This ebonised clock with brass mountings and moonphase was made in The Hague by Johannes Bernardus Vrijthoff. Vrijthoff came from a family that settled in Maastricht after its conquest in 1632 by stadtholder Frederic Henry who wanted to create a strong protestant bourgeosie in this once Spanish held, catholic city. The family profited heavily from this policy and soon acquired wealth and respectability.
One branch of the family went into the cloth trade, another branch into the clockmaker’s one. Vrijthoff’s father became notary in Maastricht and later in Valkenburg. Johannes Bernardus was baptised in Maastricht on July 12th, 1724. He later moved to The Hague where as master clockmaker he several times headed the clockmakers’ guild. His own son Johannes Hermanus married an Englishwoman from Bath, a very fashionable resort at that time, and followed his father in the clockmaker’s trade. Johannes Bernardus died in 1800. In the 19th century, the Maastricht branch of the family got ennobled but both branches since died out in the male line. The clock was once part of de P.C. Spaans collection.