Peter Clare

Joseph Allen, 1770 - 1839

Peter Clare

Joseph Allen 1770 - 1839


This is a three-quarter, right side profile portrait of Peter Clare (1781-1851), son of Peter Clare the clockmaker, and himself the maker of the Town Hall Clock which is now at The Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester. He was a very close friend of John Dalton, Vice-President of the Literary and Philosopical Society, active opponent of slavery and member of the Society of Friends in whose ground in Mount Street he was buried. He has dark hair and sideburns and is wearing a dark jacket with a white cravat, portrayed against a dark background. He looks to the right of the picture, holding a leyden jar, a conductor of electricity used in early experiments, in his left hand.

Display Label

Peter Clare early 19th century Joseph Allen 1770-1839 Oil on canvas Peter Clare (1781–1851) was a Manchester clockmaker and a member of scientific circles in Manchester. The object that Clare holds alludes to this; it is a Leyden jar, a conductor of electricity, used by scientists in early experiments. Clare was making clocks in Manchester at a time of rapid industrialisation. Working life became regulated by the clock: 'every minute counts' and 'time is money'. His most famous creation was the Town Hall Clock (currently at the Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester). From 1849 it told official Manchester time, at first calculated astronomically and later by an hourly telegram from the Royal Observatory. Greenwich Mean Time was not adopted as the national standard time until 1880. Purchased 1927.41

Object Name

Peter Clare

Creators Name

Joseph Allen


unframed: 76.7cm x 64.6cm
framed: 97.2cm x 86cm

accession number


Place of creation





oil paint

On Display

[G5] Manchester Art Gallery - Gallery 5
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