A high style inlaid mahogany case tall clock. The best that colonial New Hampshire had to offer. Similar examples are known with signed dials by the Concord New Hampshire clockmaking brothers, Levi Hutchins and Abel Hutchins.220060

This very interesting and complex example features excellent proportions and form. It is constructed in a variety of woods that include mahogany, mahogany veneers, curly maple, bird’s-eye maple, rosewood and white pine. The case stands on nicely formed flared French feet. These retain excellent height and are applied to the bottom of the case. The lower visual line transitions from the feet, smoothly up into the drop apron below the base panel. The feet are visually separated from the base by a triple line inlay pattern that frames the four sides of the base. Stepped in from the outer edge of the base is a broad section of figured mahogany. This is used as cross-banded border. An applied molding frames the center section of vibrantly figured crotch mahogany veneer. The transition from the base to the waist is accomplished so with a shaped waist molding. The waist section is fitted with a large rectangular shaped waist door that is trimmed with an applied molding. Through this door one can access the clock’s tin can drive weights and brass faced pendulum bob. This door is decoratively veneered. The center panel is veneered in bird’s-eye maple. The light colored wood has a very interesting grain presentation. This is framed with a broadly formatted cross-banded mahogany border. The outer edge is trimmed with a complex line inlaid pattern. The sides of the waist are fitted with brass stop fluted quarter columns that terminate in brass quarter capitals at each end. These are blocked with decorative inlaid panels, top and bottom. The bonnet is surmounted with a New England style pierced and open fret work decoration, three capped finial plinth and three brass ball and spire finials. The bonnet columns are also brass stop fluted and are supported by brass capitals. These flank the arched door. The prevailing inlay pattern is repeated in this location. This door opens to allow one access to the painted iron dial.

This iron dial is of Boston origin and was most likely manufactured by the Nolen dial firm. It features gilt decorations in each of the four spandrel areas. These are surrounded by raised gesso decorations that are highlighted in gilt paint. The automated feature of a lunar calendar is located in the arch of this dial. A lunar calendar or moon phase mechanism is located in the arch of this dial. This mechanical almanac is thought to have been a special order function. It would have been a valuable addition. Farmers would have use for this calendar display in order to anticipate the nights with the most available moonlight. This would aide them in scheduling their planting, tilling of the fields and harvesting. Sailors and merchants would find it helpful to know when moon might greatly affect high tide. This would allow their ships to sail from many of the shallower coastal ports. Many religious groups had an almost superstitious litany of rituals best performed in accordance with lunar events. One other use would be the scheduling of traveling by moonlight at night. A full moon, often provides ample light to do so. The lunar month represents an inconvenient interval of 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes and 2.8 seconds. A clocks lunar calendar is set at 29.5 days from new moon to new moon, a full cycle. This would require just a 9 hour setback at the end of a single year. This dial displays the time in a traditional format having large Roman numerals that mark the each of the twelve hours. Arabic numerals are positioned at the five minute marker locations. A subsidiary seconds dial is located below the Roman hour numeral XII. The hands are nicely formed.

The movement is constructed in brass and is good quality. Four turned pillars support the two large brass plates. Hardened steel shafts support the polished steel pinions and brass gearing. The winding drums are grooved. The escapement is designed as a recoil format. The movement is weight driven and designed to run eight-days on a full wind. The movement is a two train or a time and strike design having a rack and snail striking system. As a result, it will strike each hour on the hour. This is done on a cast iron bell which is mounted above the movement.

This clocks stands approximately 8 feet 4 inches (100 inches) tall to the top of the center brass finial. It is 21.5 inches wide and 10.25 inches deep. This clock was made circa 1810.

A closely related tall clock case is now on display at the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, New Hampshire.

220060

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