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Photo: Courtesy Winterthur Museum and Country Estate, Del., Photo by Laszlo Bodo
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Tall case clock

Object number



Clockmaker William Claggett, 1694–1749
Decorator Robert Davis, American, died 1739
Casemaker Unknown


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



Current location

The Rhode Island Historical Society


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


Pine with japanned decoration


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


"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


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 Anthony Dyer (died 1979), Providence, Rhode Island; bequeathed to the Rhode Island Historical Society, Providence, 1979

Associated names

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


Robert P. Emlen, "A Masterful William Claggett Clock: A Short Story in a Tall Case," Antiques 118, no. 3 (September 1980): 502–507, ill.
Joseph Downs, "American Japanned Furniture," Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 28, no. 3 (March 1933): 42.
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.
Donald L. Fennimore and Frank L. Hohmann III, Claggett: Newport's Illustrious Clockmakers (Winterthur, Del.: Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library, 2018), 25, 59–62, 140, 194–97, 244, no. 14, WC-55, fig. 1.31, 1.32, 1.33, 1.34, 1.35,1.36,1.37,1.38,1.39,1.40, 1.75, 5.2.