Alanson Gooding of New Bedford, Massachusetts. Shelf clock.

This is a very attractive example of a mahogany cased shelf clock that features a kidney shaped dial. The dial is signed by the New Bedford clockmaker Alanson Gooding.

The fine case sits up on four applied French Feet. All four feet are nicely formed and flare outwards at the bottom. A decorative skirt hangs from the base panel and ties these elements together. This is a very effective detail. The base section of this case is cross-banded along its perimeter with a and a band of striped mahogany. This frames a center panel which serves double duty as a door. The door is trimmed with a cock beaded molding. The door panel is veneered with a wonderful pattern of figured mahogany. This door is hinged on the right and provides access to the weight and pendulum. The sides of this clock are also veneered in good quality mahogany. A decorative molding transitions the case from the base to the bonnet or the upper section of the case. The bonnet is formatted with a simple molded arch. Above this, three fluted and capped finial plinths are fitted to the top of the case. The center plinth supports a brass decorative eagle form finial. The bonnet door is also veneered in mahogany. The interior opening conforms to the shape of the painted iron dial. This door is fitted with glass.

This dial is often referred to a “Kidney” form. It was paint decorated by Spencer Nolen who was a well known Boston ornamental artist. The lower section is decorated with raised gesso patterns and these are highlight with gilt paint. A colorfully painted radiant is incorperated in the design. The colors used here are green, gold and red. An area is left open in the cenetr of the design. Here the clockmaker signed his name. It reads, “A. Gooding / New Bedford.” A gilt ring frames the time ring. The hours are indicated in an Arabic form of numerals. The steel hands are simply shaped.

The movement or works are constructed in brass and are good quality. Four turned and shaped pillars support the two brass rectangular shaped plates. Hardened steel shafts support the polished steel pinions and brass gearing. The escapement is designed as a recoil format. The winding drum is turned smooth and is capable of holding eight-days worth of weight cord. The movement is weight driven and designed to run eight-days on a full wind. The movement is a timepiece. It is not designed to strike.

This clock was made circa 1815 and measures approximately 31 inches tall, 11 inches wide and 6 inches deep. It is inventory No. LL-74.

About Alanson Gooding of New Bedford, Massachusetts.

Alanson Gooding was born in Dighton, Massachusetts on March 4th, 1789. He died in New Bedford, Massachusetts on November 18, 1877. Alanson had four brothers that are listed as clockmakers. All were born to Joseph Gooding and Rebeckah Macomber. The the four clockmaking brothers are Joseph 1773-1853, Josiah 1777-1867, John 1780-1870 and Henry 1785-1875. It is thought that Alanson trained under his older brother Joseph as a clockmaker. Joseph is reported to have trained under John Bailey II of Hanover, MA. Alanson is listed as a clockmaker, watchmaker and merchant in New Bedford during the period 1810-1840. A signed tall case clock is also known.

For a more complete reference, please read Paul Foley’s outstanding book, “Willard’s Patent Time Pieces.”

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