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Tall Case Clock

Eberhardt, Ludwig __Clockworks by ||Stirewalt family __Case by
Place Made:
Rowan County North Carolina United States of America
Date Made:
walnut, light wood, yellow pine
HOA: 95; WOA: 20; DOA: 11
Accession Number:
DESCRIPTION: Tall-case clock: Has a cyma-arched top, the molding of which diminishes at its approach to the top, molding is interrupted with an applied inlaid fan extending downward into the tympanium; tympanun is supported by turned corner columns that flank an arched clock-face door; waist is mounted by an arched door with sight glass and flanked by fluted quarter columns; the whole upon a lower base with a molded base molding above ogee bracket feet; hood, front hood columns, clock door, waist door, waist, quarter columns and lower base are decorated with inlays in folk fashions, representing vines, hearts, eyes, a mouth, pointed tulips, star, fylfot, moon, fan, and lunettes; works have a chain movement.

CONSTRUCTION: Note the rabbeting of the various composite moldings, the unusual decreasing width of the arch molding (observed in several piedmont N.C. clock cases), and the lack of an attached base to the removable hood (the columns do not attach to the base, but rather are nailed to the hood case).

STYLE: The inlay on the case shows British influence in the use of segmental fanlike motifs, and the general form of the case and inset quarter columns are related, if distantly, to Delaware Valley work. The fanciful folk motifs, including the face in the tympanum, the sun piercing a quarter moon in the waist door–suggesting an allusion to the sun overcoming darkness–and the bicolored “fylfot” at the bottom of the door, argue strongly for a German cabinetmaker.

The clock descended in the prominent Rowan/Cabarrus County Steierwalt (Stirewalt) family of housewrights. Several houses attributed to John and Jacob Stirewalt still stand in the region. The case is believed by family members to have been made by a family member. Four Taufschein frakturs from the Stirewalt family (MESDA Acc. No. 3416.1-4) are also in the MESDA Collection.
Credit Line:
Lent by the Family of Mrs. C. J. A. Stirewalt