Alexander Black of Kirkcaldy, Scotland. Automated dial in the form of a rocking swan.

This is a fine mahogany long case clock with painted dial signed “Alex. Black, Kirkcaldy.” Alexander Black is listed in Brain Loomes new book, “Watchmakers & Clockmakers of the World.” Loomes lists Black as working circa 1860. This clock is of Scottish origin. Kirkcaldy is a town located on the Fife on Firth of Forth. This is due North across the bay from the capital city of Edinburgh.

This mahogany case clock is a very manageable size and exhibits good proportions and outstanding mahogany wood selections. The case features richly grained mahogany throughout it’s construction. The finish is wonderful and accentuates the grain patterns. The case stands on four cut out bracket feet. The base features a cross banded border that forms a frame and centers a crotch veneered panel. The waist section is fitted with a slightly shaped waist door. The sides of the waist are fitted with turned ½ columns that terminate in capitals. These columns are smoothly turned. The bonnet features a swan’s neck pediment that terminates in brass rosettes. This center a single brass finial that is mounted on a plinth. The bonnet columns are also turned and nicely shaped. This is a nice detail. The bonnet door is fitted with glass.

The time and strike movement is brass, eight-day duration and of excellent quality. This movement will strike the hour on a cast iron bell.

The painted iron dial is signed by the Clockmaker. It is fully decorated and features views of a swan in each of the four spandrel areas. The arch is decorated with a pastoral scene. This is an automated dial. Dials such as this are thought to have been purchased on special order at most certainly at additional cost. The automated feature of a rocking swan. When the clock is running, the swan actually moves or rocks gently from side to side with the motion of the pendulum. The painted scene behind the bird is painted on iron. This iron plate is set back to allow room for the ship to move and this adds to the visual depth to the scene. This painted scene includes a large residence which sits a top a rocky faced peninsula. In the background is a mountain range.

This clock stands approximately 7 feet 1 inches tall. It was made circa 1855.

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