Samuel Foster of Andover, Massachusetts, Hollis, Concord and Pelham New Hampshire. A tall clock standing 6 feet 10 inches tall.

This is a fine cherry stained butternut case tall clock with painted dial signed “Samuel Foster / Andover.” This example is a diminutive size measuring a mere 6 feet 10 inches tall to the top of the central finial. This suggests that its original owner had a home with very modest ceiling heights.

This very unusual example is constructed in Butternut and retains its original cherry staining or coloring. The case stands on an applied bracket base. The design incorporates a single spur return. The waist centers a large tombstone shaped access door. This door is trimmed with a simple molded edge. The sides of the waist are fitted with boldly fluted quarter columns. These terminate in brass quarter capitals. The hood features a simple molded arch molding that is surmounted with New England style fret work pattern. The frets are original to this clock and exhibit a subtle variation on the traditional Boston theme. The three large period brass urn and spiked finials are supported by fluted final plinths. The bonnet columns are also fluted and terminate in brass capitals. The bonnet door is arched in form and fitted with glass. Behind it is the painted iron dial.

The iron dial is painted decorated. The decorative theme features floral and fruit. The two upper spandrel locations seem to feature cherries as a decoration. The time ring features Roman hour numerals and Arabic five minute markers are positioned above each hour. The time is indicated by the hand made steel hands. These hands are hand filed into a lovely pattern. This dial displays the seconds and calendar day in the traditional locations. This dial is signed on the dial by the Clockmaker.

The movement is brass and designed to run eight days on a full wind. It is weight powered and strikes each hour on a cast iron bell. The bell is mounted above the movement on a post. This movement features the distinctive strike work that we now associate with clockmakers working in this region. The most prolific of which is Ezra Batchelder.

This clock stands only 6 feet 10.5 inches tall to the top of the center final. When was the last time you saw a New England tall clock that featured a fretwork to and finials that measured under 7 feet? Clocks of this scale were not made in quantity. It was made circa 1795.

This example is inventory number 216063.

About Samuel Foster of Andover, Massachusetts, Hollis, Concord and Pelham New Hampshire.

Currently, very little is known about Samuel Foster the clockmaker. It is thought that he work in Andover, Massachusetts in 1794-1796. He then moves to Amherst, New Hampshire in 1796 and advertises that he commences business at the shop of Deacon Barker. He stays in that town until about 1804. A tall clock signed by him working in Hollis features a movement that is constructed in a combination of wood and brass much like those clock works that were made by A. Gould of Hollis. In 1804, Foster then moves to Concord, NH. An advertisement there states that he has commenced business in the shop formerly occupied by Mr. John Robie. In 1819, he returns to Andover and remains there a very short time. In 1820 he is listed as working in Pelham, NH.

We have owned and seen a very small number of clock signed by Foster while working in Andover. It is interesting to note that we have owned several Ezra Batchelder signed tall clocks that share the same distinctive strike train work that is found in several Foster signed clocks. It is logical to assume they had some working connection.

Ezra Batchelder was born in Andover, Massachusetts on November 13th, 1769. He had a brother, Andrew born 1772, who is also listed as a Clockmaker and blacksmith. In fact, they are listed as working together in Danvers in sometime after 1801. It is thought that they were trained by their brother-in-law Nathan Adams. Ezra dies in in Danvers on October 10th, 1858. Ezra was also a farmer and is reported to be the first expressman in Danvers, carrying merchandise from and to Boston.

Paul Foley in his book, Willard’s Patent Time Pieces lists that Ezra’s account book is known. This book records 36 clocks being sold between 1803 and 1830. The prices for these clocks range from $35 to $65. It also suggests that being fine cabinetmakers, they may have made their own cases.

Over the last forty plus years of being in the business of selling clocks, we have seen at least 12 tall clocks signed by this Maker.


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