Rare 17th Century Edinburgh Clock Found

Submitted by edg on Fri, 7 Mar '08 11.22pm

A rare 17th Century clock made in Edinburgh has been donated to National Museums Scotland by 79-year-old Lanarkshire pensioner Rita Inch - who stumbled upon the piece in a second-hand shop.

Rita Inch with rare lantern clockThe brass and steel 12-hour lantern clock is believed to be the only clock exisiting in public collections to have been made by renowned Edinburgh based clockmaker Richard Mills.

"I found the clock in the late 1960s so we have had it for a long time. We are happy to give it to the museum, it was made in Edinburgh, so it should go back home and be looked after there," said Mrs Inch.

Richard Mills is thought to be the nephew or son of Scotland's first clockmaker Humphrey Mills. There are only four clocks by Humphrey Mills known in the UK, one of which is currently on display at the National Museum of Scotland.

Dr Alison Morrison-Low, Principal Curator of History of Scientific Instruments and Photography, National Museums Scotland, said: "The Museum is delighted to be presented with such an important piece of Scotland's horological history. Lantern clocks signed by Scottish makers are extremely rare in any case but there are no other examples of clocks signed by Richard - as opposed to Humphrey - Mills so it's a fantastic find."

Records show that Richard Mills was apprenticed to ‘Umphra' Mills in 1661, presented his ‘essay' and became a clockmaker in 1678 and died around 1710.