This clock case is eloquent testimony that John Townsend's later block-and-shell pieces were among his most masterful achievements. It is also the only signed Townsend piece with stop-fluted quarter columns and its original reeded-urn finials. The clock movement and dial are by William Tomlinson of London (active 1733). William Claggett's death in 1749 left Newport without a master clockmaker, so it is not surprising that some of the finest tall clock cases made there house movements by English makers. In his will, Townsend left his son, John, his own clock "made by Storr of London" (Marmaduke Storr, active 1755-79).
Inscription: [in ink, printed on paper label in upper center of backboard]: MADE BY/JOHN TOWNSEND [in ink, inscribed on paper label in upper center of backboard]: Newport Rhode Island 1789 [engraved on dial name boss]: William/Tomlinson/London [in chalk, on backboard behind movement, a characteristic large Townsend finishing mark]: A (superimposed) M
Probably purchased by George Champlin (died 1809), Newport, Rhode Island; his wife's niece Ruth Channing Tenney and her husband Caleb Jewett Tenney, Newport, Rhode Island, 1809; their daughter Elizabeth Tenney Allen, Northampton, Massachusetts, before 1865; her daughter Clara Channing Allen, Northampton, Massachusetts; purchased from her in 1927 by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.