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Photo: Courtesy Christie's, New York
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Tall case clock


Object number

RIF2320

Maker

Casemaker Unknown
Clockmaker Samuel Rockwell, 1722 - 1773

Dimensions

242.571 x 46.99 x 24.13 cm (95 1/2 x 18 1/2 x 9 1/2 in.); Width, dial: 32.703 cm (12 7/8 in.)

Date

1743–1752

Current location

Private collection

Geography

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

Medium

Mahogany (primary); yellow poplar (backboard of hood and fillers for sides of base); chestnut (saddle board, guides for hood, backboard of hood, and blocks of dial mat); pine (core of molding at case top and blocks at front corners of case); cherry (bottom and top boards of dial mat); mahogany (side boards of dial mat); maple (base of hood)

Marks

"Sam,l ["l" in superscript] Rockwel Providence," engraved on dial

Inscriptions

"DAVID HARRIS, / Son of RICHARD, Son of THOMAS, / Son of THOMAS. / 1750. / STEPHEN HARRIS, 1817. / BENJAMIN CUSHING HARRIS, 1872. / THOMAS HARRIS.," engraved on brass plaque screwed to interior of waist door

Provenance

David Harris (1714–1797), Smithfield, and Providence, Rhode Island; by descent to his son, Stephen Harris (1753–1817), Providence, Rhode Island; by descent to his son, Benjamin Cushing Harris (1797–1872), Providence, Rhode Island; by descent to his son, Thomas Harris (1825–1898), Providence, Rhode Island; by descent in his family, until 2000; consigned to Christie's, New York, October 5, 2000, lot 87

Associated names

David Harris
Stephen Harris
Benjamin Cushing Harris
Thomas Harris
Harris family
Christie's
Thomas Harris

Construction

The removable hood has a roof of thin boards, partially covered with paper, shaped to align with the double-serpentine upper frieze board and nailed with brads and rosehead nails to its upper frieze board at the front and double-serpentine back-board behind. The single-piece hood backboard is nailed with brads into rabbets in the back edges of the single-piece hood sides. These have large, glazed, rectangular portals and are set into grooves in the top of the transverse boards of the hood base. The hood sides are also nailed to the hood base with brads through the bottom of its transverse boards, which are tenoned and wood-pinned to the front board. The bottom of a cove molding, nailed with brads to the hood base, is slightly lower than the base, allowing the hood to slide over the two-piece beaded cove molding and its triangular blocking at the top of the case?s waist. The single-piece molding atop the upper part of the hood continues into the open pediment, is nailed with brads and centers a fluted plinth above a molded pedestal, flanked by three-quarter-round oculi. The plinth supports a (later) vasiform finial with corkscrew flame. The pedestal sits upon the arched, single-piece cornice molding of the entablature below. The upper frieze-board sides are in two pieces, nailed with brads. The frieze boards of the hood front – above and below the arched cornice molding – have an applied gold finish. The stiles and rails of the door below are tenoned to each other with pins visible inside; the upper proper left outside corner contains three wood pins. The door is arched, molded and glazed, is integral with the hood?s three-quarter round colonettes, and opens to a brass dial and works. The hood slides into place on guides nailed to the upper part of the single-board case sides with rosehead nails. The flat-topped single-piece backboard is glued and nailed with brads into rabbets in the case sides and has filler strips at the hood and at the base. The strips at the base are blocking between the lower extensions of the waist and base case-sides. The stiles and rails of the case-waist front are lapped over the case-waist sides, tenoned together without wood pins and enclose an arched and molded single-piece hinged door with a concave-blocked and shell-carved panel. The two-piece molding which marks the transition between waist and base is nailed with brads to the sides and front of the waist and base, and to blocking within, the proper right portion of which is missing. At the rear of the proper right portion of transition molding is a filler strip nailed on with brads. The flat base-front laps over the base sides, which are nailed at their bottom with brads. The two-part lower base has mitered corners and is nailed with brads. Examined by P. E. Kane and J. N. Johnson, July 28, 2014; notes compiled by T. B. Lloyd.

Notes

Movement: 8-day brass time and strike with center sweep seconds

Bibliography

"Christie's advertisement," Antiques 158, no. 3 (September 2000): 263, ill.
Christie's, New York, Important American Furniture, Folk Art, and Decorative Arts, sale cat. (October 5, 2000), 68–71, lot 87, ill.
Frank L. Hohmann III et al., Timeless: Masterpiece American Brass Dial Clocks (New York: Hohmann Holdings, 2009), 292–293, no. 89, ill.
Patricia E. Kane et al., Art and Industry in Early America: Rhode Island Furniture, 1650–1830, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2016), 244–245, no. 41, fig. 1.