image of object
Photo: Courtesy Winterthur Museum and Country Estate, Del., 1959.0802
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Tall case clock


Object number

RIF2275

Maker

Casemaker possibly John Townsend, American, 1732–1809
Clockmaker David Williams, 1769 - 1823
Maker of dial James Wilson, British, active 1777, died 1809

Dimensions

243.84 x 53.98 x 27.31 cm (96 x 21 1/4 x 10 3/4 in.)

Date

1790–1800

Current location

Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library

Geography

Made in Newport, Rhode Island
(view a map of Rhode Island)

Medium

Mahogany and mahogany veneer (primary); cherry (hood guides); white pine (saddle board, top of hood, and glue blocks of mat board); chestnut (backboard, backing of quarter columns, glue blocks, bottom boards, backboard of hood, base of hood, and board under dial); cedar (?) (molding on interior of waist door); birch (?) (brace at top of hood)

Marks

"David Williams / NEW PORT," painted on dial; "Wilson Birm," cast into false iron plate behind dial

Inscriptions

"Joshua Nichols / May th[superscript] 16 1799 / 1799," in graphite, on interior back panel of hood; "Jan 9-1854 / Bagley Wm / 3-5-61 Bagley," in graphite, on back of waist door; "Bagley W / 3-5-61," in graphite, on interior proper-right side of waist door frame; “Back,” in graphite, on exterior backboard

Style

Chippendale

Provenance

Henry Francis du Pont (1880–1969), Winterthur, Delaware; given to the Winterthur Museum and Country Estate, Delaware, 1959

Associated names

Henry Francis du Pont

Construction

The removable hood has a roof of four boards, shaped to align with its arched fašade and nailed (under a fabric cover) to its frieze board at the front and arched backboard behind. A transverse batten under the roof boards is set into a groove in the backer board behind the frieze, and is visible through the backboard, which meets the hood?s case sides in half-blind dovetail joints, having finely cut, narrow-necked pins, with half-pins above and below. The single-piece cornice molding, at the arched center of which is a ressaulted keystone with a fluted frieze, is fixed to the hood by invisible means, presumably nailed from behind. The hood supports three rectangular fluted plinths, each bearing a vasiform, double-reeded finial with corkscrew flame. The single-piece architrave molding is fixed to the hood by invisible means. A thin, arched board inside the hood is nailed with brads to the front board of the entablature. The hood sides, which contain rectangular glazed portals, are nailed with brads to the side frieze boards and set into grooves in the transverse boards of the hood base. The separate, single-piece molded front edge of those transverse boards is rabbeted to allow the hood to fit onto the case. The fluted, single-piece half-colonettes at the back of the hood are tenoned into the base, where they are secured by nails, and into the hood entablature. The half-colonettes? caps and plinths are fitted around these tenons. The arched, hinged, glazed door, which opens to a painted dial and brass works, has a veneered front. The hood slides into place over hood guides nailed with brads to the single-board case sides and rests upon a single-piece beaded cove molding nailed from behind into the case. The case back is a continuous, arched, vertical board, glued into rabbets in the waist and base case sides. There are prominent scribe lines on its inside face. Filler strips are added to the hood and lower-case portions of the backboard; the strips of the hood are nailed with brads. Nailed with brads into the front inside corners of the waist are large vertical backing blocks for the stop-fluted quarter columns. The blocks alo support the case door?s brass hinges, screwed and nailed with brass brads, and laid out with prominent scribe lines. There are multiple vertical chamfered glue blocks in the rear corners of the case. The outside face of the door is convex-blocked, shell-carved, lipped and thumb-molded. The shell and blocked panel are applied. On the inner face the blocked panel is flat, secured to the stiles and rails (which include a medial stile) by a cove molding nailed with brads. The tenons of the upper and lower rails are visible through the rail?s outside faces. On the inside face of the proper left door stile is a circular wood screw cover. A single-piece molding above blocking set between the top of the side boards of the base and the side boards of the waist marks the transition between them. The stiles and rails of the case?s base are veneered, mitered at their corners, and lap over the single-board sides. The joints between the single-board case bottom and the side boards of the base are concealed by a three-sided frame which is nailed to the case bottom with brads. The bottom of the frame is flush with the bottom of the base molding. There are horizontal and vertical rectangular glue blocks within the case?s base. The feet consist of vertical blocks attached directly to the bottom of the base molding, flanked by shaped blocks, and faced with ogee brackets. The rear feet are configured similarly, except for back brackets which are simple straight boards, of curving profile, set into grooves in the side brackets. The back faces of the side brackets are straight. Examined by P. E. Kane and J. N. Johnson, April 21, 2014; notes compiled by T. B. Lloyd.

Bibliography

Joseph Downs, American Furniture: Queen Anne and Chippendale Periods in the Henry Francis DuPont Winterthur Museum (New York: MacMillan Company, 1952), no. 205, ill.
Michael Moses, Master Craftsmen of Newport: The Townsends and Goddards (Tenafly, N.J.: MMI Americana Press, 1984), 175–176, fig. 3.98–3.98a.