An important Federal inlaid mahogany antique musical tall case clock, by Daniel Porter, Williamstown, Massachusetts, circa 1800. The case attributed to nearby Bennington, Vermont.
This very attractive antique Federal musical tall case clock is fitted with a very rare six tune musical movement. The sophisticated Hepplewhite case features beautiful cherry wood and assorted vibrant pattern inlays found on the very best examples from this period. American-made antique musical clocks are extremely rare with only about one hundred and ten known examples. Expensive grandfather clocks were attainable by only the wealthiest members of a community. The addition of a musical train almost tripled the cost of the works and was therefore available only to the truly affluent. Daniel Porter [born 1775] was apprenticed to the great Daniel Burnap in Connecticut, after which he began his career as a clockmaker and silversmith in Topsfield, Massachusetts. In 1798 he settled in the town of Williamstown, Massachusetts which is located in the northwest corner of the state on the Vermont and New York border. Only a handful of clocks bear his name. One other antique musical grandfather clock by Daniel Porter features a musical movement that is also housed in similar high style case. The distinctive form of the case is strongly related to a group produced in Bennington, Vermont just over the border from Williamstown. Along with the specific pattern inlays, several other features are specific to this group of clock cases, including the particular profile of the bracket feet and the distinctive oval cut-outs in the arches of the pediment. For more information please see "The Best the Country Affords, Vermont Furniture 1765-1850": Zogry, page 34. See Image. The six tunes are written across the top of the lunette and read: "Rakes of Rodney, Bells of York, Primrose Hill, Scotch Luck, Jemmy’s Farewell, Gen V’ Horn’s March” Porter’s tune selections are from a variety of sources. Titles like “Gen. Van Horn’s March” and “Bells of York” suggest that some of his customers were from the upper Hudson valley. “Rakes of Rodney” was probably from a pinning diagram given him by his master, Daniel Burnap. Like many of the American antique musical clocks, a selection of six tunes allows for a different tune each day of the week excluding the Sabbath. The dial is signed in flowing calligraphy with the maker’s name and locale “D. Porter / WILLIAMSTOWN”. The high quality weight driven, brass eight-day movement has a time and strike train with a cast bell and a musical train with 11 bells. The form of the musical movement is nearly identical to those produced by Daniel Burnap. These musical movements are consider to be among the finest produced in America, constructed in a robust fashion that ensures both reliability and accuracy. The movement has recently been serviced and is in excellent running order. The waist transitions to the base section with another broad flared molding. The base has a similar inlay pattern with quarter fans, line inlay and a central pinwheel. The bottom has a stepped molding that joins simple French feet.
Dimensions: Height including center finial: 96 3/8”; Width: 20 1/2”; Depth: 10 1/4.
Call (781) 828-1650 or E-mail us for questions or pricing on this item. Please reference inventory number 12008.