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Photo: Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, The M. and M. Karolik Collection of Eighteenth-Century American Arts, 39.158
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Tall case clock

Object number



possibly John Townsend, American, 1732–1809
Clockmaker Unknown
(dial) James Wilson, British, active 1777, died 1809


260.986 x 34.29 x 18.415 cm (102 3/4 x 13 1/2 x 7 1/4 in.)



Current location

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston


Probably made in Newport, Rhode Island
(view a map of Rhode Island)


Mahogany (primary); white pine (secondary)


"Wilson," cast into plate behind dial




George Watson Hall Smith (1896–1968), Providence, Rhode Island; sold to Martha Codman Karolik (1858–1948) and Maxim Karolik (1893–1963), Boston, and Newport, Rhode Island, 1936; given to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1939

Associated names

George Watson Hall Smith
Martha Codman Karolik
Maxim Karolik


Williams Germain Dooley, "The Karolik Collection," Antiques 40, no. 6 (December 1941): 357, fig. 3.
Edwin J Hipkiss, Eighteenth-Century American Arts: The M. and M. Karolik Collection (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1950), 192–193, no. 125, ill.
Albert Sack, Fine Points of Furniture: Early American (New York: Crown Publishers, 1950), 122, ill.
Helen Comstock, American Furniture: Seventeenth, Eighteenth, and Nineteenth Century Styles (New York: Viking Press, 1962), 185, fig. 316.
Wallace Nutting, Furniture Treasury (New York: MacMillan Company, 1963), no. 3269, ill.
Phoebe Phillips, ed., The Collectors' Encyclopedia of Antiques (New York: Gallery Books, 1973), 395, fig. b.
Michael Moses, Master Craftsmen of Newport: The Townsends and Goddards (Tenafly, N.J.: MMI Americana Press, 1984), 175, fig. 3.97.
"European and American Furniture and Decorative Arts on June 20: Bonhams and Butterfield Sale to Include Chippendale Tall Case Clock from Goddard-Townsend Workshops," Antiques and the Arts Weekly (June 17, 2005), 25, ill.
Bonhams and Butterfields, San Francisco, Fine European and American Furniture and Decorative Arts, sale cat. (June 20, 2005), 25, ill.