image of object
Photo: Courtesy Newport Historical Society, R.I., Gift of Inez West, inv. no. 2008.3.1; photo by Christopher Gardner
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Tall case clock

Object number



Clockmaker William Claggett, 1694–1749
Casemaker Unknown


Height: 90 in. (228.6 cm) Height with restored base: 102 in. (259.08 cm) Base: 16 15 3/4 8 7/8 in. (40.64 40.01 22.54 cm) Trunk: 48 1/2 12 1/4 7 1/8 in. (123.19 31.12 18.1 cm) Hood: 29 17 3/4 8 1/2 in. (73.66 45.09 21.59 cm) Diameter, dial: 11 1/2 in. (29.21 cm) Diameter, lunar face: 5 1/8 in. (13.02 cm)



Current location

Newport Historical Society


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


Walnut and walnut and maple veneers (primary); yellow poplar (front, sides, and back of case, case door, sides of hood, glue blocks of hood, guides for hood, and core of middle molding of case sides); pine (blocks for door hinges and core of middle molding of case front); maple (base of hood and columns)


"W: Claggett / Newport," engraved on dial


An account copied from the day book of Dr. Norbert F. Vigneron detailing various medical services performed for William Claggett and his family for which Claggett "paid By a Pendulum Clock" valued at 23 in 1728, written in ink on paper label affixed to interior of door; inscription comprising words and numerals [partially obscured by old newspaper] and an illegible name “T C[?]”, in chalk, on interior of door; "This clock is the property of / William A. West / Dec. 5, 1947 / Karl F. West, Executor / of estate of Katharine C. West," written in blue ink on a paper label affixed to interior of door; "This clock was the property of / my great-great grandfather Norbert Felician Vigneron & was / purchased by him of the maker Wm Claggett in February 1728 for / 23, as proved by the original / account book now in possession of / uncle W. V. Taylor. W.[?] R. T. April 23rd, / 1839," written in ink on a paper label tacked interior of door; two poems, one entitled "The Ancient Family Clock" [the other title illegible]," printed on newspaper affixed to interior of door; "Dr. Norbert Felician Vigneron / born 1670–died 1764 / Dr. Charles Anthony Vigneron / born 1717–died 1772 / Mary Vigneron Taylor / born 1744–died 1835 / Wm Vigneron Taylor / born 1780–died1858 / Harriet Taylor Gilpin / born – died Sept 7, 1888 / Laura Taylor Carey / born 1842–died 1925 / Katharine Clark West / born 1887–died1945 daughter of Mac[?] Taylor Clark / William A. West / born 1909–1955 / Katharine Anne West 1942– / Owners of Old Clock–," printed in ink on a paper label tacked to interior of door; “2,” in chalk, on interior front of hood; “L [script],” incised on underside of base of hood


Dr. Norbert Felicien Vigneron (1670–1764), Newport, Rhode Island; by descent to his son Dr. Charles A. Vigneron (1716–1772), Newport, Rhode Island, and New York; by descent to his daughter Mary Taylor (1744–1834), Newport, Rhode Island; by descent to her son William Vigneron Taylor (1780–1858), Newport, Rhode Island; by descent to his daughter Harriet Hamilton Gilpin (1822–1888); by descent to Laura Taylor Carey (1842–1925); Katharine Clark West (1887–1945), Camas, Washington; by descent to her son William A. West (1909–1955), Fort Lee, Virginia; by descent to Katharine Anne West (1942–unknown); by descent to Inez Oatfield West (1904–2003), Portland, Oregon; loaned to the Newport Historical Society, Rhode Island, 1979. Newport Historical Society, Rhode Island, 2008

Associated names

Dr. Norbert Felicien Vigneron
Dr. Charles A. Vigneron
Mary Taylor
William Vigneron Taylor
Harriet Hamilton Gilpin
Laura Taylor Carey
Katharine Clark West
William A. West
Katharine Anne West
Inez Oatfield West


The removable canvas-roofed hood, with a superstructure supported by a single medial longitudinal batten and two incurvate brackets, is surmounted by three small rectangular plinths supporting urn form finials with carved flames. The frieze above the main entablature contains a large, shallow, single-piece cove molding and a single-piece small crown above a veneered panel. In the entablature below are the same large cove atop a single-piece cornice molding, with triangular blocking, above a veneered frieze and a small architrave molding, arched in front, forming a frame above the hinged door. The hood sides consist of tall stiles, tenoned through the transverse boards of the hood base and joined by vertical rails, enclosing rectangular glazed portals. The backer board of quarter-round colonettes at the back of the hood creates a rabbet which allows the hood to fit over the case?s backboard. The hood backboard is nailed with brads to the rear stiles of the hood sides. The hood?s proper right three-quarter-round colonette is integral with the arched, molded and glazed door, which opens to a brass dial and works. The colonette is half-lapped to its stiles; the joint is wood pinned, visible inside the door only. The hood slides onto hood glides nailed to the case sides with rosehead nails and rests on a two-part beaded cove molding and its trapezoidal blocking. The base has been substantially restored. Examined by P. E. Kane and J. N. Johnson, March 24, 2014; notes compiled by T. B. Lloyd.


The columns may have originally ebonized. Paper labels on inside of case have provenance.


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), 98, 100, 155, 156n4, fig. 3.
Donald L. Fennimore and Frank L. Hohmann III, Claggett: Newport's Illustrious Clockmakers (Winterthur, Del.: Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library, 2018), 243, WC-40.