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Tall clock

Odessa, Delaware



Eight-day clock movement by Duncan Beard (working 1765-97), case attributed to John Janvier Sr. (1749-1801)


93 1/2 in x 19 in x 10 in


Mahogany*; tulip poplar* (backboards) and northern white cedar* (glue blocks), brass dial, brass movement, iron hands and fittings.

Credit Line

Historic Odessa Foundation, gift of H. Rodney Sharp

Accession Number



"DUNCAN BEARD: APPOQUINIMINK" in engraved into the moon arch, "JA" is engraved below the date aperture with a Mason's compass and square above. "Cleaned &c Jany: 1: 1823 John Pittman" is written in chalk on the inside of the backboard.  "A Perpetual Weather Table," printed on paper, is pasted inside the waist door.

Condition Notes

The plinth in the center of the pediment has lost three carved leafy sprigs that served as a cartouche, the stems of which once fitted into three holes drilled into the top.  Nubs of the original sprigs remain in two holes.


Ex coll. H. Rodney Sharp


The mahogany case by John Janvier embodies several of his notable features.  The pierced latticework pediment envelops a carved central plinth that once supported three leafy branches, now lost and represented only by short stubs.  None of his several clocks retains an example of a full branch; another clock has remnants with a few leaves remaining.  A dentil course and blind-fret carving, as here, adorn his better cases.  Aside fromthe pediment, two decorative features that define his work are the scalloped and framed waist door and the particular shape of the base panel.  In construction, Janvier pioneered use of stacked horizontal backboards, a feature that occurs on all of his cases.  Other smaller details help identify his work.

The Duncan Beard clock movement and dial incorporate a full range of features, namely a moon arch, seconds dial, and date aperture.  This dial also shows off Beard's engraving skills.  Worked into the design are the initials "JA" and a Masonic compass and square, indicating that the first owner was a Mason.  Research into the local Lodge, in which Beard was very active, reveals four possible candidates.


Sweeney, “Corbit-Sharp House,” 877, pl. II. 

Norcini, “John Janvier, Sr.,” fig. 8.

Waters, Plain and Ornamental, cat. 32.

Zimmerman, A Storied Past, 85-87.