Tall Case Clock

Tall Case Clock
Mahogany, oak, pine, brass, iron, glass
Movement by Joseph Barnes
London, England, 18th C.
Gift from The National Society
United States Daughters of 1812
A comparison of probate inventories of 18th-century Virginia gentry indicates that clocks were a rarity, even among the wealthiest of householders.

This case clock has a tradition of ownership in the Lewis family and a tradition of having belonged to Mary Ball Washington, the mother of George Washington and Betty Lewis. The clock was purchased by a member of the Howard family and brought to Kenmore between 1880 and 1914. It was returned to the house in 1927. The clock is currently on display in the Bissell Gallery at Kenmore.

It was not uncommon for Americans to import clock movements from England and have local cabinetmakers fabricate clock cases that reflect regional tastes and fashion as distilled from the English patter books, such as Thomas Chippendale's directory.

Joseph Barnes is documented as having conducted his trade as a clockmaker in the Strand, London, England, from 1716-1748.