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[AC] Mead Art Museum at Amherst College; [HC] Hampshire College Art Gallery;
[HD] Historic Deerfield; [MH] Mount Holyoke College Art Museum; [MH SK] The Joseph Allen Skinner Museum at Mount Holyoke College; [SC] Smith College Museum of Art; [UM] University Museum of Contemporary Art at UMASS Amherst

 


Maker(s):Sibley, Asa
Culture:American (1764-1829)
Title:tall case clock
Date Made:ca. 1800
Type:Timekeeping Device; Furniture
Materials:wood: cherry, white pine; stain, glass, silver, base metal: brass
Place Made:United States; New Hampshire; Walpole
Measurements:overall: 91 x 22 3/4 x 12 1/4 in.; 231.14 x 57.785 cm
Accession Number:  HD 84.018
Credit Line:Mr. & Mrs. Hugh B. Vanderbilt Fund for Curatorial Acquisitions
1984-18t.jpg

Description:
Tall clock with an early, if not original, mahoganized finish on cherry case, a silvered brass dial inscribed: "Asa Sibley/ Walpole," and a brass, eight-day movement. The clock and case illustrate the migration of craftsmen who trained in eastern Connecticut to the Connecticut Valley. Born in Sutton, Massachusetts, Asa Sibley (1764-1829) apparently trained with Peregrine White (1747-1834) who worked as a silversmith and clockmaker in Woodstock, Connecticut, from 1774-1810; returned to Sutton for several years; moved to Walpole in the late 1790s; and finally to Rochester, New York, sometime after 1808, where he died. The maker of the cherry case with its pine back is unknown; but like Sibley and another eastern Connecticut-trained clock/watch maker, Gurdon Huntingon (1763-1804) who moved to Walpole from Windham, Conneticut, in 1789, this case maker migrated from eastern Connecticut where he had learned how to stain cherry to imitate mahogany and to make fretwork with a variation on the "whale's tail" design for the arched hood. He also designed a case that sits directly on in the floor without feet. The movement reflects the influence of Peregrine White and Gurdon Huntington, e.g., the front and back plates of the movement are cut away to conserve brass, and the posts between the plate are sausage-like. Clockmakers regularly exchanged parts in the late eighteenth century, an important point when making an attribution. Jedidiah Baldwin of Hanover, New Hampshire, and John Osgood of Haverhill, New Hampshire, sold each other hundreds of parts between 1793-1811. The clock dial also survives with most of its original silvering, which was a common practice of many eighteenth-century clockmakers where a silver wash was applied to the brass dial to give the appearance of solid silver. Although this custom may seem a short-cut, a clock and case already amounted to a considerable investment, probably around $50-60 at a time when a day's common labor was roughly valued at .50-75 cents. The central brass finial and two escutcheons have been replaced. The movement stands on its original seat board; all of its working parts appear to be original, including the wooden pendulum rod. The clock descended in the Converse family; a silvered brass plate (now in the object file) was tacked to the clock base, probably in the early twentieth century, which reads: "Joseph and Elizabeth Convers/Joseph and Lucy Converse/Charles and Mary Converse/Lewis and Charlotte Converse." Joseph (1739-1828) and Elizabeth (1742-1817) married in 1762 and lived in Bedford, Massachusetts, for many years until they moved to Chesterfield, New Hampshire, in 1794-1795; their son, Joseph (1765-1841) and his wife, Lucy (d. 1845) married in 1788 and lived in Chesterfield; Joseph's and Lucy's son, Charles (1788-1858) and his wife, Mary (1819-1877) married in 1839 and lived in Chesterfield; and Charles and Mary's son, Lewis (b. 1839) and his wife, Charlotte, married in 1865 and moved from Chesterfield to Urbana, Ohio (no children).

Link to share this object record:
https://museums.fivecolleges.edu/detail.php?t=objects&type=ext&id_number=HD+84.018

Research on objects in the collections, including provenance, is ongoing and may be incomplete. If you have additional information or would like to learn more about a particular object, please email fc-museums-web@fivecolleges.edu.

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