An unsigned True Lyre Wall Timepiece. An Elegant Harp Pattern. VV49.

Current research suggests that the firm of Sawin & Dyer in Boston, Massachusetts introduced the lyre clock form sometime around 1825. Two versions were made. These are called the True Lyre and the Box Lyre. Both of these forms incorporated a mahogany throat frame in the form of a musical harp. Many of these feature carvings in the form of layered leaves that make up the lower section of the frame.This is visually supported on a box or a base.

This example is called a True Lyre because it lacks the box at the bottom of the case. This case measures approximately 39 inches in length overall. This include the two finials. It is approximately 11.25 inches wide across the middle section and 5 inches deep. The painted iron dial measures approximately 7.75 inches in diameter. This clock was made circa 1827.

This is a fine example. The case is constructed in mahogany, mahogany veneers and white pine. The mahogany veneers used feature excellent graining. The throat panel is veneered with a crotch pattern that is outstanding. This selection of wood is positioned in such a manner that it radiates up and out from the lower section of the panel. This provides visual lift and is a wonderful effect. The finish has been rubbed out. It is clean and consistent. This example is fitted with an acorn style finial that hangs from hangs the bottom bracket. This bracket is a traditional form and builds up to the large rounded pillow molding the forms the base. Additional moldings are used to step the case lines back into the form. This lower section supports the lyre shaped panel. The panel frame is wonderfully decorated with skillfully executed carvings. These frame the veneered center panel. This section is easily removable in order to access to the clock’s weight and pendulum. The upper section of the frame is molded or shaped to visually support the clock’s brass bezel. Above this is wooden plinth and a turned mahogany finial. The dial bezel is cast in brass and is fitted with glass. This protects the dial and hands. The bezel is hinged providing access to the painted iron dial. This dial is not signed. The time ring is formatted with Roman style hour numerals. The hands are steel and are wonderfully filed. These are excellent examples.

The movement is constructed in brass. It is weight driven and is designed to run eight days on a full wind. The two brass plates are supported by four posts. Each is located at one of the four corners. The movement is mounted to the case from the back with two screws. Hardened steel shafts support the brass gearing. Please note that their are a number of extra holes that can be seen in the front plate. These holes suggests that this clock may have been fitted with an alarm at one time. This additional mechanism has been removed. The pendulum hangs from a bridge and swings in front of the movement. The pendulum is decoratively constructed and reaffirms the lyre form.

For a more detailed discussion regarding wall timepieces, please read, Paul Foley’s book, Willard’s Patent Timepieces.


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