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Tall case clock

Object number



Casemaker Unknown
Clockmaker Henry Snelling, Swiss, active London 1770 - 1775


90 1/4 18 9 1/2 in. (229.24 45.72 24.13 cm)



Current location

Private Collection


Probably made in Newport, Rhode Island
(view a map of Rhode Island)


Mahogany (primary); mahogany (blocks at case front); chestnut (back board, back of hood, top of hood, remains of bottom board, and filler behind molding of hood); pine (filler blocks behind top molding of case); oak (saddleboard); yellow poplar (mat board); maple (base of hood)


“Henry Snelling / London,” engraved on brass boss in dial arch; “S,” engraved on back of date wheel


Possibly “GH" or "JH" [intertwined],” in graphite, on interior case back; illegible graphite, on interior of hood arch [at top]


Purchased in Warwick, Rhode Island, by the father-in-law of the owner, in 1970


The arched hood?s roof is fixed with brads and rosehead nails into a rabbet in the arched cornice molding in front and directly to the tops of the hood sides and back, and to a transverse batten set into the cornice molding and back board. The single-piece frieze and architrave moldings are fixed to the hood by one face nail and largely invisible means. The arched hood backboard is nailed into rabbets at the back of the entablature boards and has a rabbeted skirt allowing it to fit over the case backboard. Each hood side consists of four vertical pieces ? two taller stiles and two vertical rails ? centering a rectangular glazed portal and set into a groove in the transverse rail of the hood base frame. The hood sides are further joined to the base frame by brads visible in the transverse rails? undersides. The longitudinal front rail of the hood base is tenoned and wood pinned to the sides? rails. The arched top rail of the dial mat is nailed to the inside of the entablature. Its top and bottom rails are tenoned into the vertical stiles, which are held into the case with small rectilinear vertical glue blocks. The vertical thumb-molded stiles of the arched, thumb-molded and glazed door, which opens to a brass movement and works, are tenoned without wood pins to the rails. A carved scrolling keystone element is mounted (upside-down) between projecting portions of the frieze and entablature moldings above the arched door. Of the three simple rectangular plinths atop the hood nailed to the frieze board with brads, only the flanking ones have turned, urnform finials with small corkscrew flames, which appear to be lacking intermediate elements. At the front of the hood are fluted colonettes; at the back are half round cutouts in the hood base and frieze indicating the former presence of half round colonettes. A single-piece molding nailed with brads to the hood base rails is slightly proud of their underside, allowing the hood to slide over the top of the single-piece beaded case molding and its triangular blocking, face-nailed on the proper left in an old repair. The rails of the waist are tenoned to their stiles without wood pins. The single-board door is arched, lipped, and thumb-molded and opens to a case with vertical chamfered glue blocks in the front corners. The single-piece ogee molding which marks the transition from waist to base is face-nailed with brads to the waist sides and rectangular blocking. The case back is a single piece augmented at the case and base by narrow vertical strips. The front base panel meets the side panels in half-lap joints. A base molding is attached with wood-filled fasteners, and the case bottom, as well as the feet, are missing. Examined by P.E. Kane, D. Carr, and J.N. Johnson, June 27, 2017; notes compiled by T.B. Lloyd.


The graphite mark is similar to that on RIF459, a Christopher Townsend desk.