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From: Albert Sack, The New Fine Points of Furniture (New York: Crown Publishers, 1993), 139
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Tall case clock


Object number

RIF2319

Maker

Casemaker Luther Metcalf, 1756 - 1838
Casemaker Ichabod Sanford, 1768 - 1860
Clockmaker Caleb Wheaton, American, 1757–1827

Dimensions

243.84 x 49.53 x 25.4 cm (96 x 19 1/2 x 10 in.)

Date

1796

Current location


Geography

Made in Providence, Rhode Island, or made in Medway, Massachusetts
(view a map of Rhode Island)

Medium

Mahogany, mahogany veneer, and dark and light wood inlay (primary); cherry (waist door); pine (all other secondary wood)

Marks

"Luther Metcalf / This Clock Case was made by / Ichabod Sanford in January 1796 / Clock made by Caleb Wheaton of Providence / R.I.," in graphite ["Luther" in ink], on exterior backboard of clock

Inscriptions

“L M,” inscribed on interior of bottom board; "Jany [y superscript] 21, 1796," in graphite, on interior backboard; illegible graphite, on upper section of interior backboard and on exterior top of proper-right case side [under hood]; “830,” scratched on bob of pendulum

Style

Chippendale

Provenance

Luther Metcalf (1756–1838) Wrentham and Medway, Massachusetts; by descent to his son Luther Metcalf, Jr., (1788–1879), Medway, Massachusetts; by descent to his son Stephen Jenks Metcalf (1816–1890), Medway, Massachusetts; by descent to his daughter Maria Caroline Metcalf Newall (1842–1901), Medway, Massachusetts; by descent to her son Walter Child Newell (born 1869), Newton, Massachusetts; by descent to his daughter Esther Metcalf Newell (born 1907), Newton, Massachusetts; sold to Israel Sack, Inc., New York, 1959; sold to Mr. and Mrs. William B. Hysan, Jr., Baltimore, 1960; Sotheby Parke Bernet, New York, January 30 – February 2, 1980, lot 1625; sold to Edward A.Kilroy, Jr., (died 2010) and Angela Kilroy (died 2013), Cleveland; Christie's, New York, January 23, 2015, lot 185

Associated names

Luther Metcalf
Luther Metcalf, Jr.
Stephen Jenks Metcalf
Maria Caroline Metcalf Newell
Walter Child Newell
Esther Metcalf Newell
Israel Sack, Inc.
Mr. and Mrs. William B. Hysan, Jr.
Sotheby Parke Bernet
Mr. Edward A. Kilroy, Jr.
Mrs. Edward A. Kilroy, Jr.
Christie's

Construction

The removable hood has an arched, transverse, single-board roof shaped to align with its arched fašade and fixed with rosehead nails to the top of the arched hood backboard and to the top of the arched board behind the arched cornice molding. Bands of open fretwork (some of it with incised concentric circles), interspersed with three rectangular plinths with simple caps nailed on with brads, are held onto the roof by small rectangular glueblocks, interspersed with rosehead roof nails. The plinths? side faces are finished, their back faces are not; their front faces are inlaid with alternating strips of dark and light wood. The flanking plinths support brass ball and steeple finials; the central plinth an urn and cast eagle finial. The hood backboard, which has a skirt arched to fit over the case?s backboard, meets the upper portions of the hood sides in dovetail joints, having large, thick-necked pins with half-pins above and below. The hood?s solid, one-piece cornice molding is fixed to the hood sides and its arched front by invisible means. The arched frieze below is an open fretwork panel of vegetal motifs over a lighter-colored ground; the flanking, horizontal portions of the frieze are interlacing pointed arches over a rough-finished wood ground. A small single-piece architrave molding sits at the bottom of the entablature. The single board hood sides are fixed with rosehead nails to the back of the horizontal boards of the entablature and are double-through-tenoned to the transverse boards of the hood base. Each hood side centers a glazed portal, rectangular on the inside and arched on the outside. Nailed with brads to the back edges of the hood sides are vertical strips, flush with the hood backboard, which provide a corner for the attachment of fluted quarter round colonnettes which lack both bases and capitals. The dial mat is nailed with brads to the entablature in front and held in place below by vertical rectangular glue blocks. The rails of the arched, molded, inlaid and glazed door are through-tenoned to their stiles. Brass stop-fluted colonnettes with cast brass Corinthian capitals are fixed to the top surface of the hood base with domed-top brass brads. In the outside corners of the underside of the front hood-base-board are two nails on the proper right and the end of a metal fastener on the proper left. A small single-piece molding proud of the outside edges of the hood base allows it to slide over the single-piece beaded cove molding and its triangular blocking at the top of the case?s waist. The waist-front rails are tenoned to their stiles without wood pins and center a single-piece arched, veneered, inlaid, crossbanded hinged door with applied edge molding. The inner leaves of its hinges are mounted on the case stiles. The stiles of the waist front are butt-jointed to their single-board waist sides below the waist?s brass-stop-fluted quarter columns, with cast-brass Corinthian capitals and brass bases, both held into their corners with brass brads. An inverted beaded cove molding with triangular and rectilinear blocking marks the transition from waist to base. The base front is veneered, inlaid and crossbanded in a manner similar to the waist door. Within the case are large vertical rectangular glue blocks in the front corners of the waist and each corner of the base, and multiple smaller blocks inside the waist behind the quarter columns. Nails in the base corner blocks indicate a connection to the case?s base sides. The single-board case back is glued into rabbets in the waist sides. It is augmented by vertical strips at the hood and base, the bottom of the latter forming the straight-profiled back brackets of the rear feet. The single-board case bottom is fixed with rosehead and other nails to blocking within the base and the inside of the base sides. The feet consist of shaped vertical blocks glued to mitered ogee brackets also glued to the underside of the base moldings above. At the midpoint of the case back?s skirt is a single nail fixing it to the case bottom. Examined by J. N. Johnson, January 21, 2015; notes compiled by T. B. Lloyd.

Bibliography

Mabel M. Swan, "Some Men from Medway," Antiques 17, no. 5 (May 1930): 418, fig. 4.
American Antiques from Israel Sack Collection, 10 vols. (Washington, D.C.: Highland House Publishers, 1957–1989), vol. 1, p. 87, no.266.
"Israel Sack, Inc., advertisement," Antiques 76, no. 5 (November 1959): ill. inside front cover.
Sotheby Parke Bernet, New York, Fine Americana, Vol. Two, sale cat. (January 30–February 2, 1980), lot 1625.
Albert Sack, The New Fine Points of Furniture: Early American (New York: Crown Publishers, 1993), 139, ill.