John Bailey Jr. of Hanover, Massachusetts

A mahogany veneered tall case clock signed on the dial by John Bailey Jr., of Hanover, Massachusetts.

This fine example features a case that is veneered in figured mahogany. The veneer selected features long sweeping grain patterns which are prominently displayed in the construction of the case. This case stands four flared French feet. They are wonderfully elevated and transition to a drop apron or curtain in the center of the case. The base panel features a cross banded border. This frames a figured panel. The base transitions to the waist through a compressed waist molding. The waist is long and narrow. This section centers a rectangular door that is fitted with an applied molding. The door is crossbanded in mahogany around the outer edge. The sides of the waist are fitted with inset quarter columns that are boldly reeded. They terminate in brass quarter capitals. The hood or bonnet is surmounted by three capped finial plinths or chimneys. They are surmounted by three wooden finials in the form of urns. The plinths also help support a very attractive pierced and open fret work pattern. This design is traditionally found in Southeastern New England. Fully turned and nicely shaped reeded bonnet columns ending brass capitals flank the bonnet door. The bonnet or hood door is fitted with glass and opens to allow one access the the painted iron dial.

This dial was painted in Boston. It was most likely painted by Samuel Curtis due to the stylistic design. Each of the four spandrel areas are decorated with colorfully geometric patterns. A gilt circle is positioned outside the time ring. This time ring is formatted with Roman hour numerals, Arabic five minute markers and a subsidiary seconds dial. The calendar day is displayed in a small aperture under the center arbor. In the arch is a lunar calendar or a moonphase mechanism. This dial is signed by the Maker. His signature is wonderfully displayed in a fluid script format. The working location of “HANOVER” is displayed in block lettering. This dial is secured to the movement without the use of a falseplate.

This movement is constructed in brass and is good quality. It is weight driven and designed to run eight days on a full wind. It is 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 clock stands approximately 92 inches tall to the top of the finial and was made circa 1820. This clock is inventory number NN-3.

About John Bailey Jr., of Hanover, Massachusetts.

John Bailey Jr. a Quaker, was born in 1787. He was born into an active clockmaking family that had be working at manufacturing clock since the mid 1780’s. It is believed that was trained by his father, John II. In 1809, when he finished his apprenticeship, he moved to Portland,Maine and met and married Anna Taber the daughter of a prominent Quaker merchant in Portland. By 1811, they returned to Hanover. It is interesting to note that he had a fair amount a business in the South. in the winter he would travel to places like North Carolina and repair clocks. He also contracted to manufacture clocks for a number of Southern residents. In 1823, his father died and John Jr. moved to New Bedford. In 1848, he moves to Lynn, Massachusetts where he died in 1883. John was active in the antislavery movement for many years. His activism cost him substantial business losses over time. Over the years, we have owned a fair number of clocks made by him. Some of which included tall case clocks, dwarf clocks and the Massachusetts shelf clock form.

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