In the catalogue entry for the Bringhurst clock mentioned above, it is noted that Miller did an investigation of the clock in 1993 in order to provide appropriate restoration. Miller described in his extensive analysis how similar the cases in this group are and how collectively they “show his youthful style in which he often worked to existing patterns but was beginning to assert his design identity.” Two of the cases date slightly earlier, including the present example and the one from the Stuart collection. The other two clocks have cases with carved shells in their waist doors and small appliques next to their brass waist capitals. Miller continued: “The restorations done by this shop can not be considered conjectural. All four of these cases have scrollboard appliques of the same design. A case carved by the same carver some years after this group and housing a movement by the great Philadelphia clockmaker John Wood has a more rendered applique with identical design elements except for the center shell. The outlines of the six missing portions can be seen on the scrollboard and these outlines exactly correspond with the same elements on the other appliques.”
The case is fitted on the side of the bonnet with large viewing windows, which allow for the turning barrel to be viewed as the clock plays its tunes. It houses a musical movement that is associated and possibly the work of the Moellinger family of musical clockmakers of Neustadt/Winstr, Mannheim, Frankenthal and Berlin. The patriarch of the family was Jacob Moellinger (1695-1763) of Neustadt. His son, Friedrich Moellinger (1725-1767), was a famous clockmaker working in Mannheim, Germany. He was born at Neustadt on the Haardt River near Mannheim about 1725 and became Court Clockmaker to the Prince Elector of the Palatinate named Carl Theodor in 1749. He moved to Mannheim in 1751 and continued to work there until his death on June 31, 1767. His younger step-brother, Christian (1754-1826), manufactured astronomical, musical and organ playing clocks in Berlin, where he served a Court Clockmaker to the Prussian kings Frederick the Great and Frederick William II. By 1794, the clockmaker Henry Moellinger (b. 1762) was working in America. He was born in Mannheim in 1762 and apprenticed to a clockmaker in Eberbrach before emigrating to Philadelphia in 1794. He appears listed in the city directory for that year at 118 Sassafras Street and moved to 1 North Third Street in 1804.
For a tall-case clock with associated works by Friedrich Moellinger, see one housed in a New York case with a history in the family of James Beekman (1732-1807) of New York. It was sold in these rooms, Important Americana, January 21-22, 2000, sale 7420, lot 717.
Please call 1-800-555-5555 to order a print catalog for this sale.
Online Registration to Bid is Closed for this Sale. Would you like to watch the live sale?Watch Live Sale