Clock once owned by Tim Bobbin up for sale

Date published: 13 September 2019

The clock once owned by eccentric Lancashire painter and dialect poet ‘Tim Bobbin’ is up for sale.

Bobbin, whose real name was John Collier (1708-1786), was born at Urmston but spent his entire life in Milnrow. Well known in Rochdale as a painter of grotesque caricatures of local people and also a witty versifier, he became a national celebrity on the publication of his ‘Human Passions Delineated’ in 1773, earning him the nickname ‘The Lancashire Hogarth’.

The ‘stately’ oak longcase clock was made by George Booth, a Manchester clockmaker. It is not known when it passed out of Collier’s family but the clock’s history is documented on an early handwritten label pasted on the back of the case.


The clock’s history is documented on an early handwritten label
The clock’s history is documented on an early handwritten label


The label says, "This clock was the property of John Collier of Milnrow who died 1786 and buried in the Rochdale Parish Churchyard, he was a Lancashire poet and schoolmaster 75 years from Bolton. This is his poetry. Here Lies John and with him Mary/Cheek by jowl and never vary/No wonder that they so well agree/John wants no punch nor Mol no tea."

Its interesting history was discovered during a house clearance.

Auctioneer Nigel Kirk said: "It is fascinating to picture his clock in Bobbin’s house as he wrote the last of his many witty epitaphs – his own – ‘Jack of all trades… Left to lie i’the dark’, penned only twenty minutes before he died."

The clock is expected to sell for £1,000-1,500 at the Nottingham Auction on Thursday 19 September.

You can view the auction lot for the clock here:

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