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Tall case clock

Object number



Clockmaker William Claggett, 1694–1749
Casemaker Unknown


89 19 1/2 9 3/4 in. (226.1 49.5 24.8 cm)



Current location



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


Walnut (primary); walnut (top of hood and dial mat; yellow poplar (back of hood); pine (back board and core of cove molding at top of waist)


"Will Claggett / Newport," engraved on plaque on dial


John S. Walton, Inc., New York; sold to Richard and Kay Barrett, Cincinnati, then Carmel, California; consigned to Christie's, New York, June 17, 1997, lot 299. Christie's, January 16, 1998, lot 423

Associated names

Richard Barrett
Kay Barrett
John S. Walton, Inc.


The roof of the removable hood is a small rectangular board with a shaped edge, below which is a large cove molding whose sections are fixed to each other with wood-filled fasteners. Below is a pulvinated section whose parts are similarly connected. The main entablature below consists of a beaded crown molding, a plain frieze, and a large architrave molding, fixed to the frieze with wood-filled fasteners; the frieze board is similarly attached to elements within the hood. The hood backboard consists of two horizontal boards, their lateral edges shaped to align with the profiles of the hood?s moldings. The narrow, upper board is fixed with rosehead and other nails to the roof and to blocking below it. The larger board below is fixed with rosehead nails to the back edges of the entablature. At the end of the joint between the two boards is a small, shallow cavity, probably for (now missing) countersunk nails, which fastened the edges of the boards to the superstructure side walls. Inside the hood is a longitudinal ceiling board, into which is cut a large triangular opening with chamfered edges. The single-board hood sides contain rectangular portals; their glass is secured by beaded cove moldings fixed with wood-filled fasteners. To the case sides? back edges are fixed with rosehead nails narrow vertical boards with integral quarter columns. The bottoms of these boards are flush with the bottom of the rails of the hood base. The top of the proper left quarter column is fixed to its vertical board with a wood-filled fastener. The proper right quarter column contains several such fasteners. The rails of the dial mat are half-lapped to their stiles; the stiles? bottoms are visible at the hood base, and the proper left end of the upper rails is visible in the outside face of the proper left case side. The dial mat?s bottom rail and the bottom of the hood sides are fixed to the hood base?s rails with a variety of fasteners. Those rails meet in front in a chamfer joint; to their outside edge is fixed a small molding with wood-filled fasteners. The hinged, glazed hood door has integral three-quarter round colonnettes. Its stiles are half-lapped and wood-pinned to its rails. A screw head in the bottom face of the proper left outside corners of the base?s front rail appears to be part of the door?s swinging mechanism. A large cove molding at the top of the waist is assembled and fixed to the case with wood-filled fasteners. There is a large triangular block behind it. The rails of the waist are half-lapped to the stiles, and the stiles, at their outside front edges, are fixed to the front edges of the waist sides with wood-filled fasteners. There appears to be no glue blocks inside the case?s waist. Two flush, dovetail-shaped battens are set into the back face of the lipped, single board waist door. The upper batten contains an empty screw hole. A single-piece ogee molding at the transition from waist to base is attached with wood-filled fasteners. The front panel of the base is fixed with wood-filled fasteners to the front edges of the side panels, and the single-piece base molding is similarly attached to the front and side panels. Examined by P.E. Kane, March 22, 2019; notes compiled T. B. Lloyd.


Christie's, New York, Highly Important American Furniture, Silver, Paintings, Prints, Folk Art, and Decorative Arts, sale cat. (January 16, 1998), 154, lot 423, ill.
Christie's, New York, The Collection of Kay and Richard Barrett: Important American and English Furniture, including Needlework and Decorative Arts, sale cat. (June 17, 1997), 105, lot 299.
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), 111n7.
Donald L. Fennimore and Frank L. Hohmann III, Claggett: Newport's Illustrious Clockmakers (Winterthur, Del.: Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library, 2018), 146, 164–65, 240, no. 3, WC-3, fig. 5.14.
The Claggetts of Newport: Master Clockmakers in Colonial America, exh. cat. (Newport, R I.: Redwood Library and Athenaeum, 2019), 26, ill.