CHIPPENDALE TALL CASE CLOCK

THE DIAL SIGNED BY WOOD AND HUDSON, MOUNT HOLLY, NEW JERSEY, 1770-1785

Primary Wood: Walnut
Secondary Woods: Poplar, White Pine

Height: 92 1/4 inches
Width: 19 1/4 inches
Depth: 10 1/4 inches

Description

A CHIPPENDALE TALL-CASE CLOCK
THE DIAL SIGNED BY WOOD AND HUDSON, MOUNT HOLLY, NEW JERSEY, 1770-1785
the composite 13 in. wide moonphase brass dial signed Wood & Hudson/ MOUNT HOLLY

92 1/4 in. high, 19 1/4 in. wide, 10 1/4 in. deep

With a rare 13 in. wide composite brass dial and an old finish, this tall-case clock is an outstanding example of early New Jersey craftsmanship. Its materials alone signify that it was a costly form. Much of the large dial is made from thick, sand-cast brass and the case door consists of a vibrant flitch of flame-grained walnut. Little is known of its clockmakers, partners Wood and Hudson, who advertised their Mount Holly business in the Philadelphia Gazette in 1773. Wood may refer to Isaac Wood (d. circa 1785), who married Mary Rossell (1748-1809) in 1770 and wrote his will in 1785. His partner, William Hudson (w. 1770-1810) may have trained under John Wood, Sr. or John Wood, Jr. of Philadelphia, just twenty five miles from Mount Holly. Hudson also worked independently; one of his clocks survives in a walnut case signed and dated 1785 by the local cabinetmaker Joseph Brumley (1749-1823) that appears to be the same model as that illustrated here. Thus, it is possible that the case may have been made as late as 1785 and possibly by Brumley. However, it is likely that the Wood and Hudson partnership ended prior to the Revolution and this clock a product of the colonial era. A clock in the collection of Yale University Art Gallery signed by Hudson only and in a closely related case with virtually identical tympanum rosettes has been dated to circa 1775. Furthermore, in records relating to the Revolutionary War, Isaac Wood is referred to as an inn keeper, an occupation that many craftsmen adopted after retiring from their craft (Martha Willoughby, “Biographies,” Timeless: Masterpiece American Brass Dial Clocks, Frank L. Hohmann III, ed. (New York, 2009), p. 344; ancestry.com, New Jersey, Abstract of Wills, 1670-1817 [database on-line] (2011); Francis B. Lee, ed., Archives of the State of New Jersey, Second Series, Vol II (Trenton, 1906), p. 198).

As indicated by the label affixed to the inside of the door, the clock was owned in the vicinity of Mount Holly over a century after it was made. In 1907, Ben Budd, a watchmaker of Mount Holly, cleaned the clock for “Daniel Kimble,” identified as Daniel Kimble (1835-1915), a farmer who lived in Springfield Township, located just a few miles from Mount Holly. The son of John D. and Rhoda Kimble of Burlington Township, Daniel was born into a Methodist family but from the 1860s was active in the Old Springfield Preparative Monthly Meeting of Friends. He married Susan S. Pickering (1836-1896) but died without issue and is buried in the Copany Meeting House Cemetery in Lower Springfield (www.findagrave.com; ancestry.com, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Church and Town Records, 1708-1985 [database on-line] (2011); ancestry.com. U.S., Quaker Meeting Records, 1681-1935 [database on-line] (2014); US Federal Census records, 1850, 1880, 1900). Another century later and until recently, Kimble’s clock remained in New Jersey, for many years the prized possession of clock collector Roy Walter Newman III (1950-2014). Born in Philadelphia, Roy Newman was a bus operator with New Jersey Transit in Camden and an active member of the Wm. F. Elkins Lodge no. 271 in Philadelphia and the Beverly-Riverside Masonic Lodge no. 107 in Riverside, New Jersey.