PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF PATRICIA M. SAX
By 1790, his workshop employed ten to twelve apprentices and produced as many as forty clocks and two hundred watches each year. Harland’s son, Thomas Jr. (1781-1806), apprenticed in the shop as did the clockmakers Seril Dodge, Daniel Burnap, William Cleveland, Ezra Dodge, David Greenleaf Jr. and Nathaniel Shipman. In 1807, Thomas Harland died in Norwich and his shop inventory dated May 25, 1807 included “1 Eight Day Clock 40.00; 1 Ditto without Case 25.00; 1 Eight Day Time Piece 25.00; 1 Mahogany Case 15.00 and 2 Incomplete Clocks 15.00.”
The dial of this clock is of a distinctive type associated with Harland’s work made with a single flat piece of brass engraved with a chapter ring and rococo foliate spandrel designs and then silvered, with a separate seconds dial and calendar aperture in the center. The case is also of a distinctive type found on many of Harland’s tall case clocks with an arched top with a scalloped crest, cornice moldings consisting of an ovolo molding over a cavetto molding, and a flaring base with a cyma-shaped mid-molding and pendant fan. Among the cabinetmakers known to have provided cases for Harland’s clocks are Abishai Woodward of Preston and Felix Huntington of Norwich.3
A closely related clock with a movement by Harland and similar mahogany case is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.4 Another inscribed “Thos. Harland/ Norwich/ 1776” with a musical movement and cherrywood case is in the collection of the U. S. Department of State.5 Several other very similar Harland clocks include one in the collection of the Society of the Founders of Norwich, Connecticut, one at the Wadsworth Atheneum, and one that descended in the Williams family of Stonington, Connecticut.6
1 Hoopes, Penrose, Connecticut Clockmakers of the Eighteenth Century (New York: 1930),p. 83.
2 Ibid, p. 84.
3 Chase, Ada, “Two 18th-Century Craftsmen of Norwich,” Connecticut Historical Society Bulletin 25, no. 3 (July 1960): 84 and Ada Chase and Houghton Bulkeley, “Thomas Harland’s Clocks – Whose Case,” The Magazine Antiques (June 1965), pp. 700-701.
4 See Morrison Heckscher, American Furniture in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York: 1985), pp. 300-302, no. 194.
5 See Clement Conger and Alexandra Rollins, Treasures of State (New York, 1991), p. 184-185, no. 95.
6 See Hoopes, fig. 44, The Society of the Founders of Norwich, Craftsmen & Artists of Norwich (Norwich, 1965), p. 26 and Israel Sack Inc., American Antiques from Israel Sack Collection, Volume I, p. 106, no. 309.
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