An inlaid Massachusetts tall case clock.  Unsigned.

This fine example exhibits the good form and eye catching inlays.

This well proportioned tall clock case is constructed in mahogany and New England white pine is used as a secondary wood. The inlays are comprised of mahogany and maple selections. The case features an appropriate orange shellac finish that promotes the texture, contrast in color and the grain exhibited in the wood. This case stands on boldly formed ogee bracket feet. These are applied to a molding which is secured to the base. The base panel is trimmed with a cross-banded mahogany border. Each of the four corners of this panel are fitted with quarter fan inlays. These feature four individual petals of shaded maple. The pattera is formatted in a similar manner and can be found featured in the center of this panel. The waist section is long. The center is fitted with a rectangular shaped waist door that is trimmed with an applied molding. The inlaid decoration exhibited here follows the frame detail in the base panel This is again repeated on the hood door. Through the waist door, one can access the weights and brass faced pendulum bob. The corners of the waist are fitted with turned quarter columns a that are also line inlaid along their entire length. These terminate in brass quarter capitals. The bonnet or hood is fitted with a traditional New England style pierced fret. This somewhat unusual pattern has design elements that are often repeated in other Central Massachusetts examples. This fret work is support by three inlaid chimney or final plinths. Each are capped and support brass finials. Fully turned bonnet columns or colonnettes visually support the upper bonnet moldings. These are mounted in brass capitals and are free standing. The sides of the hood are fitted with rectangular shaped side lights and they are fitted with glass. The arched bonnet door is also line inlaid and features quarter fans. This is a very unusual detail. Very few clocks feature quarter fans on the hood door. This door is fitted with glass and opens to access the painted iron dial.

This imported English dial having a Wilson’s false plate features a moon phase or lunar calendar mechanism in the arch. The time track is done in two separate formats. The hours are indicated in Roman numerals. The five minute markers are painted in an Arabic form. A subsidiary seconds dial and month calendar can be seen inside the time ring. The four spandrel areas are colorfully decorated with florals.

This fine movement is constructed in brass and is good quality. Four turned pillars support the two brass plates. These pillars are an unusual form in that they incorporate a cone design in their structure. This may be a clue as to the origin of the movement? Hardened steel shafts support the polished steel pinions and brass gearing. The winding drums are grooved. The escapement is designed as a recoil format. The movement is weight driven and designed to run eight days on a full wind. 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 the hour. This is done on a cast iron bell which is mounted above the movement.

This clock was made circa 1795. It stands approximately 89.5 inches or 7 feet 5.5 inches tall to the top of the center finial. At the upper bonnet molding, this case measures 20 inches wide and 9.75 inches deep.


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