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

Object number



Clockmaker Thomas Claggett, ca. 1730–1797
Casemaker Unknown


Height, with finials: 94 in. (238.76 cm) Width: 22 1/4 in. (56.52 cm) Depth: 11 in. (27.94 cm)


ca. 1775

Current location

Private Collection


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


Mahogany (primary); mahogany (dial mat); pine (back of hood and blocks on case interior, core of moldings at top of waist, blocks behind quarter columns, and brackets of rear feet), chestnut (top boards of hood and guides for hood); maple (base of hood); cherry (saddleboard)


"Thomas Clagget Newport," engraved on an arched nameplate below central arbor




Gary R. Sullivan Antiques, Inc., Sharon, Massachusetts, 2007; sold to a private collection, 2007

Associated names

Gary R. Sullivan Antiques, Inc.


The removable hood has a roof of thin boards shaped to align with its arched fašade and nailed with brads to its entablature in front and its arched backboard behind. The bottom of the hood backboard is flat and rabbeted to fit over the top of the case backboard. The single-piece cornice molding, at the center of which is a ressaulted keystone with a fluted frieze, is nailed to the hood with brads. The hood supports three plain rectangular plinths, each bearing a spherical, fluted finial with corkscrew flame. The front and side boards of the entablature meet in half-blind dovetail joints, each showing a large, finely cut narrow-necked pin. A single-piece architrave molding is nailed to the hood with brads. Boards behind the front of the hood are screwed to the back of the entablature. Vertical triangular glue blocks occupy the joint between these boards and the four-board hood sides, which have rectangular glazed portals, set into grooves in the transverse boards of the hood and rabbeted in back to fit over the case back. The half-round, single-piece fluted colonettes at the back of the hood appear to be doweled into the hood base below (where circular holes are visible) and tenoned to the bottom of the entablature above, where a fastener within a rectangular indentation reinforces the joint. The boards of the hood base are nailed with brads to the elements above. A single-piece molding slightly proud of the bottom of the hood base?s underside and nailed to it with brads allows the hood to fit over the beaded cove molding and its triangular blocking at the top of the case?s waist. Filler strips at either side of the top of the case?s backboard are nailed to it with brads. The arched, molded, glazed door opens to a brass dial and works. The hood guides, nailed to the extension of the single-board case waist sides, appear to have been flipped. Within the front corners of the case waist are substantial vertical blocks to support the stop-fluted quarter columns. The rails of the waist case front are lapped over the case sides and tenoned to their stiles without wood pins. The rails of the arched, lipped, thumb-molded waist door are through-tenoned to their stiles. Within the stiles and rails of the door?s inside face is an ogee molding nailed with brads. The convex-blocked outside panel and separate carved shell are applied by invisible means. The stiles and rails of the front of the base are mitered, centering a rectangular molded panel and flanked by chamfered corners above solid lamb?s tongue bases. The base molding is applied with wood-filled fasteners. The back brackets of the rear feet are simple straight-profiled triangular boards. Their blocking is replaced. The back face of the side facing ogee-bracket of the rear feet has an incurvate ogee profile. Examined by P. E. Kane and J. N. Johnson, July 1, 2014; notes compiled by T. B. Lloyd.


Movement: 8-day brass time and strike


"Thomas Claggett, Newport R.I.," (accessed May 16, 2011), fig. 1.
"Gary R. Sullivan Antiques, Inc., advertisement," Antiques 175, no.1 (January 2009): 94, ill.
Frank L. Hohmann III et al., Timeless: Masterpiece American Brass Dial Clocks (New York: Hohmann Holdings, 2009), 278–279, no. 82, 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), 103, 295–297, no. 56, fig. 1.
Gary R. Sullivan and Kate Van Winkle Keller, Musical Clocks of Early America, 1730–1830: A Catalogue RaisonnÚ (North Grafton, Mass.: Willard House and Clock Museum, 2017), 78–80, fig. 30, 30–D.
Donald L. Fennimore and Frank L. Hohmann III, Claggett: Newport's Illustrious Clockmakers (Winterthur, Del.: Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library, 2018), 152–55, 222–23, 247, no. 23, TC-7, fig. 5.53.
The Claggetts of Newport: Master Clockmakers in Colonial America, exh. cat. (Newport, R I.: Redwood Library and Athenaeum, 2019), 33, ill.