On View: American Identities: A New Look, Expanding Horizons, 5th Floor
This clock features decorative tiles from J. & J. G. Low Art Tile Works, the preeminent maker of art tiles in the United States in the late nineteenth century. Most of their tiles were made for architectural use as wall decoration, but they also incorporated tiles into freestanding objects such as this or placed them in elaborate metal frames as independent works of art.
The clock’s design matches that seen in the patent drawing illustrated here, indicating that the clock is an early example. A number of later variations in the color and design of the ceramic elements are known, some by other clock makers.
Brass and glazed earthenware tiles
Patented January 5, 1886
12 1/4 x 9 x 5 1/4 in. (31.1 x 22.9 x 13.3 cm) (show scale)
Impressed on back of side tiles: J. & J.G. LOW / PAT / ART TILE WORKS / CHELSEA / MASS. U.S.A. / COPYRIGHT 1884 / by J.G. & J.E. LOW
H. Randolph Lever Fund
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New Haven Clock Company (working ca. 1853-1956). Clock, Albatross, Patented January 5, 1886. Brass and glazed earthenware tiles, 12 1/4 x 9 x 5 1/4 in. (31.1 x 22.9 x 13.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, H. Randolph Lever Fund, 88.23. Creative Commons-BY
overall, 88.23_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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Clock with rectangular frame ornamented with cast Chinese cloud motifs sits on attached brass fretwork base. Front and side panels of clock set with glazed earthenware tiles in dark blue with molded decoration of bees, leaves and vine, asymmetrically arranged. Face of clock, inset into front tile, is flanked by brass diamond lozenges and has a circular cover of beveled glass, framed in brass. Inside cover clock face is surrounded by brass border of modified egg-and-dart motif. Arabic numerals painted in black on face; center of face recessed and exposes part of mechanism. Top of clock has rectangular tile cushion panel of dark blue with stylized cloud motif set in brass fretwork frame. Rear of clock has circular opening exposing works; this opening is surrounded by brass border with cloud motifs flanked by diamond lozenges.
CONDITION: Working order but some oxidation to works. Especially chime coil. Two hairline cracks to face, through 6 and between 9/10. X-shaped scratch, upper right of front tile. Normal wear.
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