A fantastic tall case clock that is wonderfully decorated with inlays. This case was most likely made in Central, Massachusetts, possibly Sutton. YY47

This nicely proportioned tall case clock is constructed primarily in cherry, and New England white pine is used as a secondary wood. Additional woods used in creating the inlays consist of various grades of mahogany, birch, and maple. The case features an appropriate orange shellac finish that promotes the texture, contrast in color, and grain exhibited in the panels.

This case is elevated on four boldly formed ogee bracket feet. The form exhibits excellent height, and a long spur or return is incorporated in the design. The feet are delicate, and it is remarkable that they have survived. They are applied to a molding that is secured to the base. The base panel is framed with a narrow cross-banded mahogany border. A line of string inlay frames the interior of this banding. Each of the four corners is fitted with quarter fans. The five individual blades used vary in their shading. In the center of the base panel is a full patera. This is formatted like the quarter fans in terms of its coloring. The waist section is long and is fitted with a tomb-stone-shaped waist door. This door features the same cross-banded border exhibited on the base panel. It is also trimmed with a simple molded edge. The center of the waist door is inlaid with an additional full patera. An inlaid half fan is positioned in the arch of this door. Open the door, and one will access the two drive weights and brass-faced pendulum bob. The corners of the case are fitted with fluted quarter columns. These terminate at both ends in turned wooden quarter capitals. The bonnet or hood is fitted with an unusual New England style pierced fretwork pattern. It is uncommon in that it features a star opening on both sides. Three fluted chimneys or final plinths support this fretwork. Each of these is capped at the top and supports a brass finial. Fully turned and fluted bonnet columns or colonnettes visually support the upper bonnet moldings. These are mounted in brass capitals and are free-standing. The sides of the hood are fitted with diamond-shaped sidelights, and they are fitted with glass. The arched bonnet door is also cross-banded and line inlaid. This door is fitted with glass and opens to access the painted iron dial.

This imported English dial is fitted with a false plate. The time track is done in two different formats. The hours are indicated in large Roman-style numerals. The five-minute markers are painted in Arabic form. A subsidiary seconds dial and month calendar can be seen inside the time ring. The four spandrel areas are colorfully decorated with floral patterns. Florals patterns are also painted inside the time ring. In the arch of this dial, one will find a moon phase mechanism or lunar calendar. The lunar calendar or moon phase mechanism is a mechanical almanac. This feature was most likely made on special order due to the extra work involved in producing it. This display would have been valuable to several occupations during the colonial era. Farmers were known to track the moon phase to anticipate the days that offered the most available moonlight. A bright night would be more beneficial to them in scheduling the tilling and harvesting of their fields. Sailors and merchants track the lunar phases to know when the high tide would allow their ships to sail easily from a port or when the fishing might be best. Numerous religious groups had an almost superstitious litany of rituals best performed by lunar events. The actual lunar month represents an inconvenient interval of 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes, and 2.8 seconds. A tall clock’s lunar calendar is set constant at 29.5 days, representing a complete cycle. As a result, a 9-hour setback is required to keep the lunar display current at the end of a single year. The areas traditionally formatted with depictions of the hemispheres are painted decorated with pastoral settings.

This fine movement is constructed in brass and is of good quality. Four turned pillars support the two brass plates. The plates are a complete rectangle. These pillars are an unusual form in that they incorporate a cone design in their structure. 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 for eight days. It 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 mounted above the movement.

This clock was made circa 1800. It stands approximately 7 feet 8 inches tall or 92 inches tall to the top of the center finial. This case is 20.5 inches wide and 11 inches deep at the upper bonnet molding.


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