Devoted to William Fenn

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Many of you are probably aware of the tablets of William Fenn, one of the more prolific tablet-makers of the mid-19th century. For those who don't know much about Fenn, I recommend three sources:

Clock Decorating Stencils of Mid-19th Century Connecticut (copyright Chris Bailey)
More Clock Decorating Stencils of Mid-19th Century Connecticut (copyright Chris Bailey)
William Bennet Fenn's Clock Glasses by Lucinda Servino (Bull NAWCC 240, http://www.nawcc.org/images/stories/1980/articles/1986/240/240_8.pdf)

While these sources are great at detailing Fenn's career and many of his exquisite stencils, they aren't able to capture the vivid colors of his tablets. I thought devoting a thread to real-life examples of his work would be a way of bringing the black & white pages of the sources above to life.

Attached I've included examples of Fenn glasses in my collection. The first five (from left to right) are confirmed Fenn tablets, based on examples shown in the sources above. At the risk of making a rule (just Fenn, please), only to break it, the remaining three have characteristics that are Fenn-like. The sixth (green with vase and floral centerpiece) and seventh (geometric design) I have been told are Fenn tablets by people more knowledgable than I, but I can't confirm that from available published sources. The last one also seems in the style, but, again, I can't find a confirmed example in my references.

I encourage others with Fenn tablets to post their examples here, as a means of spreading the word about these wonderful artistic creations.
 

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rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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Ahh! Beauties all!! Truly one of the wonderful features of antique American clocks. Years ago I owned a bundle of inexpensive ogees purchased for no other reason that they all had wonderful Fenn glasses. As I've said before, if the same stencilling were done on paper or velvet, it would have been worth thousands.

At the risk of self agrandizement, I'm going to cut and paste something I posted earlier:

William B. Fenn began stencil decorating glasses, columns, and splats in 1829 for Seth Thomas, later going into business for himself. Ultimately he became a major supplier of decorated glasses to a number of firms. By 1860, companies began to use less expensive methods to mass produce decorated tablets, sometimes copying his designs!

He retired to farming and raising cattle. He married later in life. His daughter, who lived well into the 20th century, acquired his stencils and I am told did clock tablet restoration. She ultimately donated his stencils to the ACWM in Bristol, Ct.

Fenn hand cut the stencils for his tablets from paper, sometimes reused from ledger books and other sources. The stencilled patterns were transferred to glass and were then hand colored, sometimes with additional details done free hand (there was a bit of a debate over this last point in another thread. Click here https://mb.nawcc.org/showthread.php?t=63023.)

For more information, see the article written by Lucinda Burleigh Servino, NAWCC Bulletin, # 240, page 8. Also see 2 excellent publications from the ACWM, Clock Decorating Stencils of Mid-19th Century CT and More Clock Decorating Stencils of Mid-19 Century Ct. The illustrations in these 2 publications are reproductions of the stencils donated to the museum by his daughter.

I've posted some examples, too. More to come.

RM
 

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Jerome collector

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RM,
Those are wonderful examples. I knew you had posted some of your Fenn tablets in a thread awhile ago. Thanks for resurrecting it here.
Mike
 

Bill Stoddard

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Here is a Forestville (J. C. Brown) 8-day O.O.G clock with a Fenn tablet. It has the saying "By Industry We Thrive" above a beehive and flowers. The stencil for this saying is in the book "Clock Decorating Stencils of Mid-19th Century Connecticut. The clock dates to 1846 - 1847.

I love these old weight driven clocks, and the tablet attracted me to this clock. The case needs some work as it looks like a mouse lived in it for a while! The right pulley is gone and there is a large chew hole around it, the top of the right movement mounting rail is chewed away, as is some wood on the bottom inside of the door.

More photos and information about this clock can be found here: http://clockinfo.com/posts/4061
 

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rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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Here is a Forestville (J. C. Brown) 8-day O.O.G clock with a Fenn tablet. It has the saying "By Industry We Thrive" above a beehive and flowers. The stencil for this saying is in the book "Clock Decorating Stencils of Mid-19th Century Connecticut. The clock dates to 1846 - 1847.

I love these old weight driven clocks, and the tablet attracted me to this clock. The case needs some work as it looks like a mouse lived in it for a while! The right pulley is gone and there is a large chew hole around it, the top of the right movement mounting rail is chewed away, as is some wood on the bottom inside of the door.

More photos and information about this clock can be found here: http://clockinfo.com/posts/4061
"Hickory, dickory, dock,

The mouse ran up the clock..etc, etc."

Sorry couldn't resist after your story.

Lovely glass and even if a bit nibbled upon, nice American clock.

RM
 

Jay

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Thanks to all who posted the Fenn glasses . What a treat!

Jay
 

tom427cid

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Hi all,
Here's another that falls into that grey area(might be a Fenn),interesting that it is same design as no.5 but different colors.It's in a mini-OG.
tom
Fenn glass-mini OG 002.jpg
 

Jerome collector

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Hi all,
Here's another that falls into that grey area(might be a Fenn),interesting that it is same design as no.5 but different colors.It's in a mini-OG.
tom
View attachment 103922
Tom,
Although I'm partial to the green in my tablet, I also like the blue in yours. I'm glad to see another version of it. Curious to know more about your mini-OG. Who made it? Any idea when it dates to?

My version is in a Chauncey Jerome steeple with brass springs that dates to around 1847-50. See http://home.earthlink.net/~mmbailey39/id17.html for more info on the clock.

Thanks for keeping the thread alive.
Mike
 

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How would an ignoramus like me, know if a tablet was a Fenn?
Laprade,

I'll take a stab at answering your question, but I don't consider myself an authority on Fenn. One feature that often stands out in the best of Fenn's tablets is the intricacy of the design work. The amount of detail he was able to get in his stencils is staggering. You can get a sense of this in some of markowitz's examples and also the one from Bill Stoddard. Another thing common in Fenn tablets but probably not a definitive feature is that the use of colors is often striking.

Mike
 

Steven Thornberry

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One thing I'm missing here is some info about Fenn himself. It would be nice if someone would post some so we can have a historical basis for this discussion (hint, hint, RM).

BTW, this thread is now linked in the "Post Your (Maker's Name) Clocks" sticky at the top of the forum under the "General Categories/Styles" section. Have fun with it.
 

rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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One thing I'm missing here is some info about Fenn himself. It would be nice if someone would post some so we can have a historical basis for this discussion (hint, hint, RM).

BTW, this thread is now linked in the "Post Your (Maker's Name) Clocks" sticky at the top of the forum under the "General Categories/Styles" section. Have fun with it.
Um... see my posting earlier on this thread....

RM
 

The Treasured Clock

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I am partial to red, black, or both. I like the richness and depth that variagation of colors it brings to some clocks. The tablets in clocks are an example of that. This art form might be overlooked at times unless it is in an art museum. However, art is a part of horology and the history of horology. You have shown some great examples of tablets.
Jonathan Lee Jones
 

Thyme

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I guess this previous thread (click here) should be added as link in this one, as it shows how I learned about my (probably) Fenn tablet and the dating of Gilbert clocks and their labels.

(I don't mind 'eating crow' after the feathers have been removed.) :D
 

tom427cid

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Tom,
Although I'm partial to the green in my tablet, I also like the blue in yours. I'm glad to see another version of it. Curious to know more about your mini-OG. Who made it? Any idea when it dates to?

My version is in a Chauncey Jerome steeple with brass springs that dates to around 1847-50. See http://home.earthlink.net/~mmbailey39/id17.html for more info on the clock.

Thanks for keeping the thread alive.
Mike
Hi Mike,
I wish I did know who made it. It is an odd height 16 3/4" and no paper. Was given to me by a dealer over 20 years ago w/o a movement. Couple of years ago I found a short drop octagon top 8 day movement and installed it. My guess to the age would be based on the glass which I believe is original to the clock. I suspect that your dates are probably correct for the case.
tom
 

rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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Fenn stencilled glasses can be found in lowly cottage clocks and timepieces as well.

The first clock is a time and strike cottage clock by D.S. Crosby, a not often found N.Y.C. maker (more likely assembler; for more about him see Roberts and Taylor Forestville Clockmakers, page 144 ).

Instead of being physically divided, the door has a single piece of glass with the upper 2/3 clear and the decoration at the bottom, making for a visual division instead. Note the use of free hand decoration for the background. Contrary to some widely held beliefs, Fenn's glasses are not uncommonly embellished with additional free hand details.

The last 2 examples are monochromatic Fenn stencilled glasses where the decoration is the empty space, like a "negative". The clocks are both little S.B. Terry ladder movement cottage timepieces.

The case of the first is covered in textured decorated paper rather than veneer. The stencil for its glass is in Bailey's Clock Decorating Stencils, etc, etc (another impossibly long title for a small book). You will have to look for it as this wonderful work does not have page numbers.

The second has a veneered front, the sides are covered with paper with a printed wood grained pattern!

RM
 

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Jerome collector

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When I first started this thread with examples of Fenn tablets in my collection, I included one from a Forestville column & cornice clock with an 8-day lyre movement. The partners in the Forestville Manufacturing Company at this time were JC Brown, SB Smith, and Chauncey Goodrich. According to Roberts and Taylor, in Jonathan Clark Brown and the Forestville Manufacturing Company, they were partners from around 1845-47. As is often the case with clocks I've owned, there was a connection (by marriage) between this clock and Chauncey Jerome. Jerome was married to Salome Smith, SB Smith's sister. One of their sons, Samuel Bryan, was named after her brother. [I realize that's a bit of a stretch, but I see Jerome connections everywhere. Kind of an older version of that "six degrees of Kevin Bacon" connection.]

I had been hoping I'd locate digital images of the other tablet on the clock, but no such luck. The best I could come up with was a photo of the entire clock from pre-digital camera days. Unfortunately, it's taken from an angle, and the resolution isn't great. The lower tablet is the one shown previously. The middle glass is also a Fenn, but, interestingly enough, the layout is somewhat different from the version shown in Chris Bailey's compilation. The central element of the tablet is upside down compared to the one in the Fenn book. To be honest, I'm not sure whether the glass was mounted upside down, or if the version in the book is upside down. The other difference is that, in the book, the long axis of the border is vertical; on the Forestville it's horizontal. That's one of the fascinating and challenging aspects of studying Fenn stencils: sometimes elements are mixed and matched and rearranged, so they don't always match the book examples.

Mike
 

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rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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When I first started this thread with examples of Fenn tablets in my collection, I included one from a Forestville column & cornice clock with an 8-day lyre movement. The partners in the Forestville Manufacturing Company at this time were JC Brown, SB Smith, and Chauncey Goodrich. According to Roberts and Taylor, in Jonathan Clark Brown and the Forestville Manufacturing Company, they were partners from around 1845-47. As is often the case with clocks I've owned, there was a connection (by marriage) between this clock and Chauncey Jerome. Jerome was married to Salome Smith, SB Smith's sister. One of their sons, Samuel Bryan, was named after her brother. [I realize that's a bit of a stretch, but I see Jerome connections everywhere. Kind of an older version of that "six degrees of Kevin Bacon" connection.]

I had been hoping I'd locate digital images of the other tablet on the clock, but no such luck. The best I could come up with was a photo of the entire clock from pre-digital camera days. Unfortunately, it's taken from an angle, and the resolution isn't great. The lower tablet is the one shown previously. The middle glass is also a Fenn, but, interestingly enough, the layout is somewhat different from the version shown in Chris Bailey's compilation. The central element of the tablet is upside down compared to the one in the Fenn book. To be honest, I'm not sure whether the glass was mounted upside down, or if the version in the book is upside down. The other difference is that, in the book, the long axis of the border is vertical; on the Forestville it's horizontal. That's one of the fascinating and challenging aspects of studying Fenn stencils: sometimes elements are mixed and matched and rearranged, so they don't always match the book examples.

Mike
Thems is nice Fenn glasses.

It's my understanding that each glass represents a complete stencil, rather than separate stencils for portions of the tablet, ie, the center, then boarder, and so on.

I remember reading somewheres that Fenn would recut stencils as they became worn or damaged, so it's conceivable that parts of a stencil may have changed over time while other parts remained.

I also believe that Fenn repeated, but not copied, certain motifs. For example, looking at the stencils in the 2 Fenn books and at the glasses themselves, there are many incorporating a similar eagle rampant. So stencils share similarities with differences as well.

As a side note, sometimes basically the same glass was produced in different sizes, one for the larger tablet used in an ogee or other larger shelf clock, a smaller version for say a tablet in a steeple. One design which comes to mind is the ribbed urn flanked by drapes.

Finally, what has survived and then of that what has been published probably represents just a small portion of Fenn's body of work. It's one of the reasons why a thread like this is valuable. I'm sure there are glasses out there that ain't in the books.

RM
 

Jerome collector

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RM,

I mostly agree with your comments about the glasses representing complete stencils. Looking back at what I wrote, it looks as though I was implying that the center portion was stenciled and then the border was rotated and stenciled to fit the horizontally oriented glass. If you look closely at the borders (on the glass and on the stencil), while they use the same elements in the pattern, they are not identical. So, clearly this was a separate stencil (from the one illustrated in the book) but based on the same design elements.

As for whether Fenn's stencils were always complete stencils, I'm not so sure. Chris Bailey's compilations include many examples of a single design element (like a corner piece). I have always assumed these were single elements that were combined with other stencils to create a design. Perhaps they represent surviving fragments of a larger design or works-in-progress that never developed into complete designs.

As you say, it's valuable to document stencils not reproduced in Chris Bailey's books. Thanks for bringing up this point and for allowing me to clarify my earlier post.

Mike
 

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I would urge the contributors to this thread, to collaborate and turn it into an article for the Encyclopedia!

bangster
 

rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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Mike,

Yes, good point.

There are elements that were used as boarders, decorative corners, etc. on tablets. They were elements incorporated into the body of the glass, eg., a gilt boarder framing a painted scene. I believe there's an example of a clock illustrating this in on of the Fenn monographes...don't have access to them now.

RM
 

Jerome collector

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Jordan (ajk0806) posted pictures from his George Marsh OG recently (https://mb.nawcc.org/showthread.php?86277-George-Marsh-Clock-Need-help-ID-ing), and the tablet caught my eye as a potential Fenn. He graciously allowed me to post images here. There is a similar stencil in Chris Bailey's "More Clock Decorating Stencils" that convinces me it is possibly a Fenn. If I don't sound completely convinced, it's because of the simplistic treatment of the bird and branch. Typically, Fenn's birds and foliage are more detailed.
ajk0806-Fenn from George Marsh OG-2.jpg ajk0806-Fenn from George Marsh OG-1.jpg
 

rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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Jordan (ajk0806) posted pictures from his George Marsh OG recently (https://mb.nawcc.org/showthread.php?86277-George-Marsh-Clock-Need-help-ID-ing), and the tablet caught my eye as a potential Fenn. He graciously allowed me to post images here. There is a similar stencil in Chris Bailey's "More Clock Decorating Stencils" that convinces me it is possibly a Fenn. If I don't sound completely convinced, it's because of the simplistic treatment of the bird and branch. Typically, Fenn's birds and foliage are more detailed.
124458.jpg 124381.jpg
I understand your reservations. It may not the most complex design Fenn executed, but I do think it is most likely attributable to him.

I don't have access to the 2 monographs devoted to the Fenn stencils. I was able to go to Lucinda Servino's article about him via the link in your first posting.

The overall feel, style, execution of the boarders and color pallet is right.

Also look at the avian glass in figures 6 and 7. It uses the same repeating diamond pattern in the back ground.

Also look at the avian glass in figure 16. It's almost as if this was a simplified version. Yes, it's possible it's a knockoff by someone less skilled, too.

Finally, George Marsh is listed as one of Fenn's customers in the table on page 15.

So, could be?

Whatever, it's a great glass and makes the clock collectible.

RM[/quote]
 
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Jerome collector

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RM,
Thanks for checking Lucinda Servino's article. In my haste, I neglected to look at it again. I agree with your assessment. The glass that you list as Figure 16 I assume is actually Figure 19. That appears to be the same pattern that I saw in Chris Bailey's compilation. As you note, Jordan's example seems to be a simpler version. Certainly the borders are very similar. Glad to get your take on the tablet.
Mike
 

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Hi, I have been following this with interest, but certainly know little to none about Fenn's work. I agee it certainly has the characteristics pointed out by others. However, I will go back to my comment on the other thread, that I would expect more paint flakeing on a tablet of this age. It certanly is not consistent with age wear shown on the label, the face and the side panel of the clock, and missing gong. I copied one of Jordan's pictures which shows part of the back of the tablet. You can see that the tabet is held in by a very small strip of wood, evidence that it had been removed in the past. Removed for past restoraton, quality reprodution, or just removed so as to be able to restore the door, I certainly do not know the answer. Just my observations. Charles attachment.jpg
 

harold bain

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Charles, I suspect the bell may just be missing a screw, and has slipped down. The hammer certainly can't reach the bell where it is now.
 

Jerome collector

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Hi, I have been following this with interest, but certainly know little to none about Fenn's work. I agee it certainly has the characteristics pointed out by others. However, I will go back to my comment on the other thread, that I would expect more paint flakeing on a tablet of this age. It certanly is not consistent with age wear shown on the label, the face and the side panel of the clock, and missing gong. I copied one of Jordan's pictures which shows part of the back of the tablet. You can see that the tabet is held in by a very small strip of wood, evidence that it had been removed in the past. Removed for past restoraton, quality reprodution, or just removed so as to be able to restore the door, I certainly do not know the answer. Just my observations. Charles attachment.jpg
Charles,
You raise some good points. However, many of the other tablets posted on this thread are from clocks of equivalent age or even older, and their condition is even better in some instances. Many of the Fenn examples I've seen, even in clocks that were otherwise distressed, have been well preserved. And this tablet is not perfect: the image you posted (thanks for posting it to this thread) has multiple flaking areas, and more can be seen from the front.

Although I agree that the means of fastening is suspicious, I'd need to see additional evidence to be convinced. For example, what I'm not seeing is evidence of putty that has been removed and replaced with the wood strip. Nor am I seeing evidence of additional nail holes from a longer strip of wood that may have been replaced by this short strip. There also isn't evidence for differential oxidation between the frame of the door and the portion that would have been covered by putty or wood, suggesting that the two surfaces of the door frame have been exposed to the same conditions since the clock was made. I think this is a case where we've pointed out everything we can about the tablet, but, without seeing it in person, it will be impossible to resolve the questions.

I agree that the gong is missing and has been replaced by a bell. It's not a matter of the bell slipping, as Harold suggested (in my opinion). You can clearly see one of the screw holes for the gong on the right side of the unoxidized paper. And a bell is inappropriate for a typical OG of this period.

One thing to consider is that a Fenn descendant continued to use original Fenn stencils long after he was gone. Perhaps this is a Fenn from a later time period. I'm not convinced it's not correct and original to the case, though.

Mike
 

Steven Thornberry

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Charles, I suspect the bell may just be missing a screw, and has slipped down. The hammer certainly can't reach the bell where it is now.
The bell is, I think, a curiously placed replacement for a wire gong, the outlines of which can be seen slightly above it.
 

rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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Charles,
You raise some good points. However, many of the other tablets posted on this thread are from clocks of equivalent age or even older, and their condition is even better in some instances. Many of the Fenn examples I've seen, even in clocks that were otherwise distressed, have been well preserved. And this tablet is not perfect: the image you posted (thanks for posting it to this thread) has multiple flaking areas, and more can be seen from the front.

Although I agree that the means of fastening is suspicious, I'd need to see additional evidence to be convinced. For example, what I'm not seeing is evidence of putty that has been removed and replaced with the wood strip. Nor am I seeing evidence of additional nail holes from a longer strip of wood that may have been replaced by this short strip. There also isn't evidence for differential oxidation between the frame of the door and the portion that would have been covered by putty or wood, suggesting that the two surfaces of the door frame have been exposed to the same conditions since the clock was made. I think this is a case where we've pointed out everything we can about the tablet, but, without seeing it in person, it will be impossible to resolve the questions.

I agree that the gong is missing and has been replaced by a bell. It's not a matter of the bell slipping, as Harold suggested (in my opinion). You can clearly see one of the screw holes for the gong on the right side of the unoxidized paper. And a bell is inappropriate for a typical OG of this period.

One thing to consider is that a Fenn descendant continued to use original Fenn stencils long after he was gone. Perhaps this is a Fenn from a later time period. I'm not convinced it's not correct and original to the case, though.

Mike
I concur with Mike's statements.

The use of wooden retaining strips for the glass is not unexpected, though the small size of the one that is visible is for this size of tablet. It wouldn't be out of place for a smaller glass. However, oxidation and color look okay. Hard to tell shape of brad. Would need better pics of back of glass to make more definative statement.

Further, the apparent discordance between the condition of the glass and that of the label doesn't cause me to question it's originality. I have some Fenn glasses the good condition of which has caused me to study them for a long time before I decided they were right prior to buying a clock.

Interesting thought about the possibility that this is the work of Fenn's daughter. As per my recollection of a verbal communication with Chris Bailey, she inherited his stencils (later donating them to the ACWM in Bristol). She did tablet painting and restoration. However, I'm not sure she cut her own stencils as opposed to using his! Below is a clock with a glass which MAY HAVE BEEN by her hand (by the by, the auction catalog said in the condition report original glass; nope. Also may not have the original dial):

11.jpg

If it is, it is good but not to the master's standard.

RM
 

Jerome collector

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Scott (Branchwater123) recently posted some images from a Seth Thomas 8-day sleigh front clock that has two Fenn tablets (see https://mb.nawcc.org/showthread.php...le-tablet-8-day-clock-any-tablet-picture-info). He has allowed me to post images of the tablets on the Fenn thread. Below I've excerpted what I was able to discover (previously posted on Scott's thread) about the tablets:

"I was not able to find an exact match for the lower tablet, although examples of stencils using the gold border can be found in both Fenn stencil books, and the floral arrangement is found in a couple of stencils in the red book (More Clock Decorating Stencils...). Interestingly enough, the examples in the book show the reverse image of yours. The lower tablet is pictured in the red book, both as a stencil with a border and a 20th century reproduction using the reverse image in a ca. 1835 Seth Thomas wood works clock."

Mike
 

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rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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One more for the on-line Fenn collection.

A few weeks ago I was picking around locally and came across a COMPLETE WRECK of an ogee. What was left was being held together by duct tape. The young 20 something minding the shop was shocked that I was interested.

I bought it for parts and veneer.

One of the "cherce" parts rescued was the nice "Boardman and Wells" Fenn glass.

The background is actually a dark green, not as dark as it appears from the scan.

Not the surround looks free hand...another example of how Fenn may have combined this with stencilling on his glasses?

RM
 

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This is another one of those threads that I'd really enjoy participating in, and contributing to, but because I don't actually have any original Fenn tablets in my collection (my own photos), I can't really share much on here. I do have several hundred images of clocks with original Fenn glasses (some that are rare and unusual with very interesting colours), but they could be "copyrighted" and I don't have permission to post them.

What I do want to say, however, is that while I was working on the replacement tablets for my Birge and Fuller clock, I hand-cut some permanent stencils, one of which is the 4th photo in the original post (with a design that's supposed to be 4 peaches and leaves). I also have several other different designs cut (which is quite painstaking), as well as a few wooden works splat and door stencil designs.

The stencil, as well as the colour scheme, used for the Birge and Fuller were based off an original tablet from another B&F clock.

115.jpg

The following "sample" tablets were done YEARS AGO when I didn't really know any better, so you will have to excuse the AWFUL COLOUR SCHEMES. None of these have accurate colours/combinations. I'm only sharing them to show the patterns that were recreated from the books. Also note that these were done QUICKLY and they're not perfect.

65.jpg

I tried this one with traditional artist's oils and I did not like the results (note the crackling):

66.jpg

67.jpg

The pale white used for the stencil was too pale on this one, so the leaf details in the border don't show up well.

68.jpg

I have several other patterns (not photographed).

If anyone should be interested in a repro tablet, they can contact me by PM.
 

Jerome collector

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One more for the on-line Fenn collection.

A few weeks ago I was picking around locally and came across a COMPLETE WRECK of an ogee. What was left was being held together by duct tape. The young 20 something minding the shop was shocked that I was interested.

I bought it for parts and veneer.

One of the "cherce" parts rescued was the nice "Boardman and Wells" Fenn glass.

The background is actually a dark green, not as dark as it appears from the scan.

Not the surround looks free hand...another example of how Fenn may have combined this with stencilling on his glasses?

RM
RM,
That's a sweet tablet. For those looking for the stencil pattern, it's reproduced in the red Fenn book. Amazing to me that the glass would be so well preserved in a "wreck of an ogee." Very fortunate find. With respect to the hand-done borders, I've reposted one of my Fenn tablets below that also has off-whitish-goldish freehand stripes. On mine, the stripes obscure the stenciled border. Not sure it's my favorite combination of stenciling and freehand.
Mike
Tablet-low.jpg
 

Jerome collector

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This is another one of those threads that I'd really enjoy participating in, and contributing to, but because I don't actually have any original Fenn tablets in my collection (my own photos), I can't really share much on here. I do have several hundred images of clocks with original Fenn glasses (some that are rare and unusual with very interesting colours), but they could be "copyrighted" and I don't have permission to post them.

What I do want to say, however, is that while I was working on the replacement tablets for my Birge and Fuller clock, I hand-cut some permanent stencils, one of which is the 4th photo in the original post (with a design that's supposed to be 4 peaches and leaves). I also have several other different designs cut (which is quite painstaking), as well as a few wooden works splat and door stencil designs.

The stencil, as well as the colour scheme, used for the Birge and Fuller were based off an original tablet from another B&F clock.



The following "sample" tablets were done YEARS AGO when I didn't really know any better, so you will have to excuse the AWFUL COLOUR SCHEMES. None of these have accurate colours/combinations. I'm only sharing them to show the patterns that were recreated from the books. Also note that these were done QUICKLY and they're not perfect.



I tried this one with traditional artist's oils and I did not like the results (note the crackling):

The pale white used for the stencil was too pale on this one, so the leaf details in the border don't show up well.

I have several other patterns (not photographed).

If anyone should be interested in a repro tablet, they can contact me by PM.
Sooth,

Always good to hear from you. Thanks for sharing your early attempts at reproducing Fenn tablets. You've given me ideas for a couple of my clocks that have inappropriate replacement tablets.

Mike
 

rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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Soothe, not too shabby! You realize the lower tablet is freehand?

Mike, yes amazing in the midst of devastation how that glass survived. It motivated me to save it. Sort of like those stories you hear about of the house destroyed by a tornado but one delicate thing was found to have survived in place.

RM
 

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Nice job Sooth, do you do restorations on tablets.
 

Sooth

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Yes, but I avoid it as much as possible. I'd rather have a slightly flaky original tablet than a restored one, but it depends. The hard part is always the colour matching. The most extensive tablet restoration I did was on this clock, and involved repainting just the background colour:

http://www.angelfire.com/me5/clockman/wsj.html

It took me something like 22 different custom mixed shades of blue-green until I had a good match.

As received:
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v473/sooth15/Clocks/WSJohnsonOG.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v473/sooth15/Clocks/TabletBefore.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v473/sooth15/Clocks/Samples.jpg
 

Kevin W.

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I realize matching must take a fair bit of time and the actual ability to do the work.
 

rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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Yes I know the bottom glass is freehand, because I was the one who painted it. There are a few small areas in the upper tablet that are freehand as well (the green and orange leaves inside the oval).

Also: it's Sooth (no e) short for soothsayer.
Oh forsooth, for I have erred!

RM
 

Jerome collector

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According to More Clock Decorating Stencils of Mid-19th Century Connecticut, the eagle is a copy from a Fenn design but not an actual Fenn. The book notes that it's a decalcomania, not made from a stencil. The example shown in the book, in an Ingraham "Venetian" clock from ca. 1870, is identical to yours except for the corner spandrels. The Venetian, having an oval tablet, does not have space for corner spandrels like yours. The Fenn stencils that have a similar eagle have subtle differences from yours: different arrangement of stars between the spread wings, different flowers/branches in the eagle's claw.
Mike
 

rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

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Like Mike said.

On a previous thread, posted an SB Terry version of a sleigh front.

Lower tablet virtually same glass as in the beehive.

It is a decalcomania.

Fenn apparently always had his imitators. The "stencil books" from the ACWM and I believe Linda Burleigh Servino's wonderful Bulletin article on the topic show examples of earlier imitations done by hand (they're pretty good; also posted an example of one, I hope; I never know these days what is working). Later on, they were decalcomania imitations. They hastened his retirement from the clock trade and entry into farming!

RM
 

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