This very attractive Chippendale tall case clock is a superb example of those produced in 18th Century Connecticut. It is fitted with a very rare six tune musical movement. American made musical clocks are extremely rare with only about one hundred and ten known examples. Expensive tall case clocks were attainable by only the wealthiest members of a community. Yet the addition of a musical train almost tripled the cost of the movement and was therefore available only to the truly affluent.
Daniel Burnap [1759-1838], who apprenticed to the great Thomas Harland, was a prolific clockmaker known for his high quality clock movements and beautifully engraved brass dials. Burnap, compelled by his childhood fascination with music, produced at least twelve musical movements, an impressive sum. Known for his unusually fine workmanship, each of his musical movements produce clear and graceful melodies. In 1786, Burnap established himself as a clockmaker, watch repairer, instrument maker, silversmith and brass founder in a shop near Bissell’s Tavern in East Windsor. Recognized as a skilled engraver his brass and silvered dials are celebrated for their masterful decoration. In 1800 he moved from East Windsor to Andover, Connecticut where he remained
The case for this attractive clock is the epitome of the clock cases produced in Connecticut during the last quarter of the 18th Century. The Chippendale form is constructed of mahogany that retains a pleasing old surface. The molded hood is mounted with three rectangular chimneys, which scrolled splat-form fretwork. The distinctive form of this fretwork is referred to as a “Whale’s Tail” pattern and is typical of Connecticut clocks. Each chimney is mounted with turned and carved flame form finials.
This crest rests atop a molded arched cornice, all above a glazed tombstone-form door with a brass knob. Smooth turned colonnettes with brass capitals and bases flank this door. The sides of the hood have shaped tombstone windows. The dial door opens to a richly engraved sheet brass dial. Daniel Burnap is renown for his finely engraved sheet brass dials and this example is a superior example of his work. The lunette is engraved with a fan motif with floral decorations. Above this fan device is the list of six tunes titles, framed with a scrolling foliate vine. The base of the fan is set with a cut and scrolled steel selector hand which points to the selected tune. The tunes, which have neatly engraved titles, are; Air By Handel, Lovely Nymph, Maid of the Mill, Over ye water to Charley, French Kings Minuit and Cookoes Nest. The dial is framed with floral and vine-work corner spandrels at each corner and two simple landscape vignettes at the bottom corners. The clock face has an engraved inner ring of Roman numerals to demark the hour and an outer ring of Arabic numerals to demark the minutes. The clock is fitted with original cut and scrolled steel hands. The dial has a seconds bit with engraved register above the center arbor and a calendar aperture below. The dial is engraved in flowing calligraphy with the maker’s name and locale “Daniel Burnap E. Windsor”. The signature is contained within engraved foliate cartouches.
The hood transitions to the waist section with a broad flared molding. The waist is set with a molded tombstone-form pendulum door. This locking door opens to an original steel shaft pendulum with a brass-capped bob and a set of three cast iron weights. The high quality weight driven, brass eight-day movement has time, strike and musical trains. The movement has three thick piano-shaped brass plates separated by robust “cigar” form pillars. The movement has recently been serviced and is in excellent running order. The musical train plays its six tunes on 11 bells. The waist transitions to the base section with another broad flared molding. This molding has a has a scalloped skirt which a treatment common to Connecticut clocks cases and furniture. The base section has a figured panel above a stepped molding and bracket feet.
Dimensions: Height including center finial: 96 3/8”; Width: 20 1/2”; Depth: 10 1/4”.