Joseph N. Dunning of Concord, Massachusetts and Burlington, Vermont. Clockmaker & Silversmith. A girandole wall clock. XXSL-15

This is a very interesting an important wall timepiece. It was made by Joseph N. Dunning of Burlington, Vermont. This example is signed in a script format on the large painted iron dial.

In 1802, Lemuel Curtis was an apprentice working for the Willards in Boston. In 1811, he moved to Concord and set up shop as a Clockmaker who specialized in timepieces. Over the years, he made many improvements in the Willards original design. An example of which is the single screw movement mounting system and changes to the clocks suspension. His ultimate achievement would have to be the design of this unique timepiece form. He was granted a patent for it on July 12, 1816. However, this form may not have been a financial success. This is based on the small number of examples that exist today. Most of these are in the collections of the countries best museums. Many individuals and some companies have since made reproductions of this form. Some of which include The Waltham Clock Company, Ted Burliegh, Elmer Stennes and Foster Campos.

A small number of variants exist that were made by his partner Joseph N. Dunning. His versions share a similar shape but differ in that they feature wooden panels instead of paint decorated tablets and the front facing wood work is not gilded as found on the Curtis examples. These Vermont made clocks were most likely made after the Curtis & Dunning partnership dissolved in 1832. We now know of less than six of these in existence.

This case is constructed in mahogany and New England white pine. The case features traditional girandole proportions. It measures approximately 44 inches in length and is 12.25 inches wide and 4.25 inches deep. Mounted under the clock case is an applied carved bracket. The applied sidearms and the flame style finial also feature carved elements. The dial bezel, throat frame and lower door frame are wood. The throat and the lower door are fitted with figured panels. These panels exhibit a lively grain pattern. The throat sections slightly tapers towards the head of the case. The wooden dial bezel is fitted with glass. It is hinged and opens to access the painted iron dial.

This dial features Roman style hour numerals and a closed time or minute ring. This dial measures approximately 10.5 inches in diameter. It is signed by the clockmaker in a script format. The signature reads, "J. N. Dunning." The hands are steel and feature the traditional Curtis loop design.

Behind the dial is a brass constructed weight driven movement. It is designed to run eight days on a full wind and is a timepiece. The pendulum bob is supported by a steel rod. The bob is faced in brass.

This clock measures approximately 44 inches long and was made circa 1832. It is inventory number XXSL-15

About Joseph N. Dunning of Concord, Massachusetts and Burlington, Vermont.

Joseph N. Dunning was born in Brunswick, Maine on January 2nd, 1795 and died in Burlington, Vermont on December 14th, 1841. He was first a journeyman working for Lemuel Curtis in Concord before they formed an informal partnership before 1820. In 1821, they formally advertised their partnership and both men moved to Burlington, Vermont. It is during this period, Burlington was experiencing an economic boom. There, they became two of Vermont’s most prolific manufactures of wall timepieces. In 1832, the partnership dissolved and Dunning continued to work on his own. He died bankrupt at the age of 46. For a further discussion on Vermont made time pieces and the clockmaker Joseph Dunning, please read Paul Foley’s book, “Willard’s Patent Timepieces.”


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