Did tablet decorators ever sign their work?

Discussion in 'Reverse Glass and Dial Painting' started by darcy, Jan 3, 2010.

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  1. darcy

    darcy Registered User
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    I just bought a Chauncey Jerome OG with a New Haven, Connecticut label. While looking it over, I noticed that there is a name and date penciled at the top of the lower tablet (on the inside). The name and date look to be:

    Lenza A Cox 1848.

    The date tracks with a Jerome with a New Haven label.

    I have two questions: Did tablet decorators ever sign their work?
    If so, does anyone recognize the name?

    Thank you!

    Darcy
     

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  2. Robert Ling

    Robert Ling Registered User
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    #2 Robert Ling, Jan 4, 2010
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2010
    Hi Darcy,
    And welcome to the board.

    The signature on your tablet might have been an owner of the clock. The frosted glass while nice would have been too common to be signed IMO.

    Reverse painting the glass tablets was popular on shelf and banjo clocks during the 19th century and very few of those were signed by the artist.

    The signature and date are nice to have, and may be that of the first owner and when the clock was first sold.

    Edit: PS, The clock looks nice and original.
     
  3. darcy

    darcy Registered User
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    #3 darcy, Jan 5, 2010
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    Hi, Robert L.-- Yes, I wondered about whether an artist would bother to sign frosted glass. But it did feel like a "bonus" to find a name and date inside the clock. I am looking forward to getting it cleaned up and running again. The dial needs help, but very faintly I can see it is signed Chauncey Jerome New Haven Conn. I wonder whether the original Connecticut clockmakers--Jerome, Terry, Thomas, Brown, etc.-- would be surprised that interest in their clocks continue, and that their clocks continue to run! Thank you again for taking the time to weigh in on my question. Darcy
    -> posts merged by system <-
     
  4. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    Darcy, does this appear to be something that could be "scratched" on after the frosting, or would it have had to be done before the frosting?
     
  5. Steven Thornberry

    Steven Thornberry User Administrator
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    One thing the inscription does, and for that it is quite beneficial, is help confirm a date to the clock. If an owner, perhaps the original owner.
     
  6. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Interesting question and I would say yes, but probably not the one in your clock.

    The lovely glass in your clock is typical of those produced by William B. Fenn. So off hand, I would say the signature was that of an owner or someone who might have repaired the clock. I once owned a Jerome ogee with a wonderful Fenn glass where his signature was incorporated into the original stencil (oh why did I sell that clock!!). A similar example of that glass is shown on the inside cover of Clock Decorating Stencils of Mid-19th Century Connecticut published by the American Clock and Watch Museum.

    See also Norris North and His Contemporary Torrington Clock Makers by Lanzo and Brown, page 78, figures 59, 59B, and 59C for an example of a signed, probably special order glass in a Rodney Brace shelf clock. The signature is incorporated into the gold leaf decoration.

    I also believe that some of the glasses in early Boston banjos were occasionally signed on the reverse by the painters as well.

    Certainly modern painters, eg, Tom Moberg, sign their glasses on the reverse.

    Just to throw something into the mix, see the attached jpg's of a Jeromes and Darrow stenciled colum wooden works transition clock. I'm pretty confident that the glass, albeit "flaky", is original, especially when compared to other examples, undisturbed "putty", style, etc. It appears to be signed "Harriet A Paint" (?) in a period florid script with the same mustard paint used on the background of the glass.

    RM
     

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  7. LloydB

    LloydB Registered User

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    Hmmm... the last name could as easily be 'Pond'.

    Note the very straightforward 'i' in the first name
    would be expected again in 'Paint', but is not there.
     
  8. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Yes, could be.

    RM
    -> posts merged by system <-
    You know, after looking at the pictures again, of course after responding to your posting, I agree with your reading and analysis!!

    Still could be the painter's signature, though I admit might be more convincing if said "pinxt" or something like that.

    Thanks!

    RM
     
  9. Jeremy Woodoff

    Jeremy Woodoff Registered User
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    I think everyone should examine the back of their reverse painted glasses and list any names found. We could possibly begin to identify the painters--who worked for which makers, etc., and maybe even find some information about them. I think Harriet A. Pond painted the glass on the Jeromes' and Darrow clock.
     
  10. darcy

    darcy Registered User
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    What a gorgeous clock! If I'd had the talent to paint a tablet that beautifully, I think I'd want to let people know it was me and would be sorely tempted to sign it. I think it reads "Harriet A. Ponds."

    About my ogee, I believe those of you who suggested it is an owner's name are correct. I took the dial off tonight and much to my surprise, on the top brace secured to the back of the dial is written in pencil, "Lenza A. Cox Lumberton, N.J. 1848." There is also something written across the bottom brace that appears to be in the same hand but it is too faded for me to read (anyone know how to made pencil more visible? Use a special kind of light maybe?) I desperately want to know what is written there!!

    I went to the Internet and there is indeed a Lumberton, New Jersey. However, it was not incorporated until 1860. I could not determine whether they were using the name for the area prior to that.

    I believe this was an owner rather than a clockmaker, as there are several different clockmakers names or initials and dates penciled on the back of the dial (and one label stuck on the Jerome label. Doh!). But it is curious that her name is on a dial brace. She would either have had to take the hands and dial off write it, or have been present when a clockmaker had them off. Or had a clockmaker write it for her, though both the writing on the back of the frosted tablet and the back of the dial appear to be written in the same hand.

    I love the history (and mystery) surrounding clocks as much as the clocks themselves. Thanks again for all of your suggestions and the pictures. I really appreciate your thoughts. Darcy
     
  11. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Thanks for your kind comments.

    A while back, I posted (don't recall what thread it was on) examples of information that owners added to the back boards of clocks and dials. One jpg was of the dial of a Terry miniature ww upon the front of which the proud first own inscribed his name and date of acquisition. The back of the dial was a succession of subsequent owner. I believe you can search the message board under my appellation to find.

    RM
     
  12. Jerome collector

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    RM,
    Not to flog a dead horse, but that "P" looks an awful lot like the script version of a capital "T" that I was taught back in the days when they still taught cursive handwriting. Although the name "Tond" seems even less likely than the other guesses.
    Mike
    -> posts merged by system <-
    darcy,
    I might be able to help confirm the 1848 date if you can post an image of the label. I've been researching labels in Jerome clocks for almost 10 years and have a pretty good idea of which labels were used when. Happens, though, that the late 1840s and early 1850s was a period when there wasn't much label variety. So it's difficult to nail down a specific year. For earlier clocks it's much easier.
    Mike
     
  13. John Hubby

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    I have a Henry C. Smith pillar and splat wood works (1840's?) that has a long-ago restored painted wood dial and a replacement tablet that is signed and dated 1915. I suspect the dial and tablet were done at the same time, the dial appears to be only lightly restored to the original design but the tablet is a gold leaf on black design with grapes and vines, etc. that I don't think is typical of the original that would have been there but very attractive nevertheless. Don't have photos at the moment but will take some and post later.
     
  14. Alvie Singer

    Alvie Singer New Member

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    Hi Darcy-

    My husband's great-great grandfather was Lenza Albert Cox, born in what is now Lumberton New Jersey around 1844. We don't know much about him, but on the census his occupation is listed as "cove maker"- now I'm thinking that it was meant to say "clock maker." It must be the same person, right?
     
  15. Jeremy Woodoff

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    Well, Lenza would have been around 4 years old when he signed the glass. Was his father perhaps also named Lenza? 1848 would probably have been too early for a repairer's signature on this clock, and since the clock was made in New Haven, it seems more likely that Lenza A. Cox was the clock's owner.

    Speaking of names, at first I thought Annie Hall's friend was sending us a message from the 1970s.
     
  16. Kim St.Dennis Sr.

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    #16 Kim St.Dennis Sr., Apr 9, 2010
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2010
    I checked the 1840 & 1850 Census and found a Lenza A Cott (Cox), Female, age 21 in the 1850 Census in South Carolina.
    I think the signature is Lenza A Cot and not Cox. A check of the 1850 Census reveals no Lenza A Cox or Cott living in Connecticut. There is also no last name of Cot in the 1850 Census.
    I think she was the owner of the clock and not the glass artist.
     
  17. Steven Thornberry

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    I agree that the "P" looks an awful lot like a "T." And I also ageee that "Tond" is not so likely; it would be difficult to turn up such a name anywhere, I would like think. Pond, on the other hand, is a known name. And in fact, this webpage brings up a few Harriet Ponds, including one in Connecticut, though, born in 1830, she seems to have been too young to have painted the original tablet. Just to throw out a somewhat pinkish herring.:rolleyes:
     
  18. Jerome collector

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    On vacation in New Hampshire, I visited a fellow clock enthusiast who had a Samuel Terry wood works clock that he wanted to show me. It was a transition-style clock with some interesting variations: a base similar to a pillar & scroll, stenciled quarter columns (instead of half columns), and a beautiful stenciled splat with an American eagle. But what was most intriguing was the signed tablet. The signature instantly reminded me of the one in rmarkowitz's Jeromes & Darrow clock (shown in a previous post to this thread). When the owner and I talked about the significance of finding a second signature for this tablet painter, he was kind enough to let me photograph the clock (see below). Setting aside the signature for the moment, the similarities between the tablets are striking: the details of the bob opening surround are the same, the house depicted is the same or very similar, and the splash of yellow paint seen from the back is the same.

    I commented in an earlier post that I thought the last name was Tond, which seemed unusual and admittedly unlikely. I briefly considered the possibility that "Tond" might be an abbreviation for Tondreau or Tondreault, names that can be found in New England. The signatures on both tablets even end in a period, which could either indicate an abbreviation or simply the painter saying, "this tablet was painted by me." I had no luck in searching Bristol records on-line for variants on Tond. Deciding that Pond was far more likely, I found this link (http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~ctcbrist/bristol-vr-p4.htm), which shows that a Harriet A. Pond married Ozias Peck on Nov. 8, 1832 in Bristol, CT. From the book, Eli Terry and the CT Shelf Clock (Roberts and Taylor, 2nd ed.), Samuel Terry was in business in the area from 1827-1835, whereas Jeromes and Darrow (rmarkowitz's clock) were in business in Bristol from 1827-1833. It is quite conceivable that the unmarried Harriet Pond was painting tablets in the period up to her marriage in 1832, which fits nicely with the dates for the clocks.

    One last item of interest to me is the treatment of the letter "P" in her last name. It is not a standard cursive P, and it had me thinking it was a T. Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Greek_Handwriting.jpg), though, shows the cursive for the Greek letter ro or rho. The block letter looks like a capital P; the cursive is nearly identical to Harriet's "P."

    I urge all collectors with Samuel Terry and Jeromes & Darrow clocks with reverse painted tablets to see if theirs are signed by Harriet Pond or if they have any of the other features that are common to these two. If so, the owner of the Samuel Terry clock, rmarkowitz (who I've talked with about the tablets), and I would love to see examples posted on the message board. As has been noted, it is very rare to find period signed tablets.
     

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  19. Jerome collector

    Jerome collector Registered User
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    One final bit of trivia: the person who performed the marriage service for Harriet and Ozias was Rev. David Lewis Parmalee. According to Chauncey Jerome's autobiography, Jerome and Tracy Peck (connection to Ozias unknown but worth looking into) were largely responsible for getting the funds to build a church (completed in August of 1832) for which the first pastor was Rev. Parmalee. Jerome writes that he "was greatly interested in his preaching for ten years." So, it would seem that Chauncey Jerome was a member of the same church that Harriet Pond and Ozias Peck were presumably married in later that year.
     
  20. Robert Ling

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    Interesting research.... and I think you nailed the ID of the artist. Not bad for a 180 year old cold trail.
    Good job.
     
  21. Jeremy Woodoff

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    The 1930 Census records should list Harriet Pond, her address, and occupation. I do not think they are available on-line, however.
     
  22. Jeremy Woodoff

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    Here is the tablet from my Jeromes and Darrow carved column and splat clock. Interestingly, there is a yellow splash on the reverse of the tablet as on the two other clocks pictured in this thread; unfortunately, there is no signature. (In my last post, above, I meant the 1830 census, not 1930.)
     

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  23. Jerome collector

    Jerome collector Registered User
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    Jeremy,
    The similarities in use of the yellow paint are interesting. I have to admit I don't have much experience scrutinizing tablets, nor do I have any experience in actually creating them. I'd be interested if the more knowledgeable out there would be willing to comment on the common elements between these tablets and whether there are any "artistic fingerprints" that suggest that yours was painted by Harriet Pond.
    Mike
     
  24. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Many thanks to Jerome collector for his excellent detective work! He makes a very coherent case for his assertions. It's rare that the artists who created clock glasses are identified, especially for the CT shelf clock.

    I've now had the opportunity to compare the pics of the glasses of the two clocks side by side. In addition to the signatures and that little splash of yellow paint, the basic similarities in the glasses are hard to ignore. As already stated, the similarity of decorative devices used to surround the oculus for viewing the pendulum and of the main neoclassical building (my glass has a partial view of a second building on the viewer's left). I also think the rendering and general placement of those spongy looking trees and the color pallet are similar as well.

    Start looking at them glasses!

    RM
     
  25. harold bain

    harold bain Registered User
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    I saw a tablet in one yesterday that was signed by the clock's maker. I'm pretty sure it was a Henry Smith clock. Wish I had made notes, but I think it was an OG.
     
  26. Jerome collector

    Jerome collector Registered User
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    Jeremy,

    I came back to this thread because of a recent posting by RM about transition style clocks. I preface my comments by reiterating that I'm not an expert in reverse-painted and stenciled tablets. That said, I've looked closely at your example, as well as the two known Harriet Pond tablets, and I'd argue that the similarities extend beyond the yellow paint. Like the yellow paint, the black around the margins is liberally and thickly applied. Although I don't know what to make of it, your tablet has a yellow smudge in the black border (lower right), which compares nicely to a yellow smudge to the right of the signature in the image I posted previously. Was that smudge made by her finger or thumb? There are strong parallels in how the trees are rendered (especially between yours and RM's). More interesting to me is how texture is given to the landscape by use of horizontal streaks of varying shades of green, alternating with stipple-patterned areas that on your tablet may be low-lying bushes. I believe there's a strong circumstantial case that your tablet was painted by Harriet.

    Following up with a few more details about Harriet. According to an article by Chris Bailey in the Timepiece Journal (Vol. 6, No. 4; winter/spring 2002), the "A" stands for Ann. Some years (number uncertain) into her marriage to Ozias Peck, he died. That left her free to remarry in 1840 to Eli Terry (how's that for a connection?). They had at least one child (son, Stephen). She died on August 22, 1851 and was followed shortly thereafter (February 24, 1852) by Eli. The two of them were buried in a small cemetery in Terryville, CT.

    Still searching for more examples of her work. If you haven't already scrutinized your tablets, please do so and report your findings (especially if you see similarities to Harriet Pond's work).
     
  27. David 62

    David 62 Registered User
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    The direct connection to Eli Terry by marriage,would make owning a Harriet Pond signed tablet very desirable.
    Dave
     
  28. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    I would not consider myself more knowledgeble, but that never stopped me before.

    I thought side by side comparison might help. The first 2 pics are of the signed examples, the last the attirbuted glass.

    First the obverse of the full glasses:
    attachment.jpg
    attachment.jpg
    attachment.jpg

    Then the reverse:
    attachment.jpg
    attachment.jpg
    attachment.jpg

    I've sort of cataloged the similarities in my mind (not meaning the glasses are identical; hand done things rarely are). The color pallet, handling of the trees, sky, grass, buildings, that last application of a big swath of yellow to the back of the glass, the little smear of yellow, the expert gold leaf boarders with pen work, the decoration around the oculus on the 2 signed examples, etc.

    RM
     
  29. David 62

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    Nice Folk art Americana.The tree leaves are very stylized.I know that some of those type trees were done with a stamp.They would use the stamp first with a dark(sap green) and then later back the dark green stamping work with a yellow/green tone paint.If you look closely at the dark green stamping work,it looks like it is mottled or has veins in it.That was the paint being pulled from the glass surface as the stamp was pulled off of the glass after making contact.I have made that type of tree with a cork stamp.Some of the stamps look like they were done with the end of a thin( paper?) rolled up.It's nice that you appreciate art work that was done as a cottage industry and for low wages,so long ago.
    Dave
     
  30. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Interesting info about one of the methods used to create the tree foliage. Prompts me to go back and look at some of the tablets in my clocks again.

    I agree that clock tablets, whether free hand, stenciled or a combination thereof are truly affordable examples of folk art and reflect the popular styles, tastes and themes of their time of creation. I would also include the decorative stenciling and carving used in the decoration of cases. And don't forget the often wonderful dials, too.

    Sadly, they are overlooked in the antique world especially if part of a 30 hour wooden works. Happily, keeps some nice 30 hour wooden works affordable, especially un the current market.

    I'm doing this from an IPhone, so not sure how to create a link (I'm in a tent @ an onsite auction: all the clocks are crap), but I would urge those interested to search for jerome collectors thread on Fenn to see more great glasses.

    RM
    RM
     
  31. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Could this be another tablet attributable (it is not signed) to Harriet Pond?

    Mike (aka Jerome Collector) published a very nice article in the Summer, 2011 issue of The Cog Counters Journal documenting the 2 known reverse painted tablets signed by Harriet A. Pond. Some of the characteristics shared by the 2 tablets he records are (and I'm taking some liberties here):
    1. a landscape scene with a Neoclassical mansion
    2. the buildings are painted a peach color with green architectural panels above the windows
    3. the technique used for the foliage of the trees
    4. liberal use of yellow paint
    5. bob opening with repeating convex arches alternating with 3 lobed flourishes

    I would add that smear of yellow paint on the reverse, a great ability to do gold leaf with pen work.

    Once again as I walked by that mantle in the living room once again the tiny appliance bulb sputtered on.

    Upon the mantle resides a "transition" (okay, okay, short pendulum movement bronzed clock) by Henry Loomis of Bristol, CT.

    Look at the original, albeit flaked, tablet in the Loomis.

    The scene is in an oval reserve with a wonderful gold leaf and penwork boarder like the Jerome and Darrow.

    The pendulum oculus is the same as that in the Terry.

    The building, in the instance of the Loomis is a church. Neoclassical N.E. Church? By the way, looks nothing like the pictures of the Congregational Church of Bristol, CT, at least in its present incarnation. But note the use of the peach, the green panels.

    Look at that blue blending into pink sky, as on the Jerome and Darrow.

    As for the reverse of the glass, liberal use of yellow with 2 yellow streaks.

    Maybe??

    RM

    PS: once again sorry about the dark pictures. Hard to control the glare.
     

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  32. Jerome collector

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    RM,

    Thanks for adding another interesting tablet to the discussion of whether there are other Harriet Pond tablets out there. Filling in one detail regarding your clock, Henry Loomis was active in Bristol from approximately 1830-35 (according to Roberts & Taylor, Eli Terry and the Connecticut Shelf Clock, 2nd ed.). Loomis apparently purchased movements from others and then sold the completed clocks. He overlaps Samuel Terry and Jeromes & Darrow, in terms of clock production, from 1830-33. One additional connection between all of these makers (S. Terry, Jeromes & Darrow, and Loomis) and Harriet Pond is that they were all from Bristol.

    When my wife returned from visiting family recently, I asked her to look at the first three tablets. Whereas I tended to focus on the similarities, she was quick to note the differences. Three of her significant points had to do with perspective, treatment of landscape, and overall composition. Each of those plays into the fourth example.

    Your most recent tablet contribution strikes me as having more in common with the other attributed (unsigned) tablet. In particular, the unsophisticated (no offense!) composition of the painting and the streaky yellow & green paint for the landscape. In the two signed tablets, texture in the landscape is suggested by streaky application of paint, but it's subtler and the colors aren't as garish. Compositionally, both of the unsigned tablets show less mastery of arranging the objects. The one I posted looks flatter than the signed examples, an effect made more pronounced by the way the trees are crowding the foreground. In the tablet with the church, the church crowds out everything else. To top it off, the pendulum oculus obscures much of the facade.

    Do these differences reflect evolution of a single painter or the hand of an entirely different painter?

    Mike
     
  33. David 62

    David 62 Registered User
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    It's tough to make attributions since there are many common traits in various tablets of the period.There was a evolution from hand etched gilding to stencil and from hand drawn scenes to transfers.All of the artists seemed to evolve during the same time span.Since the trees and buildings were done almost the same way on various glasses they must have communicated and probably bought their pigments and other supplies form the same source.The clock maker probably supplied materials.Henry Judd's wife was listed as a tablet painter,so if you buy a Judd clock with original glass,his wife probably painted it.Darrow was a painter,as was Henry Smith...
    Dave
     
  34. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Mike and Dave:

    Food for thought and interesting obervations and comments from both.

    I agree can be very hard to make an attribution and there are undoubtedly some differences from the glass in the Loomis and the 2 signed ones which should give some pause.

    However, siblings don't look identical, but there is a family resemblance. I thought that was the instance here especially with regards to the boarder used in J+D and Loomis, the decoration of the oculus in the Loomis (albeit it impinges upon the church; maybe meant to be like a rose window?) and Terry, the color scheme.

    I'll keep looking...

    RM
     
  35. David 62

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    In The A.W.C.M. in Bristol there is a framed reverse glass painting of flowers done by Harriet Ives,daughter of Joseph Ives.Could that indicate that Harriet painted glasses for Joseph Ives when he was producing clocks?The Ives looking glass clocks have tablets that mostly were done in the same style.There are frequently ships with red triangular flags on grayish rippled water ,the trees have light brown trunks and there is white mixed in with the greens of the grass...I have also noticed the same style of painted glasses on early Jerome reeded pillar and scroll clocks for what ever it is worth...
    Dave
     
  36. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    #36 rmarkowitz1_cee4a1, Oct 26, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 17, 2018
    H'mmmm...the plot thickens.

    Here's some pictures of tablets I lifted from a posting by Peter Nunes of an early bronzed column clock by Jerome, Darrow & Co.:

    74581.jpg

    74582.jpg

    Here's a link to that thread:

    https://mb.nawcc.org/showthread.php?t=67269&page=4

    Tablet configuration more like a reeded pilaster and splat. Where they like this? Note the grayish rippled water, the ship with triangular red flags/penants, light brown used in the tree trunks, etc.

    RM
     
  37. Peter A. Nunes

    Peter A. Nunes Super Moderator
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    See also P. 17 of Chris Bailey's "From Rags to Riches to Rags", for another example of a somewhat (at least there is a ship in it, that appears to be similar to this one) similar tablet, this time in a reeded pilaster ad splat clock by Jerome, Thompson & Co., the successor firm to Jerome, Darrow & Co. (1824-26). I'm not positive the tablet on p. 17 is original- I have a Board meeting at the ACWM in early November, and will have a gander.
     
  38. David 62

    David 62 Registered User
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    Nice glass done in the same style as the Ives looking glass clocks.I like the faux gold leaf.It is possible that Darrow painted it and perhaps painted glasses for Ives.I believe that there is a reverse painted Ives family register at A.C.W.M. that is very well done...
    Dave
     

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