Tall clock

Maker: Case by John Townsend (1732–1809)

Maker: Movement by William Tomlinson (active 1733)

Date: 1789

Geography: Made in Newport, Rhode Island, United States

Culture: American

Medium: Mahogany, cherry, chestnut, oak

Dimensions: 98 1/4 x 22 x 11 1/8 in. (249.6 x 55.9 x 28.3 cm)

Classification: Furniture

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1927

Accession Number: 27.57.2


This clock case, with its arched top and block-and-shell door, is of a type widely popular in the late eighteenth century in Newport and Providence, Rhode Island. However, it is exceptional in the elegance of its design and the precision of its execution, qualities readily explained by the presence inside of the label of John Townsend, one of the most accomplished of Newport cabinetmakers. The workmanship is entirely consistent with that of Townsend's other documented case furniture, such as his chest (27.57.1). The brass clock dial bears the name of William Tomlinson, a London clockmaker active in the 1730s. Presumably, his clockworks were first housed in an early eighteenth-century case until, in 1789, Townsend was commissioned to make a new one.