Newport Tall-Case (Grandfather) Clock

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Newport Tall-Case (Grandfather) Clock

This particular clock began when I stumbled upon the face in a little shop in Paducah, Kentucky. At some point in the past, the face had been separated from its original clockworks and was serving as a piece of decor. The face is solid brass, British, and dates from circa 1780. It is a beautiful, period face with cast brass spandrels, extensive engraving, and a rotating date ring. The name of the original clockmaker, "Devereux Bonly, London", is engraved in the nameplate or boss in the arch at the top of the face. David Lindow matched up one of his clock works to the face and re-silvered the "show" portions of the face. The design of the clock case is distinctly Newport, most notably with the blocked-shell door in the waist. This clock is most closely related to the John Townsend labeled clock on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. I traveled up and down the East Coast researching the design, photographing and otherwise documenting originals at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, at Winterthur in Wilmington, Delaware and at Historic Williamsburg in Williamsburg, Virginia. There are a handful of similar Townsend/Goddard clocks that date between 1770 and 1800, making this design perfectly consistent with the age of the clock face. The clock case is made of "Cuban" mahogany (Swietenia mahogani), the furniture wood of choice in the late 1700s and early 1800s. Because it was so prized, sources were harvested to near exhaustion and the tree is now protected by international treaty. Fortunately, Mark Butler at Urban Forest Recycling ( was able to (legally and ethically) provide enough material to build the clock. Mark operates a small sawmill in the Florida Keys, harvesting primarily storm damaged exotic species including mahogany. The glass in the hood door and sidelights is restoration glass, which has a nice "ripple" in it, a look consistent with the time period of the clock. Unlike the example at the Metropolitan Museum, this clock has brass "stop reeding" in the fluted hood columns and the quarter columns in the waist as well as chamfered corners and a rectangular crotch mahogany panel in the pedestal (base).




"Cuban" mahogany (Swietenia mahogani), eastern white pine, poplar, maple


99 H x 22 W x 11 D