A Connecticut River Valley cherry case tall clock. Walpole, New Hampshire. (Isaiah Eaton?). 216056.

216056 A Connecticut River Valley cherry case tall clock. Walpole, New Hampshire. (Isaiah Eaton?)

This late 18th-century tall case clock features a cherry-constructed case. This case is distinctive in that it features a very unusual foot design, incorporating five individual feet. This base is known to us on three other examples. All four clocks seem to have originated in the Walpole area of New Hampshire. One example is currently in the collection at Historic-Deerfield. It is on display upstairs in the Flynt Center of Early New England Life. That clock also features a cherry case and an engraved silvered dial signed by the Walpole, New Hampshire clockmaker Isiah Eaton. A second example is signed on the engraved silvered brass dial by the Charlestown, New Hampshire clockmaker Stephen Hasham. We recently sold the third clock known to us. It is the most similar in that the cases were made by the same hand, and the iron dials appear to have been painted by the same person. Even the movement construction suggests that they came from the same workshop. Unfortunately, neither one of these painted dial examples is signed by the clockmaker. Interestingly, these two clocks both have Walpole histories of ownership.

This very nicely proportioned cherry case retains a historic surface. The cherry is dark, and the finish is dry. This cabinet is elevated off the floor on a very unusual platform. This consists of a double-step molding that is applied to the lower section of the base. This molding transitions into or forms five separate ogee bracket feet. The fifth foot is located in the center between the front two feet. All five feet are not applied to the molding. They are scrolled out from the same piece of wood. The fact that the moldings and the feet are cut from the same piece of wood is very unusual, and the additional foot is a very unusual presentation. All five feet are original to this clock and are boldly shaped. The base panel features a figured cherry board that is formatted in a horizontal orientation. A scalloped molding hangs from below the lower waist molding. This decorative detail is often found on clocks made in the port city of Norwich, Connecticut, north up through Worcester, Massachusetts, and into the Connecticut River Valley region as Windsor, Vermont. The waist is section long and centers a large tombstone-shaped waist door. This door is trimmed with an applied molding. A fan is carved into the centered of the door. This fan features a total of 20 radiants. This door provides access to the base-faced pendulum bob and the two drive weights. Boldly fluted quarter columns are mounted in the front corners of the waist. These terminate in turned wooden quarter capitals. The hood is designed with a molded cornice. A New England-style fretwork pattern is positioned above the arched molding. This fret is supported by three finial plinths. Each plinth supports a brass ball and spike finial. The hood columns are turned smooth and mounted in brass capitals. These flank the arch-formed hood door. This door is fitted with glass. Additional columns are located at the back of the hood. This hood is also fitted with large tombstone-shaped sidelights.

The painted dial is of local origin. It is iron and made from multiple pieces that were seemed together and cut into this traditional shape. This suggests that it was not made by a professional dial maker. This is also true of the artwork. The artist’s hand is looser and less refined than the artwork found being done in Boston, MA, and also in the city of Birmingham, England, at this time. This dial has a folk art quality to it. The spandrel decorations include colorful florals as a primary theme. This theme is also used in the lunette of the dial and helps center the portrait of an unidentified gentleman. He is depicted as being very well-dressed and is holding a flag in his hand. I would speculate that he may have been a local resident familiar to the artist, or he may be the original owner of the clock. The time is displayed in a traditional format. The hours are depicted in Roman-style hour numerals. Each of the five-minute markers is depicted in an Arabic form. A subsidiary seconds dial and calendar dial are located inside the time ring. Nicely shaped steel hands will indicate the time.

This movement is constructed in brass and is of good quality. The large brass plates are supported by four turned posts. The plates have a rounded cutout at the bottom. This was often done to conserve brass. The front plate is fitted with an unusual mounting point for the calendar gearing. It is shaped in a “V” and is mounted to the front plate. This arrangement interacts with the display on the dial once every 24 hours. Hardened steel shafts support the polished steel pinions and brass gearing. The winding drums are grooved. The escapement is a recoil format. The movement is weight-driven and designed to run 8-days once fully wound. It is a two-train or a time and strike design having a rack and snail striking system. As a result, it will strike each hour on a cast iron bell mounted on a post above the movement.

This case has the following dimensions: 92.5 inches tall to the top of the center finial. It is 20.5 inches wide and 10.5 inches deep at the upper bonnet molding. It was made circa 1810.



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