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Tall Case Clock
Artist unidentified; clockworks attributed to Lambert W. Lewis (c.1785–1834)

Location: Ohio, United States

Date: 1812–1834

Materials: Paint on pine case with watercolor on paper clockface and wooden clockworks

Dimensions: 87 × 21 1/2 × 12 3/4"

Credit: Museum purchase, Eva and Morris Feld Folk Art Acquisition Fund

Accession Number: 1981.12.22

Photo credit: John Parnell

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Description

Clock cases received the same imitative and imaginative grain painting that was applied to chests of drawers and other furniture. Usually these cases were made by a cabinetmaker and not the maker of the clockworks. This tall case clock is housed in a wooden case that is painted yellow, with overall decoration in a pattern that has been called "paw print." This was probably dabbed with a crumpled material or dry-painted with the blunt end of a brush. The clock face is painted with a scenic landscape of tall trees.

The clock was found in New Jersey, but the movement is a Connecticut type, with pull-up weights that run the clock for thirty hours, and stylistically it relates most strongly to Connecticut clock- and cabinet-making traditions. This may be explained by the name "L.W. Lewis" that appears on the dial–probably Lambert W. Lewis, who was originally from Southbury, Connecticut, but was purchasing property in Ohio by 1806. With several of his brothers, he became the earliest and largest manufacturer of clocks in Trumbull County, an area on the Western Reserve that was developed primarily by Connecticut Yankees. In 1818 Lewis expanded his business, obtaining a mortgage with another Connecticut clockmaker, Riley Whiting. In 1820 he employed four men and one young girl, who may have ornamented the faces. His business declined, and Lewis's business with it. "H. Sutphen, Great Neck" appears inside the case and is probably the name of someone who serviced the clock at a later date.

Stacy C. Hollander, "Tall Case Clock," in American Anthem: Masterworks from the American Folk Art Museum (New York: Harry N. Abrams in association with American Folk Art Museum, 2001), 314–315.


Tall Case Clock
Date: 1812–1834
Artist:
Dimensions: 87 × 21 1/2 × 12 3/4"
Materials: Paint on pine case with watercolor on paper clockface and wooden clockworks
Credit Line: Museum purchase, Eva and Morris Feld Folk Art Acquisition Fund
Place/Region: United States
Accession Number: 1981.12.22
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