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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, 1732/33–1809
Clockmaker Unknown
(dial) James Wilson, British, active 1777, died 1809


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



Current location

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston


Probably made in Providence, 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
Maxim Karolik
Martha Codman Karolik


Edwin J Hipkiss, Eighteenth-Century American Arts: The M. and M. Karolik Collection (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1950), 192–193, no. 125, ill.
Michael Moses, Master Craftsmen of Newport: The Townsends and Goddards (Tenafly, N.J.: MMI Americana Press, 1984), 175, fig. 3.97.
Williams Germain Dooley, "The Karolik Collection," Antiques 40, no. 6 (December 1941): 357, fig. 3.
Helen Comstock, American Furniture: Seventeenth, Eighteenth, and Nineteenth Century Styles (New York: Viking Press, 1962), 185, fig. 316.
Albert Sack, Fine Points of Furniture: Early American (New York: Crown Publishers, 1950), 122, ill.
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.
"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.
Brooks Palmer, The Book of American Clocks (New York: MacMillan Company, 1950), 31, fig. 21.
Helena Hayward, ed., World Furniture: An Illustrated History (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1965), 192, fig. 719.