This rocking ship tall clock and mahogany case is excellent example of workmanship and collaboration between Edward Moulton the clockmaker and Abraham Forsskol the cabinetmaker. It was made in Saco, Maine.

Edward Moulton was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire on October 5th, 1778. He is listed in Paul Foley’s book, Willard’s Patent Time Pieces as a clockmaker and silversmith. Moulton started his career as a clockmaker in Rochester, New Hampshire in 1801. He is credited with training the prolific Rochester clockmaker James C. Cole. Sometime around 1813, Moulton sold his business to Cole and moved to Saco, Maine. There he is primarily known for making tall case clocks. Many of these are housed in cases that are thought to have been constructed by Abraham Forsskol a cabinetmaker also working in Saco. (Please see, The Magazine Antiques, May 2001, pg. 755 for an article written by Thomas Hardiman Jr.) Moulton died in Saco, Maine on August 16, 1855. Additional tall clocks, timepieces and watch papers are known.

This fine mahogany case is attributed to cabinet maker Abraham Forsskol of Saco, Maine and offers a great deal of folk appeal including the turned wood feet and the regional style fret work. Other similar examples are known. One of which is currently displayed at the Saco Maine Museum.

This example offered here stands up on four tuned feet that are excellent height. The turnings are shapely. The base features a slightly inset panel. An applied molding frames this panel. The waist section features a long rectangular door that provides access to the interior of the case. This door is trimmed with a narrow molding and a cross-banded mahogany border. The front corners of the waist are fitted with finely reeded quarter ccolumns. These terminate in brass quarter capitals. The columns are set up on plinths that are decorated with a simple applied molding in the form of long rectangles. The hood is fitted with an interesting pierce an open fret design. This is supported with three finial plinths that are reeded. Each supports a bass ball and spike finial. Finely reeded hood columns support the molded arch at the front corners of the hood. These are free standing and are mounted into brass capitals. Arched side lights and turned quartered columns decorate the side. The hood door is also arched. This is fitted with glass and opens to access the dial.

This iron dial was paint decorated by the Boston ornamental artists, Spencer Nolen. The four spandrel areas are decorated with a striking color combination. Floral patterns are positioned on a bright red background. This is set on top of a gilt field. The filed is decorated with a cross hatched design and frames with raised gesso dots. The time ring displays the hours and and quarter hour in Arabic style numerals This ring is framed on both sides with gilt rings. Inside the inner ring is a subsidiary seconds dial, calendar date display and the Maker’s signature. This clock is signed, “Edwd S. Moulton / Saco” is a script format. The hands are wonderfully form and display the time. The automated feature of a rocking ship is located in the arch of this dial. The painted ship is depicted flying a flag. This ship actually moves or rocks gently from side to side with the motion of the pendulum. The painted scene behind the sailing ship includes a large residence which is built out on a peninsula. This nautical theme is painted on a slightly convex piece of metal which adds to the visual depth to the scene.

This important clock was made circa 1815.

About Edward S. Moulton Rochester, New Hampshire and Saco, Maine.

Edward Sherbourne Moulton was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire on October 5th, 1778 the son of Joseph and Linda (Bickford) Moulton. He is listed in Paul Foley’s book, Willard’s Patent Time Pieces as a clockmaker and silversmith. Moulton started his career as a clockmaker in Rochester, New Hampshire in 1801. In 1807, He is credited with training the prolific Rochester, NH clockmaker James C. Cole. Sometime around 1813, Moulton sold his business to Cole and moved to Saco. Moulton is primarily known for making tall case clocks. Many of these are housed in cases that are thought to have been constructed by Abraham Forsskol of Saco. Additional tall case clocks, timepieces and watch papers are known. Moulton Died in Saco on August 16, 1855.

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