More Americana from John Haley Bellamy...

Discussion in 'Your Newest Clock Acquisition' started by rmarkowitz1_cee4a1, Jun 29, 2013.

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  1. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    I thought I would share a clock with a case which I feel can be firmly attributed to the important American carver from Kittery Maine, John Haley Bellamy.

    For an earlier posting of a clock with a case front by Bellamy decorated with the iconography of Freemasonry, please click https://mb.nawcc.org/showthread.php?85509-Bellamy-Carved-Masonic-Timepiece. If the link doesn't work, paste the URL into the navigation bar. The last picture posted (I hope) shows the clock which is the subject of this posting beside the subject clock of the first. Note the size difference.

    To briefly recap, John Haley Bellamy was a wood carver who worked in the latter 1/2 of the 19th into the early 20th century in Kittery, ME (not too far from where I live in NE MA) and Boston. His carved eagles are the best known and most desirable of his carvings. Included in his oeuvre are carved frames, shelves, and clock case fronts which utilize the iconography of Freemasonry. He was granted a number of patents for the last.

    The most complete reference about this important American carver to date is "John Haley Bellamy: Carver of Eagles" by Yvonne Brault Smith. This reference will be referred to as Smith. There is also a wonderful on-line museum with examples of his clocks and other work. Please follow this link: http://www.phoenixmasonry.org/masoni...ture_frame.htm . Once again, if this link doesn't work with the new improved better than ever you betcha software, try cutting and pasting the URL into the navigation bar.

    The clock is 14 1/2 inches tall. The walnut front is obviously hand carved with the iconography of Freemasonry. I have a close up of a column capital. Each is topped with a single punched star. It's that kind of silly little bit of detail that I love. There are 2 glazed spun brass glazed bezels. The paper dial is replaced with one of those Schweinehund or whatever the guy's name was who produced those paper replacement dials which have been used to vandalize what now must be a couple of generations of American clocks. The bezel and dial pan are absolutely original as is the lower bezel.

    The movement is housed in essentially a box with a round top (kerf cut pine and then covered with walnut veneer) which is screwed to the decorative front. The movement is a somewhat interesting unsigned round brass plate 8 day time only movement with a steel spring. For a virtually identical movement, please see Tran's first edition "Welch" book, page 166, figure 344. I suspect the screws stripped out of the rather flimsy back board so that now the movement is attached with brass screws and nuts. Not elegant, but definitely preferable to repositioning the movement or moving the mounting "feet" thus creating extra holes of which there are none. Based upon the foot print on the back board, I have no doubt as to the originality of the movement.

    The inner backboard bears a printed paper label for EN Welch. There is a small paper label on the outer backboard as well.

    For a virtually identical example, see Smith, page 88. Also see the same reference, page 89 for a patent for a clock front which describes this clock front to a "T". The date of the patent was 10/4/1870. Also use the link to the web site for a very similar example to this clock. For a timepiece with a different Bellamy Masonic case front, please see Smith, page 17. So timepieces were produced with Bellamy carved fronts.

    RM
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Peter A. Nunes

    Peter A. Nunes Moderator
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    It's a beauty, Bob. Did you buy the signed Bellamy tool box that was at auction a couple of weeks ago? It would be a nice complement to your Bellamy timepieces.
     
  3. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Thank you!

    Not aware of the tool box. Do you have a link or a pic?

    I do know of a carved box that was bought in not too long ago at a Skinner Americana sale. It was carved with an eagle and was signed. To my knowledge, Bellamy didn't sign his work. The box had been for sale by a high priced nautical/Americana dealer for a long time. In fact, it was a lot of phooey. The carving was nothing like Bellamy's. Smith has an example of his signature. The signature on the box was nothing like it.

    RM
     
  4. Peter A. Nunes

    Peter A. Nunes Moderator
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    This was just a plain wooden tool box, with Bellamy's name inside in paint. I don't remember which auction house it was, but up around Portsmouth or York, and within the last month or so.
     
  5. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    If you recall which auction house, let me know. Would like to see it.

    If purchased by a dealer, may surface again around here.

    RM
     
  6. Peter A. Nunes

    Peter A. Nunes Moderator
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    Here are the pictures, Bob. This was sold at a Hap Moore, York, Maine auction on June 11th. Below is the description:

    [SIZE=+1]Woodcarver, J.H. Bellamy, Kittery Point, Maine signed small toolbox which he left at a friend’s shop where he often worked (family letter included).

    Certainly an interesting link to Mr. Bellamy, if it's the real thing.[/SIZE]

    Lot.144.Bellamy.toolbox.jpg Lot.144.Bellamy.signature.jpg
     
  7. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    I think I've narrowed things down.

    The box you refer to, unless put up again for auction a couple of weeks ago, was sold by Hap Moore up here nearly 3 years ago.

    I'm not the expert, but I just don't like the way the signature looks....almost looks like it was done with a felt tipped pen.

    See Smith, page 89. Really doesn't look like his wonderfully florid Victorian signature. ON page 16 of the same reference, there's another reproduction of his handwriting. Also not a match.

    Then again, he was troubled by the "Devil Rum" and apparently his faculties began to deteriorate. Sometimes that's reflected in handwriting. So, if it's a later signature....

    RM

    PS: stumble upon another carved clock on my picking route by an important Boston firm who did many important commissions....including the interiors of the UN in NYC. Stay tuned for a future posting. In the process of doing
    some research.
     
  8. Peter A. Nunes

    Peter A. Nunes Moderator
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    It was sold in his June 11th, 2013 auction for $460.00. Back like a bad penny?
     
  9. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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  10. Peter A. Nunes

    Peter A. Nunes Moderator
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    Bob, we have a nice example at the American Clock & Watch Museum- I noticed it today while I was visiting. Also features wings, dividers, etc.
     
  11. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Any chance can post a picture??

    RM
     
  12. Peter A. Nunes

    Peter A. Nunes Moderator
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    Yes, at our next meeting I'll take a couple of pictures.
     
  13. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    #13 rmarkowitz1_cee4a1, May 24, 2014
    Last edited: May 24, 2014
    Thought I would alert people to a new resource about Bellamy.

    There is currently an exhibition of Bellamy's work in Portsmouth, NH. I'm hoping to make it there before it closes.

    Anyway, accompanying the exhibit is a new book, "American Eagle: The Bold & Brash Life of John Haley Bellamy" by James A. Craig. Nice little book. Does add much that wasn't in Smith's book which I have referenced in other related postings.

    He does discusses and pictures some of shelf Bellamy's clocks/timepieces. I have previously posted 2 Masonic shelf clocks on this thread and on another the link to which is below.

    There was also a recent thread about 2 clocks recently sold at Skinner's. One was a Masonic clock. The other an Odd Fellows which I said was probably by Bellamy as well.

    Here's a link to that thread: https://mb.nawcc.org/showthread.php?113489-Mason-and-Odd-Fellows-clocks

    Well, the Odd Fellows clock is his work according to this book.

    See the relevant scans from the book below.

    I have also included a scan from the book which has no direct relationship to clocks, per se. It shows the mate to a Bellamy Masonic frame (figure 4.10) which can be seen in one of my earlier postings along with one of the clocks. Furthermore, based upon 2 of the carved frames also shown (figures 4.11 and 4.12), I am pretty convinced that I can attribute ANOTHER frame I own to Bellamy as well!

    This book is worth it to anyone who likes American carvings.

    Just as an aside. There was a thread recently started asking who did the wonderful carving found on wooden works shelf clock cases? Well, virtually all of that is anonymous and unattributable as is most period furniture that was carved, painted, etc. Not to mention as are most of the wonderful hand painted tablets, dials, etc. These Bellamy objects are an exception to that.

    RM
     
  14. Steven Thornberry

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    I have, with some regret, removed the pictures that were in the post directly above because they were added form a book without the permission of the book's copyright holder. As tiresome as it may seem to be, it is imperative that copyrighted material not be used on this message board without the express consent of the copyright holder.
     
  15. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    I would urge people to seek out the book I mention for more information.

    It's worthwhile.

    RM
     
  16. Tom McIntyre

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  17. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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  18. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    #18 rmarkowitz1_cee4a1, Oct 13, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2017
    To quickly summarize.

    John Haley Bellamy was a wood carver from Kittery, ME in the second 1/2 of the 19th century.

    He did carvings for ships (there's a shipyard in Kittery). As demand for figure heads and other decorative carvings for ships declined, he also did a variety of other types of decorative carving including picture and mirrors frames, furniture, household wood work and of course his most famous and sought after, his eagles.

    In partnership with a Titicomb, he produced shelf clock cases for E.N. Welch. The fronts are decorated with the symbols of popular fraternal orders of the time including the Masons and Odd Fellows. These clocks are now collected as folk art.

    Previously on this thread and an earlier one (here's a link to that one: Bellamy Carved Masonic Timepiece? ) , I posted 2 examples that came into my possession. One can find additional information in those threads as well as links to an on line Masonic museum with additional examples as well as references from 2 books devoted to Bellamy. One can find much more information about him the books cited along with examples of his oeuvre.

    Recently I came into possession of yet a 3rd example:

    Bellamy masonic 1.JPG

    This is the largest example of the three. It contains an E.N. Welch 8 day brass spring driven time and strike movement with a "club tooth" escape wheel. Here's the innards with label:

    Bellamy masonic 3.JPG

    Here's a group shot:

    Bellamy masonic 2.JPG

    Did I mention the Kittery Shipyard??

    Well, my superfluous entry will be this watercolor of a ship from that yard, the USS Ossipee:

    Ossipee 1.JPG

    This was drawn by a draftsman @ the shipyard, a one Mr. Phillbrick. Probably had the ship in front of him?

    It was named after the Ossipee River in NH. If I recall correctly (I have all sorts of info stashed somewhere) it was launched in 1862. It was a single screw steam sloop that was used as a gun boat during the Civil War and saw much action.

    It's greatest claim to fame was that it was part of Farragut's fleet that participated in the Battle of Mobile Bay where he supposedly uttered the famous words, "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead" or something like that. It also participated in the capture during that battle of the CSS Tennessee. Here's a print of the period that depicted that event:

    ossipee.jpg

    RM
     
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  19. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    PatH. was kind enough to direct me to with much information regarding Bellamy's patents for his clock fronts and other things. See this:

    John H. Bellamy charlestown - Google Search

    I found there patent's for his clock fronts and picture frames of the type of which I own an example.

    There are patents for wall brackets which I have encountered with some frequency as well.

    Interesting stuff. Take a look.

    RM
     
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  20. Jerome collector

    Jerome collector Registered User
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    RM,

    That's a wonderful little family you have there. Great to see three different sizes with such deeply carved iconography/symbology. The patent info tracked down by PatH is a nice bit of sleuthing that fleshes things out even more.

    Mike
     
  21. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Thanks!

    RM
     
  22. musicguy

    musicguy Moderator
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    These are beautifuly carved clocks, and to own three is fantastic.

    RE:
    I really like the carved figure heads, the museum in Mystic, CT has
    a great collection of carved figure heads and Eagles. I personally
    like the figure heads the best.


    Rob
     
  23. Raymond Rice

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    RM, What a fantastic grouping of folk art! I really appreciate the information about Bellamy. Its this kind of information which makes the forum meaningful to me.
    Ray Rice
     
  24. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Thanks for your kind comments!

    Glad you found it interesting.

    RM
     
  25. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Thanks.

    Yes, he was quite the carver.

    See the books I reference for examples of his nautical work.

    RM
     
  26. PatH

    PatH National Program Chair
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    Like Alice, chasing rabbits is what I do for fun! Glad you found the patent info helpful.

    Pat
     
  27. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    Well, just call me the Mad Hatter for finding it interesting!

    upload_2017-10-16_19-16-37.png

    RM
     
  28. PatH

    PatH National Program Chair
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    :) Just wish we could sit down to tea with Mr Bellamy, and so many others, to learn! Until then, we will continue down rabbit trails looking for answers and new and interesting stuff. Thanks, RM, for sharing what you find!
     
  29. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    My pleasure.

    Well, unless tea is served at a séance, we can't do that ;>)

    But, what we do have are the things that they made (e.g., clocks and other antiques) and wrote. Yes, they can reveal something about that person and how they lived. Furthermore, these are examples of the material culture of the time and they can lead us down those interesting little "rabbit trails". Often nothing profound comes about (sometimes it does), but it's still fun and worthwhile, IMCO. So much more so than the endless flat "date" and "ID" inquiries. And when we do make that little "find", it's exciting. I was thrilled to find the pic of the front of 2 of my clocks amongst the patent info you provided the path to.

    An ancillary benefit was that those patents provided examples of Mr. Bellamy's signature. Who cares? Well, there is currently on the market a very expensive carved box that purports to be by his hand as well as signed by him. I just might go back and compare that signature to the one on the box to see if it's authentic. I should add someone may have also looked up those patents and used the signature to forge that signature, too.

    ANYHOW, keep it up.

    RM

    PS: it seems that Bellamy's signature is not particularly consistent from patent to patent...wonder if a clerk signed for him. Check it out yourself.
     
  30. PatH

    PatH National Program Chair
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    How interesting - I hadn't scrolled down far enough to look at the signatures previously. There is certainly no consistency, as well as multiple variations in a very short timespan. Do you think it possible that he didn't, or couldn't, write? Or perhaps he was too busy to accompany his patent attorney to the filing? Do any of the signatures resemble the one on the box?

    Pat
     
  31. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    I wonder if someone just signed for him.

    That I will have to compare the signatures to the one on the box.

    RM
     
  32. rmarkowitz1_cee4a1

    rmarkowitz1_cee4a1 Registered User
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    I knew I forgot something.

    In one of my previous posts on this thread, I mentioned the USS Ossipee and the Battle of Mobile Bay. Here's the image I included in that post:

    Ossipee 1.JPG

    Well, there was an article in the September/October, 2017 Bulletin that talks about the Battle of Mobile Bay with an emphasis upon the ironclads and, of course, the relevant clocks. Here's a link to that:

    https://nawcc.org/images/stories/bulletin_samples/429_392_401.pdf

    RM
     

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