Magazine article School Arts

Design Options: Tall-Case Clock

Magazine article School Arts

Design Options: Tall-Case Clock

Article excerpt

Samuel Best (1776-1859). Tall-Case Clock, 1810-1815. Mahogany and cherry War of 1812. with maple veneer and inlay, 105 5/8 x 19 x 11 1/8" (165 x 48 x 28 cm). Museum Purchase, 1966.1175.

About the Art

Samuel Best made this Tall-Case Clock between 1810 and 1815. The case is made of mahogany and cherry woods, with maple veneer and inlay. One of the most intriguing parts of the clock is its face, which is painted. The revolving dial is decorated with different phases of the moon, from full to crescent. The numbers above this area correspond to the days of the month. On either side of this dial are map-like illustrations of the world. The face is also signed "Samuel Best Cincinnati".

During the Federal Period (1789-1815) the tall case clock was one of the most expensive objects in the home. It was often prominently displayed as an expression of the owner's wealth in the parlor, where the family did most of its entertaining In the years between 1810 and 1820, around the time Tall-Case Clock was made, Cincinnati's population nearly quadrupled, increasing from 2,320 to nearly 10,000. Many of its inhabitants at this time had come from the East, and when they moved to the city, they brought with them their good taste and desire for fine things. Best's Tall-Case Clock is an example of the need for accurate timekeeping and the demand for high-style goods during Cincinnati's early history

About the Artist

Samuel Best was born in Ilminster, England in 1776. He and his family, who worked as silversmiths, jewelers, watchmakers, and clockmakers, left England for America in 1801. …

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