the quality of this is vastly superior. It must be considered extremely rare, not unique as it is almost certain a small number of these were made. It is likely that this piece was ordered through a London jewellers, and the commission then placed with one of the best French makers of novelty and desk items. The castings are heavy and well detailed, the ormolu and silver plate of undeniable quality.

Aesthetically and with retrospective appreciation, this is a very desirable and most attractive compendium. It displays extremely well with much gravity. The colours, contrasting finishes, and textures are very pleasing, the proportions excellent.

A truly wonderful piece which most certainly is a collector’s or connoisseur’s choice.

Dimensions: 7″ wide x 9½” high x 4″ deep

Stock No: CP0998

Price: £2750