James Doull of Charlestown, Massachusetts. A cross-banded mahogany case tall clock with a moon phase dial. PP159.

The colorfully painted 13 inch iron dial is of local origin and was most likely painted by the Boston ornamental artists Spencer Nolen & Samuel Curtis. Similar dials have been found signed on the back of the dial. This example is signed on the front by the clockmaker, “James Doull.” The font is in a fancy script lettering that stretches across the center of the dial. His working location “CHARLESTOWN” is written in a more reserved fashion and is positioned below the calendar. In the, one will find the automated feature of a lunar calendar or a moon-phase mechanism. This is designed to track the phases of the moon or the lunar calendar which is approximately 29.5 days in length. The four spandrel areas are colorfully painted decorated. The use of the bright colors of red, yellow and gold contrast nicely with one another. Raised gesso work is also used to shape some of the patterns. The hours are indicated by large Roman numerals. The five minute markers are indicated in an Arabic format. A subsidiary seconds dial and a calendar are displayed in the traditional locations. The hands are nicely formed and filed from steel.

This cross-banded mahogany case exhibits excellent proportions. The base proudly stands on applied French feet. Please note the delicate shaping or flare and the wonderful height they provide. These gracefully transition into a double drop apron. This treatment is separated from the base panel with a thin molding that is applied to the bottom of the base panel. The front panel of the base is framed with a narrow cross-banded border. The panel is veneered with a selection of mahogany that features long sweeping vertical lines. The waist is long and is fitted with a large rectangular shaped waist door that is trimmed with an applied molding. Positioned just inside this molding is a cross-banded framing. The front corners of the waist are fitted with reeded quarter columns. These terminate in brass quarter capitals. The bonnet features an open fretwork design that is incorporates three reeded finial plinths. Each of these supports a single brass ball and spiked finial. Fully turned and reeded bonnet columns support the upper bonnet molding. Tombstone shaped side lights are fitted into the sides of the hood. The arched bonnet door is decoratively veneered. The opening is fitted with glass.

This clock was made circa 1810 and stands approximately 8 feet tall and was made circa 1810.

Inventory Number PP-159

About James Doull of Charlestown, Massachusetts.

James Doull was born in Scotland in 1785 and immigrated to the United States, Boston in 1806 at the age of 29. In 1807, he is listed in the Boston tax records as working as journeyman with Boston clockmaker Aaron Willard. This suggests that he came to this country highly skilled and must have been trained overseas. Because he is listed for only one year in Boston, it is assumed he moved to Charlestown shortly after this date. In 1823, Doull moved to Pennsylvania and he took up residence in the city of Philadelphia. Here he is listed as having a number of addresses over the years. In 1823, he is listed at 112 High. In 1825, Doull moves to No. 3 Castle. During the period of 1828 — 1833, he is listed on the south east corner of South and Spruce. In 1835 through 1849, he is listed at the south east corner of 4th and Spruce. In 1856, Doull moves on to south 4th and stays there until 1856.

Over the years we have owned a dozen or more tall case clocks, several shelf clocks and small number of timepieces made by this fine and talented clockmaker. James Doull’s most famous clock is in the White House Collection in Washington, DC. This clock is frequently on display in the Oval Office. It features a signed painted dial and a case that is attributed to the Seymour Brothers cabinetmaking firm.

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