Tall Case Clock
Robert Latch, clockmaker
Walnut, Veneer, Brass, Metal
Naumkeag Collection, The Trustees
This tall case clock by Simon Willard with original manufacturer’s paper label is a prominent piece in the library at Naumkeag, summer home of the Choate family. This clock with painted dial, fluted columns, and fretwork decoration was made in Roxbury, Massachusetts, and is a fine example of Willard’s work dating to the early years of the 19th Century. It tells time in the room where Mabel Choate, who inherited Naumkeag and landscape architect Fletcher Steele met to review plans for the extensive gardens, and where family members gathered to read one of the many books lining the shelves and to relax by the fire.
Naumkeag (1885), a National Historic Landmark, was designed by McKim, Mead & White as the Stockbridge summer home for two generations of the Choate family. Landscape architects Nathan Barrett and Marion Cruger Coffin designed the estate grounds. Joseph Hodges Choate was a prominent New York City attorney and served as Ambassador to Great Britain from 1899-1905. His wife Caroline was an artist and one of the founders of Barnard College. Several of the first floor reception rooms still reflect the results of Stanford White’s antique and fine art shopping expeditions with Mrs. Choate in the 1880s.
When Naumkeag was bequeathed to The Trustees, the complete estate and household furnishings, furniture, and decorative arts were included. Naumkeag is one of the finest surviving examples of a late 19th century summer estate with its full complement of outbuildings and one of the best preserved Fletcher Steele gardens.