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Tall Case Clock

Origin: America, Virginia, Fredericksburg
OH: 96 1/2"; OW" 20 7/8"; OD: 10 3/8"
Black walnut, yellow pine, oak, brass, iron, steel and glass
Gift of Elizabeth M. Nicholson
Acc. No. 2005-105,A&B
Tall case clock; reversed arch or “pagoda” shaped pediment surmounted with short plinth with flanking scrolled wings; fretwork panel echoing shape of top and backed by silk inset in center of tympanum flanked by integrated square plinths; three brass ball finials (replaced) on plinths; arched, coved molding along bottom edge of tympanum outlining hood door; glazed, arched door with thumb-molding on inner edge, opens at proper left and flanked by engaged, fluted columns at front corners; molded base molding at bottom of hood overtop wide cove-molded shoulder molding and plain, rectangular trunk; central pendulum door on trunk opens on proper left with ogival shaped top edge and thumb-molding around exterior; wide coved waist molding; base with rectangular applied panel with incurving corners; ogee base molding and ogee bracket feet (replaced).

One piece brass arched 12”W x 16.9”H dial. Dial thickness is 0.065”. Moon phase in arch with two semi-circular projections along the bottom of the opening engraved as globes with lines of longitude and latitude. Behind the opening is the moon dial one-half of which has the days of the lunar month engraved on the periphery, and the center having an engraved moon "face" against a blue-painted sky with white clouds and gold stars. These features are repeated on the other half because the disc makes one revolution in two lunar months, the mechanism being accurate to 29.500 days (somewhat short of the true lunar month). A small steel indicator is fastened at the center of the arch. The dial is fitted with an applied silvered chapter ring having a minute band with large Arabic numerals for minutes along the perimeter and Roman numerals for hours along the interior. The maker's name (Thomas Walker) and town (FREDS/BURG) are engraved on the lower part of the chapter ring spanning VI. Applied spandrels have cast flower and scroll ornaments in gilt brass. The matted dial center has a silvered seconds dial with Arabic numerals in ten second increments below XII and touching the silvered hour/minute chapter ring. Below the center arbor is a rectangular aperture for the silvered calendar which registers the days of the month (non-compensating for the short months). The three dial hands are filed steel, the hour and minute hands are pierced.

Movement description:
Eight-day brass time, strike, and calendar weight-driven movement measuring 6 3/8” H x 5 1/8” W. Plate thickness is 0.099” and clearance between front and back plates is 2.45”. Clock has an anchor-recoil escapement regulated by a seconds beat pendulum. A rack-and-snail strike sounds the hours on a 4.2” diameter cast bell.

Four brass pillars are riveted into the back plate and pinned at the front plate. Both time side pillars are further inside the plates (1.3” from edge to pillar center) than the strike side pillars. The time side top pillar is also lower than the corresponding strike side top pillar. The movement is fastened to the seat board by steel seat board screws threaded into the bottom pillars. The brass time and strike barrels are grooved for the weight cords. All time and strike train wheels have four-arm crossings. The conventional motion work is uncrossed, except for the hour wheel which has three arm crossings. The round steel crutch-rod has a closed-end fork. The pendulum bridge base is circular in shape. The top of the bridge is aligned with the top of the movement back plate. It is fastened to the back plate with two screws and two locator pins below the screws. The bell stand is mounted to the inside of the back plate and fastened with a screw from the back plate.

There are no pulleys or weight cords present. The overall length of the pendulum is 42 3/4”. The pendulum rod is steel. The bob is a brass face back cast with lead. It is 3.9” diameter and 0.9” thick at its center. The pendulum nut is octagonal. The weights are cylindrical cast lead, semi-conical tops, cast in iron hooks. One has a rounded base. The rounded base weight is 2 1/2” diameter, 7” long, and weighs 12 lbs. The other is 2 1/2” diameter, 4 7/8” long, and weighs 8 lbs.

Construction, hood: The top boards are nailed into rabbets on the tympanum and sides are flush-nailed onto the backboards. The back board is dovetailed to the yellow pine interiors of the veneered upper side panels. The veneered sides are dovetailed in the same way to the support for the veneered tympanum. The top of the tympanum is fenestrated and backed with an original pierced fret-work panel and fabric. The corner plinths are glued into and around rabbets formed by the convergence of the tympanum and upper side panels. The central plinth is lapped over the top edge of the tympanum. The arched molding above the door rests in a rabbet formed by the lower edge of the tympanum. The inset lower side panels are flush-nailed to the inner edges of the upper side panels. The leading edge on either side is faced with a thick vertical stile with an angled facade that forms the background for the fluted columns. These stiles also form a rabbet for the inner frame, whose upper member is additionally nailed to a spacer behind the tympanum. The inner frame has a horizontal slot in its bottom rail originally used as part of a locking mechanism between the hood and the trunk. Attached to the bottom of either side panel is a wooden element that serves as a runner for the hood when slid onto the trunk. These pieces are double-tenoned into the bottoms of the side panels and are joined to a front framing member. The engaged fluted columns at the rear are backed by thin vertical strips open-tenoned into the frame at the top and bottom. Hood door rails are through-tenoned to the stiles. Glass replaced. Three replaced gilded finials, two balls and one spire shaped finial.

Trunk and base: On the trunk and base, a one-piece yellow pine backboard is nailed into rabbets on the sides. The shoulder molding is glued to the sides and front. The trunk sides sit in rabbets on the front stiles, and the upper and lower door rails are tenoned into the same stiles. The trunk sides are nailed at the bottom to the inside of the waist moldings, which are flush-mounted to the base. The sides of the base were nailed to the bottom board (now missing), joinery that is covered by the flush-mounted base moldings (replaced). The base sides sit in rabbets formed by the front stiles, which are mortised and tenoned together with the upper member mitered on the facade. The panel is flush-mounted to the frame. The trunk door is formed from a veneered walnut panel with batten ends (shaped at the top) and thumb-nail molding. The feet are missing.
Provenance:The original owners may have been John and Elizabeth Porter Grigsby (m. 1764, probably in Culpepper County). John was born in Stafford County in 1720. The clock descended in the family of John and Elizabeth's son, Reuben Grigsby. Reuben married Verlinda Alexander Porter (1793-1845), probably in Culpepper County. They lived at Hickory Hill, just outside Lexington, Virginia. Verlinda was the daughter of Abner and Hanna Ingram Porter (m.1780) of Orange County. The clock descended from Reuben and Verlinda to their daughter Hannah Francis Grigsby, to her daughter Emma Virginia Hamilton Chandler (1861-1894) (m. Reuben Grigsby Chandler, 1st cousin), to her daughter Virginia Chandler Peabody Shattuck (1886-1980s), to her grand neice, the donor.
A whitework bedcover (84.609.1) and a woven bedcover (84.609.2) in the CWF Folk Art Collection were made by Verlinda Alexander Porter (1793-1846) [later Mrs. Reuben Grigsby] around 1815 in Orange or possibly Rockbridge County, VA. Both bedcovers were gifts of Francis W. Peabody and Grigsby C. Peabody in memory of their mother, Virginia Grigsby Chandler Peabody Shattuck.
Inscription(s):* Various pencil inscriptions on the backside of the trunk door indicating dates when the clock was cleaned.
* Scratched into the back plate of the movement in a vertical row of numbers:
2210; 3571; 4667; 5720; 6787