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 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).