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Photo: Courtesy of Gary R. Sullivan, photo by David Hansen
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Tall case clock

Object number



Casemaker John Goddard, American, 1723–1785
Clockmaker James Wady, died 1759
Casemaker Unknown


102 1/2 19 1/4 9 5/8 in. (260.351 48.895 24.448 cm) Width, dial: 12 in. (30.48 cm)



Current location

Private Collection


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


Mahogany (primary); chestnut (back board, blocks in base, and back of hood); pine (core of moldings at top of waist, top board of hood, and possibly covering for scrolled pediment); maple (base of hood); mahogany (dial matte); oak (saddleboard)


"JAMES : WADY : NEWPORT," engraved on dial arch


" S W," in chalk, on interior back board behind waist door


By descent in the Wanton family, Newport, Rhode Island. Mr. and Mrs. E. Martin Wunsch, New York, by 1965; sold by his estate to private collection, New York

Associated names

Wanton family
E. Martin Wunsch
Ethel Wunsch


The removable hood has a broken serpentine pediment to which is applied a single-piece crown molding fixed with brads through its top to the elements below. Near the upper terminus of each side of the pediment crown molding is a notch into which the beads which encircle the scrollboard below are fitted. The roof of the hood consists of multiple transverse boards fixed to the elements below with brads. Attached with brads to the rabbets in the sides of the hood is the hood backboard, which has at its top, a closed, semi-hexagonal, chamfered cutout. In the center of the scrollboard stands a fluted plinth with a molded base, supporting an elaborately carved, turned and gilded finial with a corkscrew flame. Portions of the scrollboard are cut out to accommodate the finial. Flanking the plinth base are wood-framed panels of open work scrolls, with a gold-colored fabric backing, nailed with brads to the front of the hood. There is an arched, one-piece molding below, above two more wood and gold-colored fabric panels, fixed with brads to the hood. The arched, thumb-molded and glazed door below includes integral three-quarter-round colonnettes with gilded bases and capitals. It opens to reveal an elaborate brass dial and works. The door swings by means of metal pins in the top and the bottom of the proper left colonnette. The stiles and rails of the door appear to be tenoned together, the joints further secured with brads. The sides of the hood consist of stiles and rails, surrounding rectangular glazed portals. In the tops of the stiles are nails joining them to the hood frieze. Between the hood sides and the boards behind the arched door are small, vertical, rectangular and triangular glue blocks. The pediment backboard above the door is drilled with circular holes of various sizes. The rabbeted hood sides sit in grooves in its base, to which is nailed a small molding. At the top of the waisted case is a two-part beaded cove molding with triangular blocking behind. The case back consists of a single vertical board. Nailed through either side of its back, nearly in line with the top of the cove molding below the hood, are two rosehead nails. The backboard is fixed with brads and rosehead nails into rabbets in the case sides. The case contains an arched, thumb-molded, concave-blocked, shell-carved, single-piece, hinged door. Between the base sides and the waist sides are transverse rectangular spacer blocks, which also serve as blocking for the one-piece molding above. The bottom of the waist case sides fit into grooves in blocking atop the later baseboard and feet. Examined by P. E. Kane, October 13, 2013; notes compiled by T. B. Lloyd.

See also


Michael Moses, Master Craftsmen of Newport: The Townsends and Goddards (Tenafly, N.J.: MMI Americana Press, 1984), 235, fig. 5.23–5.23a.
Joseph K. Ott, The John Brown House Loan Exhibition of Rhode Island Furniture, exh. cat. (Providence: The Rhode Island Historical Society, 1965), 122–23, 169, no. 76, ill.
Christie's, New York, Important American Furniture, Silver, and Folk Art: Featuring English Pottery from the Collection of the Late Robert J. Kahn and the Lafayette-Washington Pistols, sale cat. (January 18–19, 2002), 220, 224, fig. 2, 7.
Frank L. Hohmann III et al., Timeless: Masterpiece American Brass Dial Clocks (New York: Hohmann Holdings, 2009), 300–301, no. 93, 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), 111n17.
Donald L. Fennimore and Frank L. Hohmann III, Claggett: Newport's Illustrious Clockmakers (Winterthur, Del.: Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library, 2018), 149–51, 208–11, 246, no. 18, JW-2, fig. 5.23.
The Claggetts of Newport: Master Clockmakers in Colonial America, exh. cat. (Newport, R I.: Redwood Library and Athenaeum, 2019), 42, ill.