ca. 1820
American
Decorative Arts
Timepieces
Woodwork
cherry, maple; painted metal dial; wooden clockworks
Middletown, Virginia, United States
Overall: 100 × 19 1/2 × 13 1/4 in. (254 × 49.53 × 33.66 cm)
95.18

Like the nearby desk and bookcase, this clock was produced by the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. It represents the spread of clockmaking practices of a pluralistic community of Mennonite, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Quaker, German, Swiss, Scots, Irish, and English people. Measured and divided, the clock’s case reflects a robust symmetry of vertical and horizontal components. The results are suggestive of rural cabinetmaking practices of decorative ornamentation through turning and carving.

This clock houses a wooden movement made of local materials. It is also faced with a white-painted dial. Although most white dials were imported from England, the simplicity of this example indicates it may have been made in America – perhaps even by Jacob Danner. Danner arrived in Middletown around 1795, just a year after the town was settled by his future father-in-law, Dr. Peter Senseney. The clockmaker is thought to have also been a talent watercolorist.

Inscribed on clock face: "J. Danner"
Kathleen Boone Samuels Memorial Fund
O’Leary, Elizabeth L., Sylvia Yount, Susan Jensen Rawles, and David Park Curry. American Art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Charlottesville: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts with the University of Virginia Press, 2010. (No. 16, p. 44-49).

Rita Reif, “Not Quite on a Spree, but Getting Acquisitive Again,” The New York Times, Sunday, August 13, 1995, p. 29.

“In the Museum Virginia-Made Side Chairs, Tall Case Clock Purchased by Virginia Museum of Fine Arts” Lady’s Gallery, Dec 1995/Jan 1996, Vol. 3, No. 3, p. 55, ill.
Image released via Creative Commons CC-BY-NC

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