George Mitchell Pillar and Scroll shelf clock. Bristol, Connecticut.

This is a fine pillar and scroll clock made by Ephriam Downes for George Mitchell of Bristol, Connecticut circa 1825.

Ephraim Downes was born in Wilbraham, Massachusetts in 1787 and died in 1860. He was an important Clockmaker. He was in Bristol as early as 1810 and worked there until 1847. He was the son of David and Mary Chatterton Downes and had a brother Anson who was a Carpenter. In 1810, Ephriam was making tall clock cases, 30 hour movements and pillar & scroll clock cases. He became very successful. In 1822 he married Chloe Painter thus becoming the brother in law of Silas Hoadley. Throughout his Clockmaker career, Ephriam worked with or for Eli Terry, Luman Watson, Seth Thomas, George Mitchell, Elisa Ingraham and George Atkins.

George Mitchell was born in Bristol, Connecticut on April 19, 1774. His father was William Mitchell, a cloth manufacturer. George was involved in the cotton business until 1819 when he began to focus his attention on the selling of wooden clocks. He purchased movements from many Connecticut Clockmakers including Ephraim Downes and Samuel Terry. He would in turn put his label on them and sell them as his own. This appears to have been a common practice in this industry. Mitchell sold his clock business in 1832. In 1837 he was elected the State Senator of Connecticut. He died in Bristol in 1852.

This clock is a very good example. The case is mahogany and exhibits good graining. The feet, frets and finials are original to the clock. The finials are brass and are an excellent form. The reverse painted tablet is also original to this example. It has undergone a small amount of professionally restoration in the area of the sky. The rest of the scene and border remain untouched. The dial is nicely painted on wood and is in good condition. The wooden works 30 hour weight driven movement is a time and strike design and is in good condition. It strikes each hour on a bell mounted inside the case. The Maker’s label is pasted onto the inside of the backboard. It is in good overall condition.

This is a classic New England clock. It is designed to fit on the colonial mantle piece of the period. It measures approximately 28 inches tall, 17.5 inches wide and 5 inches deep. This example was made circa 1825.


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