A Chippendale Tall Case Clock with Block / Shell and Silvered Dial, by Caleb Wheaten, Providence/Newport, c.1780
Newport 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 plate dial worked by Caleb Wheaton, a famous clockmaker of that period. 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The silver plated dial indicates an earlier period as the white painted dials superseded the brass and/or silver painted dials in the late 18th century. The engraving is quite interesting on this clock, as it is engraved in Latin “AB HOC MOMENTO PENDET AERTERNITAS” / (eternity depends on this moment). Consequently, its beautiful silver dial, its movement by a renowned maker, all in a Newport 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.
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