image of object
Photo: Courtesy of Gary R. Sullivan, photo by David Hansen
Click the image to enlarge

Tall case clock

Object number



Clockmaker William Claggett, 1694–1749
Casemaker Unknown


92 21 3/4 9 1/2 in. (233.7 55.2 24.1 cm)



Current location



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


Walnut and walnut veneer (primary); maple (saddle board, front stiles, back board, battens of waist door, core of upper waist moldings, dial mat, guides for hood, backboard of hood, door of hood, and base of hood); pine (case sides, waist door, and board behind tympanum); yellow poplar(?) (boards applied to backboard at level of hood)


"W. Claggett / Newport," engraved on brass dial


"[pound sign] 9–4," in ink, inside top of backboard; "Robert C [torn] / Isaac Gree [torn] / Simon H [torn] / Joseph C [torn] / Isaac H [torn] Benjam [torn ] / Frances [torn] / [illegible] / W.," printed, on eighteenth-century laid paper, glued around edges of portal on proper-left hood interior; remnants of writing, in ink, on eighteenth-century laid paper, glued around lower edges of portal on proper-right hood interior; "Put In order June 23, 1919," in graphite, on label of Charles B. Wilcox, Taunton, Massachusetts, watch and clockmaker, inside waist door


E. Martin Wunsch (1924–2013), New York; consigned by his estate to Christie's, New York, January 23, 2015, lot 148

Associated names

E. Martin Wunsch


The removable hood has a later single-board roof, underneath which is an assembly of rectangular blocks and a longitudinal batten supporting a pulvinated molding, a cove molding, and two rectangular plinths upon which sit turned and carved urnform finials. The batten is set into vertical grooves in the hood sides. The hood backboard is nailed to the rear edges of the four-piece hood sides which are fixed with later screws into the backs of the veneered boards of the entablature. Each hood side centers an arched glazed portal with a quarter round molding integral with the top and bottom boards, but applied to the vertical side boards. The moldings at the hood include a small cap molding above a single-piece cornice molding and its trapezoidal blocking, and a small architrave molding below. The moldings and frieze are veneered in burl; some repairs are face-nailed with brads. The back edges of the frieze boards above and the vertical strips attached to the back edges of the hood sides below form a rabbet which allows the hood to slide over the case backboard. Each vertical strip provides a corner at the back of the hood in which a turned, ebonized, quarter round is set. The transverse boards of the hood base are tenoned without wood pins to the front board. Through-tenons of the hood sides above are visible in the underside of the transverse boards, whose inside edges contain holes for wood pins, some of which are now empty. In the front proper left outside corner of the front hood-base board?s underside is a hole possibly indicating the former presence of a pin securing the door to the base. The bottom of a small molding, proud of the hood?s base board?s bottom, allows the hood to slide over the two-part beaded cove molding and its trapezoidal blocking at the top of the case?s waist. The front part of this molding is veneered; the sides are solid. The stiles and rails of the arched dial mat are half-lapped together. The panel is held into the case with vertical glue blocks; its thumb-molded front face is ebonized. The stiles and rails of the hinged, arched, molded, veneered, ebonized and glazed hood door are half-lapped together. Turned three-quarter round colonnettes are attached to each side of the door; their capitals are held on with brads nailed from above. The veneered, mitered front of the waist?s stiles and rails center a rectangular cross-banded veneered hinged door whose half-round edge molding is face-nailed with brads. The door?s rails are lapped to the ends of its single-board vertical stile. Within the case are chamfered blocks in the front corners for the door?s (probably replaced) hinges. The front portion of the ogee molding atop the base consists of vertically cut, veneered molding sections; the side portions, face-nailed with brads without blocking, are horizontal. The base has been reduced in height; its front and side panels are very likely replacements. The case back is a single board, augmented by vertical strips at its hood and base. Examined by J. N. Johnson, J. S. Gordon and Gary Sullivan, January 21, 2015; notes compiled by T. B. Lloyd.


Christie's, New York, Important American Furniture, Outsider Art, and Folk Art, sale cat. (January 23, 2015), 122–125, lot 148, 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), 111nn9, 11.
The Claggetts of Newport: Master Clockmakers in Colonial America, exh. cat. (Newport, R I.: Redwood Library and Athenaeum, 2019), 17, ill.