David Williams of Newport, Rhode Island. Tall case clock.
This a fine cross banded mahogany case tall clock was made by David Williams of Newport, Rhode Island.
This case is primarily constructed in mahogany, mahogany veneers, sheoak banding and New England white pine is used as a secondary wood. It retains an older finish that has nicely mellowed over the years. This is a later example. The case stands on four nicely shaped or flared French feet. These transition smoothly into nicely formed apron that hangs from the center of the bottom of base. This section is cross banded with a sheoak veneer banding. This frames a mahogany selection of wood that features long gentle lines. The waist section is fitted with a long rectangular waist door. This door is also cross banded in sheoak banding. A simple cock-beaded molding is fitted around the perimeter of this door. The sides of the waist are fitted with reeded quarter columns that terminate in brass quarter capitals. The bonnet or hood features a traditional New England fretwork pattern. This is supported by three reeded finial plinths. Each is capped and is surmounted by three brass ball and spike finials. Smoothly turned bonnet columns ending in brass capitals flank the hood door. The bonnet door is fitted with glass and opens to a nicely paint decorated dial.
This dial is of Boston manufacture. It is an iron dial that is attached directly to the movement with out the use of a false plate. It was most likely painted by the Curtis & Nolen firm of Boston circa 1817. It is skillfully decorated featuring traditional themes for this period. The four spandrel areas are decorated with stylized urns and heavy gesso work. The gesso is applied to the dial surface and then painted in gilt. In the arch, one will find a lunar calendar or moon phase mechanism. The time track is framed with two gilt circles. The hours are displayed in Roman numerals. The five minute markers are indicated in an Arabic style. This dial also shows the seconds and the date of the month.
The movement is brass, eight-day duration and of good quality. It is weight driven and features a rack and snail strike system and a recoil escapement. It is designed to run for eight days on a full wind and strikes each hour on a bell. The original wooden stick pendulum features a brass faced bob.
This case measures approximately 7 feet 8.5 inches tall to the top of the center brass finial and was made circa 1817.
About David Williams of Newport, Rhode Island.
David Williams clockmaker, watchmaker, silversmith and jeweler was born in Rochester, MA in 1769. He is listed in Paul Foley’s book, “Willard’s Patent Timepieces” as working in both Newport and Providence, Rhode Island and began his clock making career sometime around 1790. He was one of, if not the most prolific clockmakers in Rhode Island. We have owned many tall clocks, Massachusetts Shelf clocks and banjo clocks in the recent past. It is interesting to note that we know who made the banjo clock cases for Williams. A probate court record exists that indicates that John Young performed this service. David Williams died in Newport on June 29, 1823 at the age of 54.
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