A fine inlaid mahogany case tall clock of Coastal Northern New England origin attributed to Lebbeus Bailey of Yarmouth, Maine.

This case exhibits northern New England proportions. The attribution to the Clockmaker Lebbeus Bailey is based on the form of the case, the distinctive painted decoration found on the dial and the construction of the movement.

This line inlaid case exhibits good wood selections. The case is constructed in mahogany and New England white pine is used as a secondary wood. The case stands on flared French feet. These transition along the base panel and form a skirt or drop apron. The base panel is nicely figured with a crotch veneered pattern. The sides of this panel are trimmed with a light line inlay. A box framing is also included in the panel layout. This framing features cutout corners. The waist section is fitted with a large rectangular waist door This is trimmed with an applied molding. Finely reeded quarter columns flank the sides of this case. They terminate in brass quarter capitals. These are visually supported by flaming birch veneers that have a vibrant grain pattern. The bonnet is fitted with a traditional New England style fretwork design and three tall reeded plinths each supporting a brass ball and spike finials. Fully turned bonnet columns ending in brass capitals flank the string inlaid door. This bonnet door is arched and fitted with glass. The lower bonnet molding slight protrudes from the plane of the upper arch molding. This molding is elevated and narrow by Boston standards.

The bonnet door opens to access the painted iron dial. This dial is painted in a distinctive hand of an unidentified local artist. Numerous dials are known that are very similar. The vast majority of which are found in Southern Maine and are associated with clocks that are constructed in the Rogers school of clockmaking. The background has an almost blueish hue in the paint. The spandrels and the decoration in the arch are distinctively designed in an almost fork art fashion. These details are very different from the dials painted in Boston and those that were imported from England. This dial displays the hours, minutes and seconds.

The movement is brass and designed to run eight days on a full wind. It is powered by two weights that descend inside the case behind the waist door. This movement is also designed to strike each hour on the hour on a bell. The bell is mounted above the movement inside the case. The plates that frame the movement have been skelatonized. This is a process that involves cutting away the extra brass from the plates. It is thought that the brass conserved in this fashion was then used in the construction of the Clockmaker’s next product. This does not compromise the movement in any way. This was a practice that was used extensively by the Clockmakers in Southeastern Massachusetts associated with John Bailey and his numerous apprentices. Lebbeus Bailey, 1763-1827, is thought to have trained with his older brother before he moved to Yarmouth, Maine in 1791.

This clock was made circa 1805. It stands 8 feet tall to the top of the center finial.

About Lebbeus Bailey of Hanover, Massachusetts and North Yarmouth, Maine

Lebbeus Bailey was born in 1763 in Hanover, Massachusetts. It is thought that he served his apprenticeship along with his older brother Calvin, born 1761 and his older brother John II born in 1751. Lebbeus is listed as a clockmaker in Hanover, MA in 1784 through 1791. In 1791, he is recorded as moving to North Yarmouth, Maine were he settled with his wife, Sarah Sylvester Myrick. Lebbeus set up a foundry and continued to make tall clocks and shelf clocks as well as every kind of metal work of which his customers had need. Lebbeus died on December 3, 1827. His house still stands in that town.

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