Bellamy Carved Masonic Timepiece?

Discussion in 'Your Newest Clock Acquisition' started by rmarkowitz1_cee4a1, Mar 11, 2012.

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  1. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Fraternal organizations have played a significant role in the history of America. The use of the iconography of these organizations in the decorative arts has been a significant aspect of the material culture of America through the centuries.

    Free Masonry is one of those organizations. The use of Masonic imagery can be found in virtually all of the decorative arts of America including clocks and watches. To see an excellent website with examples of decorative and utilitarian objects incorporating Masonic symbols, click here .

    John Haley Bellamy was a wood carver from Kittery, ME. He was active in the latter 1/2 of the 19th century into the early 20th. He is best known for his ship carving and his decorative eagles which in today's folk art market can bring large sums of money. For more about him, please see Yvonne Brault Smith's excellent book, John Haley Bellamy:Carver of Eagles, probably the best reference about the oeuvre of this important American wood carver. The objects he created are highly sought after by folk art collectors.

    Bellamy is known to have carved objects, especially frames, replete with Masonic symbols as the main decorative elements. See the above reference, website and the picture below for examples of the frames. The one I posted is in my own collection and a picture of it's twin, from the collection of The Museum of Our National Heritage, is pictured in Smith on page 13.

    Bellamy was also known to have carved shelf clock cases. The designs for which, according to Smith, he took out 6 patents. See Smith, pages 16 and 89 for a copies of two of his patents on these clock cases and pages 17 and 88 for examples of the clocks bearing the label of E.N. Welch. Scans of the pictures of clocks in Smith are posted below. Also see the above website for examples of these clock cases. I have posted pictures of the clocks from the website as well. Note one says "Sessions" on the dial. This is an obvious later replacement. I have only seen 2 of these clocks in person. They don't come up very often.

    Posted below are pictures of what I believe to be a Masonic clock by Bellamy. I has a striking resemblance to other published examples as well as sharing some of the attributes mentioned in the patents. What sets it apart and I think may make it a bit more special is that it is a miniature at a mere 10 1/2 inches tall and it is a lever movement time piece (movement by Hubbell).

    The case is walnut with walnut carving applied to a stipple punched background all in old surface. Yes, there are some age splits and a few what look to me to be old pieced repairs to the applied decoration. The movement sits in a simple "box" attached to the front.

    Wonder what people think. Would love to see other Masonic clocks, especially ones like these.

    RM
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User
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    Never seen a Masonic clock before, very nice.:)
     
  3. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Thanks.

    RM
     
  4. Peter A. Nunes

    Peter A. Nunes Moderator
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    Wow! Wonderful.
     
  5. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    #5 rmarkowitz1_cee4a1, Mar 12, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2012
    Thanks. May have more information to share in the coming days.

    Two corrections to what I've said below. It should be Freemasonary, not Free Masonary. I stated a virtually identical frame to mine was on page 13 in Smith's book. It's page 12.

    RM
     
  6. soaringjoy

    soaringjoy Registered User

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    Thank you for showing, RM.
    Clocks with masonic symbols do show up over here in Europe every once in a while
    although the styles are generally more according to the fashions of the period,
    with the symbols appearing on dials and pendulum bobs, for instance.
    Freemasonary is not any secret in continental Europe, but it is not pronounced
    as openly as in the States or the UK, either.
     
  7. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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  8. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Soaringjoy: thanks for your interest and additional information.

    Harold: thanks for posting a link to that clock. Forgot about that one. I have also seen a painted iron front replete with the symbols of Freemasonary in a local shop. Don't know who did the casting. Came this close to purchasing it but as the guys on that Amercan Pickers show say, it was "roached". Bad condition and too expensive with pieces busted off. If it's still there, will go take a look and maybe grab some pics.

    Given the popularity of Freemasonary in this country, especially in the late 19th/early 20th century, have seen a number of steeples and ogees with tablets with Masonary symbols. Clearly makers were trying to appeal to that nitch consumer.

    I also speculate, without any proof (that's never stopped me), that the Willards were so influenced. Specifically, I believe the so called "light house" clocks were actually borrowing the symbol of the Columns of Boaz, as I believe they are called? And the banjo, the dial = celestial orb, the throat with swinging pendulum=plumb line, the box the stone block foundation. Also, all simplified geometric shapes found in Freemasonary. Oh well, just some of my many crack pot theories.

    RM
     
  9. Missy

    Missy Registered User
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    Hi R.M., this thread reminded me of the one in 05 where I helped a poster find a picture of his clock. When I went to the website where I found it to refresh my memory, I realized you would probably know about the site since you had posted on it. Unfortunately, his clock picture is no longer available, but it was like "Carved Masonic Clock circa 1875" in the Museum>Table of Contents>Watches & Timepieces.

    Here are the 3 threads I found with a search for Masonic:

    https://mb.nawcc.org/search.php?searchid=175258

    HTH,
    Missy
     
  10. Missy

    Missy Registered User
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    Well, that was no help at all, was it? That didn't lead to the threads I was talking about. If you do a search for masonic as key word and Missy as the user name they should come up. The last one is the one I was thinking of. If you do a search for masonic and leave off a user name, a lot more come up.

    Sorry about that. :( Missy
     
  11. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Thanks Missy. I actually found the thread to which you refer from 2005. I didn't include it as there was no picture.

    The link I provided is to the same Masonic website referred to in that posting. I've used it before to research other objects with Masonic symbols, an important aspect of early American decorative arts.

    As part of the research on my clock, I contacted the curator of the online museum. He posted the clock there and kindly shared his opinion of the clock which I'll post when I'm at my home computer rather than using my IPhone.

    RM
     
  12. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Dave Lettelier, Curator of the Phoenix Masonic Museum and Library, was most kind and generous of his time. Thought I would share what his comments about the clock:

    "The Masonic mantle clock is definitely the work of Bellamy and a fine example too! I am also interested in the picture/mirror frame... that looks like a Bellamy work as well! Bellamy had a very distinct way of carving the pillars of Boaz and Jachin which is evident in the picture/mirror frame."

    To see the posting on the freemasonry website, follow this link:
    http://www.phoenixmasonry.org/masonicmuseum/bellamy_carved_clock_and_picture_frame.htm

    In general this is an interesting website and definately worth a look.

    RM
     
  13. soaringjoy

    soaringjoy Registered User

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    You did a good deed there, RM.
    The page looks almost like a clock site...;)
     
  14. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    I try.

    RM
     

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