Joseph Gooding of Dighton, Massachusetts. Tall case clock.  212008

This superb inlaid mahogany case retains a wonderful finish that is most likely original to the clock. It has taken a warm mellow patina that glows in a sun lit room. The case form exhibits first rate proportions that is often associated with the Roxbury school of case making. This example stands on nicely shaped applied ogee bracket feet. They are applied to a double stepped molding. The base panel is line inlaid with a satin wood string inlay. Seven petal quarter fans alternating light and dark wood are positioned in each corner. The waist is long and narrow. It features a tombstone shaped waist door that is also line inlaid. Fitted into the front corners of the case are brass stop fluted quarter columns which terminate at both ends in brass quarter capitals. The bonnet features a New England style fretwork which is surmounted with three ball and spike finials. The bonnet columns are also brass stop fluted and flank the string inlaid bonnet door. It is arched glazed, opening to a nicely painted moonphase dial. This dial is signed, “J. Gooding, Dighton, No. 9.” It appears to have been exposed to some heat. There is evidence of light blistering which is now stable. This clock is a survivor. Each of the four spandrel areas are decorated with colorful florals. The time and strike movement is of good quality and is designed to run for an eight-day duration. This clock was made circa 1810. The case stands 7 feet 8 inches tall to the top of the center finial. It is inventory number 212008.

About Joseph Gooding of Dighton and Fall River, Massachusetts.

Joseph Gooding was born on March 6, 1773 in Dighton, Massachusetts and died in the same town on November 11, 1853. His parents were Joseph Gooding (1729-1815) and Rebecca (Macomber) Gooding. At the age of 16, he traveled to Hanover, MA and trained as an apprentice under the Quaker Clockmaker, John Bailey II. By 1793, he was at work on his own in town of Dighton. Here he worked as a silversmith, jeweler and clock and watchmaker. He had three younger brothers whom he most likely trained as clockmakers. Josiah (b.1777 — d. 1867) was the most prolific of the four. He set up a shop in Bristol, Rhode Island. Alanson (b. 1789 – d. 1887) worked in New Bedford, MA. Henry (b. 1785 — d. 1875) worked in Duxbury, MA. John (b. 1780 — d. 1870) worked in Wrentham and also in Plymouth, MA. On May 19, 1798, Joseph married Elizabeth Austin in Dighton. They had three boys that were involved in the jewelry and watch trades. Joseph is next listed as a silversmith, jeweler and clockmaker working in Fall river during the period of 1828-1838. He returns to Dighton in 1839 and lives there until he dies in 1853.

Currently, we speculate that Joseph made some 40 plus tall case clocks. It appears that he numbered many of his tall case clocks on the dial. The highest number found to date is No. 38. Interestingly, No. 8 is in the clock collection of Harvard University. The Harvard owned example, like the other documented clocks, all share a case form and construction that reflects a strong Roxbury influence. We have seen or owned numbers 8, 9, 12, 20, 22, 34, 36 and 38. Numbers 2, 6 and 10 have also been recorded by others.


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