William Cummens of Roxbury, Massachusetts.
This is a fine inlaid mahogany case tall clock exhibiting excellent proportions and a painted dial signed by the Roxbury, Massachusetts Clockmaker, William Cummens.
This is a very nice example having traditional Roxbury proportions and construction characteristics. It is constructed in mahogany and New England white pine is used as a secondary wood. The case is line inlaid with satin wood. The current orange shellac based finish is appropriate and professionally applied. The color and depth are excellent and it gives one a good visual interpretation of what this clock case would have looked like when first constructed and delivered. This example stands on four nicely formed applied ogee bracket feet. These are applied to a double stepped molding located at the bottom of the base. The base panel is line inlaid. The delicate stringing forms a box in the base panel. This inlay detail features nicely relieved corners. This pattern is repeated in the long rectangular shaped waist door. Please note the quality of the mahogany used in waist door and base panel locations. The grain pattern exhibited features wonderful modeling. The waist section of this clock case is long and narrow. It is fitted with a long rectangular waist door. This is trimmed with an applied molding. Through this door, one can gain access to the interior of the case. Brass stopped fluted quarter columns flank the sides. These terminate in brass quarter capitals. The bonnet columns are also stopped fluted with brass and are fitted into brass capitals. These are free standing and visually support the molded arch. A pierced and open fretwork pattern surmounts the top of the bonnet. It incorporates three brass ball and spiked finials that are mounted on fluted chimney plinths. The arched bonnet door is fitted with glass. It opens to access the painted iron dial.
This painted dial is signed by the clockmaker, “Wm. Cummens. WARRANTED” just below the center arbor. The signature is framed by a decorative wreath. This formatting is very unusual. Typically, one would expect to find the calendar day displayed in this location. This signature is original to this clock. This movement was never fitted with a calendar mechanism. Colorful floral patterns decorate each of the four spandrel areas and the arch of the dial. The time is displayed in a traditional format. Roman numerals mark the hours and Arabic numerals are used to indicate each of the five minute markers and seconds.
The movement is constructed in brass. It is weight powered, wound with a crank key and designed to run for an eight-day duration. It is good quality. This clock will also strike each hour on a bell which is mounted above the movement.
This clock was made circa 1795 and stands 7 feet 11 inches tall. This clock is inventory No. 28122.
About William Cummens of Roxbury, Massachusetts.
William Cummens was born 1768 and died on April 20, 1834 at the age of 66. He worked in Roxbury as a clockmaker as early as 1789 through 1834. He was trained by Simon Willard and along with Elnathan Taber, Cummens stayed in Roxbury and made many clocks for his own clients while maintaining a close working relationship with the Willard family. In this Roxbury location, Cummens had direct access to the same suppliers, such case makers and dial painters that the Willards used. As a result, his clocks are very similar in form. He was one of the first persons authorized by Simon Willard to manufacture the new patent timepiece. Over the past 45 plus years in business, we have owned and sold many tall case clocks, Massachusetts shelf clocks and wall timepieces signed by this important clockmaker. Very few tall case examples are found with his original set up label.
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