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Rhode Island Historical Society, Providence, 1980.11.1
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Tall case clock


Object number

RIF5318

Maker

Casemaker Unknown
Decorated by Robert Davis, died 1739
Clockmaker William Claggett, 1694 - 1749

Dimensions

210.19 x 54.93 x 28.58 cm (82 3/4 x 21 5/8 x 11 1/4 in.)

Date

1736

Current location

The Rhode Island Historical Society

Geography

Made in Newport, Rhode Island (movement), and made in Boston, Massachusetts (case)
(view a map of Rhode Island)

Medium

Pine with japanned decoration

Marks

"William Claggett Newport," engraved, on top of dial arch; "Robt Davis / Japanner / Boston NE / 1736," inscribed, inside waist door

Inscriptions

"Christopher Townsend / Clean'd This Clock / ye 15 Day th 1 M / 1754," inscribed on back of front plate; inscription by George Whiting, back of front plate; inscription by Simon Willard (1753–1848), back of front plate; "1805," inscribed by Elnathan Taber (1768–1854) on front of front plate; paper record written by Elisha Dyer (1811–1890) of Gould family history of clock, on inside of case; "Sept.28 1857" [and] "March 3...1859," inscribed on printed paper card of Thomas G. Daggett (1795–1871); hand-written paper transcription, dated 1881, by Hermann A. Ockel (1843–1923) listing craftsmen's names he found scratched into brass movement on inside of waist door; partial letter from Joseph Downs to H. Anthony Dyer, dated September 15, 1933, on inside of clock case

Provenance

Originally owned by a private collection, Newport, Rhode Island; in the shop of Joseph Pope (1750–1826), Boston, by 1799. Possibly Sir Francis Bernard (1712–1779), Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. Possibly Sir William Pepperrell (died 1816), renter of Bernard house. Possibly General Nathanael Greene (1742–1786). Sir Francis Bernard house and contents sold to Martin Brimmer (1742–1804), Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts 1779; in the estate inventory of Martin Brimmer, by 1804; consigned to auction by his widow, August 1, 1806; sold to John Gould, Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts; sold to Elisha Dyer (1811–1890), Providence, Rhode Island, 1857; by descent in the Dyer family to H. Anthony Dyer, Providence, Rhode Island, by 1933; by descent to Nancy Dyer, Providence, Rhode Island; bequeathed to the Rhode Island Historical Society, Providence, 1979

Associated names

Unknown
Sir Francis Bernard
Sir William Pepperrell
General Nathanael Greene
Martin Brimmer
Widow Brimmer
John Gould
Elisha Dyer
Dyer family
H. Anthony Dyer
Nancy Dyer

Bibliography

Joseph Downs, "American Japanned Furniture," Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 28, no. 3 (March 1933): 42.
Robert P. Emlen, "A Masterful William Claggett Clock: A Short Story in a Tall Case," Antiques 118, no. 3 (September 1980): 502–507, 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), 101, 111n14, fig. 4.