The nation's largest selection of fine
Classical & Colonial Furniture...
Just steps from the RISD Museum & John Brown House
Browse our inventory

A Chippendale Tall Case Clock with Block / Shell and Silvered Dial, by Caleb Wheaten, Providence/Newport, c.1780


Scroll down for 10 more photos

Newport/Providence produced some of the most desirable tall case clocks in the Colonies, hallmarked by their stylistic block and beautifully carved shell.  This clock is especially desirable because of the engraved silver dial worked by Caleb Wheaton, a famous clockmaker of that period.  Most dials were purchased outside the shop, however Wheaton was also an engraver and here he engraves his famous saying: “AB HOC MOMENTO PENDET AERTERNITAS” / (eternity depends on this moment).    His clocks, many with Newport cases, reside in a number of top museums nationally.  This case relies primarily on its block and shell carving.  The block under the shell is an amazing piece of solid mahogany of great beauty especially as it has aged.  The entire case and shell relate to one illustrated in The American Clock, Battison and Kane (see scanned images below).

The silver plated dial indicates an earlier period as the white painted dials superseded the brass and/or silver dials in the late 18th century.  Consequently, its beautiful silver dial, its movement by a renowned maker, all in a Newport/Providence case with a fully developed shell, make this a most desirable historic clock.   Another silver dial clock at Pendleton House in the RISD Museum is illustrated below. 

An eminent authority on American clocks, Robert Cheney, has provided the following regarding this clock (see scanned letter after the images below).   

Height: 95 in.  Depth: 9 in.  Width: 20 in.
5 more photos...