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Photo: Courtesy The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, The Bayou Bend Collection, Gift of Miss Ima Hogg, B.59.83
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Tall case clock


Object number

RIF392

Maker

Casemaker Unknown
Clockmaker Edward Spalding, American, 1732?1785

Dimensions

100 3/4 × 21 1/2 × 11 3/4 in. (255.906 × 54.61 × 29.845 cm)

Date

1765–85

Current location

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Geography

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

Medium

Mahogany (primary); chestnut (backboards) white oak (seat board); black cherry (interior base strips of hood); eastern white pine (hood cover and top and sides of inner face frame); southern yellow pine (bottom member of inner face frame); cherry (blocks of case interior)

Marks

"Spalding / Providence," engraved on silvered nameplate

Inscriptions

"The man is yet unborn that only weighs an hour," engraved, on dial arch; mathematical calculations, in chalk, on interior top of case backboard; arch of waist door, incised on interior case back

Style

Chippendale

Provenance

By descent in the Calder family, Providence, Rhode Island. Dr. John T. Germon, Evanston, Illinois. Israel Sack, Inc., New York; sold to Ima Hogg (1882–1975), Houston, 1959; given to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1959

Associated names

Calder family
Dr. John T. Germon
Israel Sack, Inc.
Ima Hogg

Construction

The removable hood has a roof of three boards, shaped to align with its arched façade and nailed with brads to its frieze board at the front and sides, and to the top of its arched backboard, which is nailed from behind into the side frieze boards. The single-piece cornice molding, at the arched center of which is a ressaulted keystone with a fluted frieze is fixed to the hood with wood-filled fasteners. Three plinths sit upon the hood, each supporting a partially fluted spherical finial with corkscrew flame. Apparently integral with the central plinth is a carved floral element directly above the keystone. The single piece architrave molding is nailed to the frieze with brads. The sides of the hood, which have no portals, are fixed with rosehead nails to the side frieze boards. A thin, arched board is nailed with brads to the front frieze board inside the hood. The transverse boards of the hood base are nailed with three brads apiece into the bottom of the hood sides. A cove molding is nailed with brads to the front of the hood base. The fluted half-colonettes at the back of the hood are tenoned into the hood base below and the frieze boards above. Their separate base and capital molding fit around each tenon shaft. A cove molding is nailed with brads to the hood base. An arched, molded, glazed hinged door sits within a rabbeted frame and opens to a brass movement and dial, which sit upon the tops of the single-board case sides. The hood fits over blocking nailed to the tops of the case sides and rests upon a single-piece beaded cove molding and its triangular blocking. The case back is a continuous vertical board (with a later vertical repair strip) to which filler strips, attached with rosehead nails at the waist, and nailed with brads into blocking in the base, are added. The front stiles of the case?s waist lap over the case?s sides. The convex, carved shell in the arched, thumb-molded case door is applied; the convex-blocked door is a single piece. A single-piece molding with three-part blocking marks the transition from waist to base. The frame around the molded rectangular base panel is mitered at the corners. The base molding and ogee-bracket feet are attached directly to the lower case sides. The back brackets of the rear feet are continuations of the filler strips at the bottom of the case back. Examined by P. E. Kane and J. N. Johnson, August 12, 2014; notes compiled by T. B. Lloyd.

Bibliography

American Antiques from Israel Sack Collection, 10 vols. (Washington, D.C.: Highland House Publishers, 1957–1989), vol. 1, p. 7, no. 21, ill.
David B. Warren, "American Decorative Arts in Texas: The Bayou Bend Collection of the Museum of Fine Arts of Houston," Antiques 90, no. 6 (December 1966): 796–797.
David B. Warren, Bayou Bend: American Furniture, Paintings, and Silver from the Bayou Bend Collection (Houston: Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1975), 69, fig. 136.
David B. Warren et al., American Decorative Arts and Paintings in the Bayou Bend Collection, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (Houston: Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1998), 75–76, no. F124, ill.
Frank L. Hohmann III et al., Timeless: Masterpiece American Brass Dial Clocks (New York: Hohmann Holdings, 2009), 294–295, no. 90, 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), 111n18.