NAWCC Chapter 135 Mount Rainier

February 2013

Conservation of Historic Clocks and Automatons by Nico (Brittany) Cox: Nico,Nico Cox - Brittany Cox a WOSTEP,  SAWTA and West Dean CollegeNico (Brittany) Cox: Nico graduate will cover her most interesting projects (a smoking automaton, a clock owned by Marie Antoinette, a five tier pagoda clock from the forbidden city, the world’s only miniature automaton ship..Automata.. and more) with photos and will talk a bit talk about an exhibition she has been putting together. It will feature musical clocks by Charles Clay with music composed by George Frederick Handel and will open in London later this year. She will be talking about the workshop she has been setting up and the objects she specializes in.

Nico, in 2010 and while a student at North Seattle Community College (NSCC), WOSTEP (Watchmakers of Switzerland Technical Education Program) training program, SAWTA (Watchmakers of Switzerland Technical Education Program)-(Swiss America Watchmaker Training Alliance) attended some of our Chapter 135 meetings. At one of our meetings  After graduating from NSCC, Nico enrolled in the prestigious Conservation of Clocks Program at West Dean College in South East England with a focus in Automatons and Mechanical Music.

As stated on their website, “The West Dean College conservation and postgraduate programmes prepare individuals for exciting opportunities in a variety of prestigious national and international institutes including museums, Royal Collections and private client work. Past students have worked in the Palace Museum, Beijing, the Handel Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, the Royal Collection, Naples, the Speelklock Museum in Utrecht and others. Students have undertaken conservation work on significant historical clocks by Edward Cockey, Breguet and Cellier. Students will be working in workshops at dedicated workbenches and be taught historic craft practice via machine and hand tools and learn treatments and condition proposals, analytical laboratory work and preventative conservation, handling and storage. You will also have the opportunity to work on musical automaton clocks and re-creations. The Programme is recognized by the BHI (British Horological Institute) and supported by the British Antique Dealers Association. Tutors, advisors and lecturers are at the top of league in the art of clockmaking, restoration and conservation and include curating and scientific instrument specialists.“

After Nico Cox had completed her studies, Matthew Reed, a program Clocks tutor said, “It was with some sadness (weep!) that postgraduate and MA students Françoise Collanges and Brittany Cox recently fled, or rather graduated from the West Dean nest. Over the summer period they completed their practical MA projects and accompanying 12,000 word theses. Both Françoise’s work in the study of early electro-magnetic clocks, and Brittany’s in the materials used inside automata that smoke (!), will both undoubtedly add value to the body of knowledge in these specialist fields. During the process, a lot of fun, blood, sweat and tears ensued. Result! We wish them both well.”

While Nico had originally planned to stay in Europe to work for a few years before returning to the US, the visa laws changed while she was there, making it extremely difficult to get a visa permitting such activity; so (for the foreseeable future) Nico has returned to the nest in Seattle and, hopefully, as member of Chapter 135. She will, however, be going back to Europe for some fixed term contract work in the near future.

Brittany Cox
The Automata Cabinet

Brittany Cox  West Dean College