Charles Morgan of Dublin, Ireland. An Irish Chippendale tall clock.
Charles Morgan is listed in Brian Loomes, Clockmakers and Watchmakers of the World. He is listed as working in Ireland’s capital city in 1760.
This tall elegant and well proportioned case is constructed in San Domingo mahogany. This would have been one of the first furniture forms to use this newly imported wood to the island from regions of the Spanish Islands and the latter Cuba. Mahogany and other goods from his Majesty's plantations were illegal to import on to that island until sometime around 1730. This case form took well advantage of that new wood which was a departure from the marquetry style cases that were previously in fashion.
This case form is traditional found in Dublin. The bonnet is built on a larger scale than the base and the waist sections. A larger bonnet is necessary to accommodate the lager dial size of 13 inches. This case stands on applied ogee bracket feet. The feet are nicely formed and feature a delicate or subtle scroll design. The base is fitted with an applied panel. This wonderfully figured panel is trimmed with a shaped molding. The corners are cut out and decorated with applied carved fans and flowers. The front corners of this base are fitted with inset quarter columns that are fluted. The long narrow waist section is fitted with a door that is shaped on both ends. The mahogany selected for this application is nicely figured and quite dense. Each of the four corners are decorated with an applied carved wooden flower. The front corners of the waist section are also fitted with inset quarter columns that are fluted. These terminate in turned wooden capitals. This quarter column detail is successful in softening lines of the waist section and accentuating the narrowness of the form.
The bonnet or hood features a swan's neck pediment. The molded arches terminate in brass rosettes. These center a carved wooden cartouche. It is worth noting that the hood moldings are well executed and that they turn upwards slightly at the outer ends. The most distinguishing Irish case feature is the convex molding positioned just below the arches. This frieze is skillfully carved with acanthus foliage centering the "Green Man" from Irish legend. Below this molding is the bonnet door which is fitted with glass. Tapered and fluted pillars that terminate in ring turned capitals are positioned at the forward corners of the hood.
The square brass dial measures approximately 13 inches across. It is interesting to note that the London standard was 12 inches at this time. Applied cherub style spandrels incorporate floral motifs in their castings. The chapter ring and subsidiary seconds dial are also applied. These two applied rings and the calendar dial have been treated with a silver wash. This silver wash treatment provides and attractive contrast with the yellow color of the brass. The hours are indicated by Roman style numerals. Arabic numerals are used in each of the five minute locations. The center of this dial is matted. The hour and minute hands are easy to view against this textured backdrop. This dial is signed on the chapter ring by the Maker, "Chas Morgan" giving his working location as "Dublin."
The movement is constructed in brass having nicely finished cast brass plates which are supported by ring turned brass posts. The gearing is also brass and the pinions are hardened steel. The movement is weight driven and designed to run eight days on a full wind. This mechanism will strike each hour on a bell that is mounted above the plates. The strike train is a rack and snail design. The winding barrels are grooved. The movement is supported by a seaboard. The pendulum features a metal rod and a brass faced lead bob.
This clock was made circa 1760 and stands just a touch over 96 inches or 8 feet one half inches tall.
Irish tall case clocks are enjoying a surge in popularity today. As a result, they have become difficult for us to find and inventory. Looking at this example, one can see the influence that the Irish immigrants had on the best forms of American furniture.
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