Unsigned gilt lyre timepiece attributed to David Wood of Newburyport, Massachusetts.

This is a very attractive example. The form is outstanding. The case is constructed in mahogany and retains its original finish. The finial, the frames and the bracket retain their original gilding. The color of the gilding is first rate and it is in stable condition.

The top of the case is fitted with a carved wooden floral finial. It is finished with a gilded surface. This is mounted on a slightly tapered plinth and is secured to the circular head of the case. A cast brass bezel, which is fitted with glass protects the dial. This bezel is hinged and opens to allow one access to the hands and winding square. This painted iron dial is in excellent condition. The hours are indicated Roman style numerals. The hands are steel and simply formed. They exhibited some hand filing. Behind the dial, is a brass construcetd movement that is powered by a weight. It is designed to run eight days on a full wind. Please note the unusually shaped plates. This feature has been found on other David Wood signed clocks and is well documented in Paul J. Foley’s book, “Willard’s Patent Time Pieces.” This movement is secured to the case via a single screw that mounts through the backboard into the backplate. The weight is cast in iron and is original to the clock. The pendulum hangs from a post mount to the front plate. It is fitted with a brass faced bob. The throat frame is elaborately carved. It is from the shape of this frame that this clock form gets its name. The shape of this frame is similar to that of musical harp or lyre a instrument. This theme is reenforced by the painted decoration displayed on the glass. This frame is fitted with a reverse painted tablet. Painted gilt, red and black striping are formatted in an alternating pattern. This is positioned verticly and simulates the strings of a harp. The background color here was originally white and has turned to a much darker shade. This glass has not been repainted. Why it turned to a darker color is unknown to me. The back of this glass is untouched. This tablet does have two cracks in its oanel. They are difficult to see and are somewhat hidden by the design of the clock. The lower door is constructed with slightly convex shaped rails that terminate at the corners with raised blocks. This framing is also gilded and is fitted with a reverse painted tablet. This tablet is a modern copy of the original. It has been skillfully reproduced. The original tablet survives and remains with the sale of the clock. It is cracked in several locations so the past owner had this one made to replace it. The vast majority of the artwork on the original tablet is in good overall condition. The lower door allows one access to the interior of the case where the brass faced pendulum bob is located. The lower section of the case is fitted with a presentation bracket. This gilded bracket is outstanding. It is carved and the central theme is a seashell. It is unusual to find a wall timepiece that features such a wonderful display of hand carving skills. The work is excellent.

This fine clock measures approximately 41 inches long and was made circa 1830.

For more information regarding David Wood and wall timepieces, please read Paul J. Foley’s book, “Willard’s Patent Time Pieces.”

About David Wood of Newburyport, Massachusetts.

David Wood was born the son of John and Eunice Wood in Newburyport, Massachusetts on July 5, 1766. It is thought that he may have been apprenticed to either Daniel Balch Senior or one of the members of the Mulliken family. All of whom were prominent Clockmakers in this region. On June 13, 1792, David advertised that he had set up a shop in Market Square, near Reverend Andrews Meeting House, where he made and sold clocks. Three short years latter, he married Elizabeth Bird in 1795. It has become evident, that David Wood was also a Retailer. In 1806, he advertised that he had for sale “Willard’s best Patent Timepieces, for as low as can be purchased in Roxbury.” In the year 1818, he and Abel Moulton, a local silversmith, moved into the shop formerly occupied by Thomas H. Balch. In 1824 he advertised that he had moved on the westerly side of Market Square opposite the Market House. After his wife’s death in 1846, he moved to Lexington to live near is son David, who was a merchant in that town.

It has become quite obvious to us that David Wood was a very successful Clockmaker and Retailer of Clocks. Over the last 40 plus years of being in the business of selling clocks, we have sold many examples of wall, shelf, and tall case clocks bearing this Maker’s signature on the dial.

For more information about this clock click  here .