James Doull of Charlestown, Massachusetts. A cross banded mahogany case tall clock with a moon phase dial.

A fine cross banded mahogany case tall clock with painted dial signed by James Doull of Charlestown, Massachusetts.

The colorfully painted 13 inch iron dial is of local origin and was most likely painted by the Boston ornamental artists Spencer Nolen & Samuel Curtis. Similar dials have been found with this artist’s signature signed on the back of the dial. This example is signed on the front by the clockmaker, “James Doull.” The font is in a fancy script lettering that stretches across the center of the dial. His working location “CHARLESTOWN” is written in a more reserved fashion and is positioned below the calendar. In the arch of this dial one will find the automated feature of a lunar calendar or a moon phase mechanism. This is designed to track the phases of the moon or the lunar calendar which is approximately 29.5 days in length. The four spandrel areas are colorfully painted decorated. The use of bright red, yellow and gold contrast nicely with one another. Raised gesso work is also used to shape some of the patterns. The hours are indicated by large Roman numerals. The five minute markers are indicated in an Arabic format. A subsidiary seconds dial and a calendar are displayed in the traditional locations. The hands are nicely formed and filed from steel.

This cross banded mahogany case exhibits excellent proportions. The base proudly stands on applied French feet. Please note the delicate shaping or flare and the wonderful height they provide. These gracefully transition into a double drop apron. This treatment is separated from the base panel with a thin applied molding. The front panel of the base is trimmed with a narrow cross banded border. The panel is veneered with a selection of mahogany that features long sweeping vertical lines. The waist is long and is fitted with a large rectangular shaped waist door that is trimmed with an applied molding. Positioned just inside this molding is a cross banded framing. The front corners of the waist are fitted with reeded quarter columns. These terminate in brass quarter capitals. The bonnet features an open fretwork design that is incorporates three reeded finial plinths. Each of these supports a single brass ball and spiked finial. Fully turned and reeded bonnet columns support the upper bonnet molding. Tombstone shaped side lights are features on the sides of the hood. The arched bonnet door is decoratively veneered. The opening is fitted with glass.

This clock was made circa 1810 and stands approximately 8 feet tall.


About James Doull of Charlestown, Massachusetts.

James Doull was born in Scotland in 1785 and immigrated to the United States in 1806 at the age of 29. In 1807, he is listed in the Boston tax records as working with Clockmaker Aaron Willard as a journeyman. This suggests that he came to this country highly skilled and must have been trained overseas. Because he is listed for only one year in Boston, it is assumed he moved to Charlestown shortly after this date. In 1823 he moves to Pennsylvania and he took up residence in Philadelphia. He is listed there until 1856. Over the years we have owned a number of clock made by this Maker. These forms include tall case clocks, shelf clocks and wall timepieces.


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