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Home | Dealers | Sullivan, Gary R. Antiques | An exceptionally rare Chippendale mahogany and inlaid brass dial shelf clock, by Caleb Leach, Plymouth, Massachusetts, circa 1785.
An exceptionally rare Chippendale mahogany and inlaid brass dial shelf clock, by Caleb Leach, Plymouth, Massachusetts, circa 1785.
Artist: Not Available 
Category: Clocks
SubType: Clocks
Origin: America-USA
Era: 18th Century
Height: 44 inches
Width: 15.25 inches
Depth: 7 inches
This impressive clock, with a formal Chippendale case, is one of only three shelf clocks known to have been produced by the rare clockmaker, Caleb Leach (at work in Plymouth circa 1776-1790). This stylish case with stop fluting, pattern inlay, dentil moldings and ogee feet, emulates the high-style “Roxbury” tall case clocks being produced in Boston during this period. This innovative early example of a Massachusetts shelf clock, which predates all other examples from this region, is fitted with a sophisticated fully striking brass movement and a brass dial with a silvered moon phase disk. The exclusive rarity of this clockmaker combined with the superior qualities of the case and movement define this clock as a prized example of American clock making. The removable upper section or hood has a three rectangular chimneys each mounted with full-sized brass ball and spire finials. These chimneys flank a scrolled splat with a regional whales tail pattern. An arched molded cornice rests above a molded tombstone-form glazed dial door. The door is surmounted with brass stop fluted colonnettes with brass capitals and bases. The door opens to a tombstone sheet brass dial featuring a moon phase disk in the lunette. The moon disk has silvered moon faces opposite fields of stars on a deep blue background. A pair of engraved terrestrial hemispheres are at the base of the moon phase aperture. The dial has inner ring of Roman numerals to demark the hour and within Arabic numerals at the fives to demark the minutes. This chapter ring is framed with an inner and outer engraved border. The center arbor is mounted with cut steel hands. A seconds dial is found above the center arbor and calendar dial below, each with steel pointers. The dial is engraved within the calendar dial with the makers name and locale, “Leach / PLYMOUTH”. The clock has an original fully striking brass movement which retains two original lead weights and a steel pendulum rod with brass capped bob. The base of the hood has a stepped molding which continues into a broad flared molding atop a border of dentil molding. The case is inset with brass stop fluted quarter columns with brass capitals and bases. These columns flank a locking and hinged tombstone-form pendulum door with a scrolled brass keyhole escutcheon. This door has a molded edge and a line inlaid border centering a pinwheel of contrasting inlays. The base terminates with a molded apron above four bulbous ogee feet.

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