Asa Sibley. Clockmaker and Silver Smith. Working in the towns of Woodstock, Connecticut, Sutton, Massachusetts and Walpole, New Hampshire. A pine case tall clock.

This engraved brass dial exhibits a high level of skill and fine workmanship. The style of the engravings differs from those that were being produce in Windsor, Connecticut at the time. The Maker’s name is displayed in the arch of the dial. It is positioned in the center of a circle that is nicely decorated. The upper spandrels are interesting. They are decorated with brickwork pattern. We have seen this unusual pattern on one other clock that was made in Woodstock by Perigine White. The two lower spandrel areas are engraved with a more traditional motif. The design resembles a shell or maybe a fan of wheat? The time ring is formatted with Roman numeral hour markers and Arabic style five minute markers. It is interesting that the used of an actual ring or line is absent. The subsidiary seconds dial is positioned below the hour numeral XII. This is formatted with a closed second ring, lacking numerical points of reference. The center of this area is engraved with a compass. The date of the month aperture is positioned above the hour numeral VI. Below this is an engraved fleur-dis-lis. The hands are an interesting form. They point out the correct time.

The movement is brass and designed to run eight-days on a full wind. The plates are supported by four turned pillars or posts. This clock is designed to strike the hour on a large cast iron bell that is mounted above the movement on a stand. The winding drums are grooved in order to accept the weight cord in an orderly fashion. The strike train is a rack and snail design. This movement is good quality.

This case is constructed in New England white pine. The use of pine is interesting an interesting choice. This may suggest that Sibley sold this clock, the dial, movement pendulum and weights to someone who may have had their own local case maker build the case for them. The form is good and it is nicely proportioned. The case stands just over 7 feet tall. This example stands up off the floor on four applied bracket feet. These are applied to the bottom of a simple stepped base molding. The grain in the base panel is positioned in a horizontally. The waist section is long and narrow. It is fitted with a tombstone shaped waist door which provides access into the interior of the case. Open this door and one will find the two drive weights and pendulum. This door is also trimmed with a simple molded edge. The features a swan’s neck pediment form. The horns center a plinth that was never fitted with a finial. The bonnet door is an arched form and is fitted with glass. Fully turned and slightly shaped bonnet columns are secured at the corners of the hood. Windows or tombstones shaped sidelights are incorporated into the sides of this bonnet.

This clock stands approximately 7 feet .75 inches tall to the top of the horns. It is 19.75 inches wide and 10.75 inches deep at the upper bonnet molding. It was made circa 1790.

About Asa Sibley of Sutton, Massachusetts, Woodstock, Connecticut, Walpole, New Hampshire and Rochester, New York.

Asa Sibley, Clockmaker and Silversmith was born in Sutton, Massachusetts on March 29,1764 and died on Feb 29, 1829. His parents were Col. Timothy Sibley and Anne Waite. Together, they had 15 children. Asa is thought to have trained with his older brother Timothy Jr who was born in 1754. Timothy Jr., is thought to have trained in the art of clockmaking with the Willards in Grafton. Asa had a second brother that was also in the trade. His name was Stephen who was born in 1757. He worked for a time in Norwich, CT and in 1782 moved to Great Barrington, MA. Asa moved to Woodstock, CT around 1785 and associated himself with Peregrine White (1747-1834) who also worked as a silversmith and as a clockmaker in that town. He was active from 1774 to 1810. Asa married Irene Carpenter in 1787 (b. 31 Jul 1766 Woodstock, CT. Died 5 Oct 1846 in Rochester, NY). She was the daughter of the Norwich, Connecticut clockmaker Joseph Carpenter. Asa then returned to Sutton from Woodstock for several years. After 1797, he moved his family to Walpole, New Hampshire following the Windham clockmaker Gurdon Huntington. The two must have been well acquainted because Sibley administered Huntington’s will in 1804. Active in town politics, he served as a selectman and town moderator between 1802 and 1807. In 1808, they moved again to Rochester, New York where he died in 1829.

Currently, there are two clocks that can be publicly viewed. One is in the Sturbridge Village Collection. This clock is in an inlaid cherry case. The engraved brass dial is signed with the place location of Walpole, NH. A second cherry cased example is in the Mount Holyoke College of Art collection. This clock is also signed with the place location of Walpole (NH).


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