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Home | Dealers | Sullivan, Gary R. Antiques | A rare and important early American tall case clock, by Nicholas Blasdel, Amesbury, Massachusetts, circa 1760.
A rare and important early American tall case clock, by Nicholas Blasdel, Amesbury, Massachusetts, circa 1760.
Artist: Not Available 
Category: Clocks
SubType: Clocks
Origin: America-USA
Era: 18th Century
Height: 85.5 inches
Width: 19 inches
Depth: 11 inches
This important clock was produced by a member of one of Americas first families of clockmakers, Nicholas Blasdel or Blaisdell [1743-1800]. The Blaisdell family, centered in North coastal Massachusetts, Southern New Hampshire and Maine, were responsible for producing at least twelve clockmakers over three generations. Their clocks were among the first examples produced in Colonial America and are typically brass dial examples with simple iron movements fashioned in the manner of late 17th Century European lantern clocks. Nicholas (Nicolas) Blasdel was born in Amesbury, Massachusetts in 1743. He was a third generation clockmaker, the son of David Blaisdell and Grandson of Jonathan. After 1764 he moved first to Newmarket, New Hampshire and later to Falmouth and Portland, Maine where he died in 1800. Clocks produced by Nicholas are among the rarest by any Blaisdell family member. In addition to this clock, only two other examples have been documented. This clock survives in excellent condition with a rare sarcophagus top and a fine early painted surface. Clocks from this early period seldom survive and even fewer in this wonderful state of preservation. This fine condition, combined with the importance of this rare clockmaker, establish this clock as one of the most important examples from this early period of Colonial clockmaking. This clock, which is constructed primarily of old growth white pine, has an early red painted surface that emulates a high style mahogany case. It is rare for any furniture or clock case from this period to retain such an early, possibly original painted surface. The removable hood has an applied sarcophagus pediment constructed of a single broad molding. Sarcophagus tops from this period almost never survive. This pediment is flanked with short chimneys each mounted with ball finials. A flared and stepped molding transitions to a square dial door with a glazed tombstone-form window. The door is flanked with turned and blocked colonnettes and glazed sidelights. The dial door opens to a brass composite dial with applied gilt pewter rococo spandrels. A circular pewter boss is found in the lunette and is engraved with the clockmakers name “Nicolas Blasdel” [sic]. The clock dial has a pewter chapter ring engraved with an inner ring of Roman numerals to indicate the hour and an outer ring of Arabic numerals to indicate the minutes. The center arbor is mounted with wonderful original cut steel hands above a rectangular calendar window. The hood transitions to the clock waist with a broad flared molding above a molded rectangular pendulum door. This hinged door has markings on the interior made by clockmakers who have performed repairs on the clock. Two of the markings locate this clock in the Amesbury, Massachusetts area during the middle part of the 19th Century. The door conceals the original steel rod pendulum with brass capped lead bob and two early lead clock weights. The iron and brass, lantern type movement has a pull-up weight-driven mechanism and separate time and strike trains. The strike train is a rare fully striking example that tones the value of each hour rather than just once at the top of the hour. At least one of the other documented examples possesses a full striking movement. The waist transitions with another flared molding to a rectangular base panel with a molded mopboard apron.

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