By JoAnne Himmelman
Oh what a curious job I have….I got to work with one of my favourite people and put my “history hunter hat” back on for a couple of weeks. Martin Wright and I have been chums since I started working at the Macpherson House in 2001. He has been a person that I have turned to time and time again for counsel and a shoulder to lean on. I am proud to call him friend. We both have a bone deep love for the Macpherson House– I enjoy taking TIME to sit and talk to him as he has so many memories of the Macpherson House before I stepped through its doors. He has helped relentlessly to present the Macpherson House in its best possible light, time and time again. We have sat in that House countless hours talking shop!
On our behalf – Martin has pursued auctions and has roamed the halls and alleyways of antique houses…all for the love of the game that history collecting truly is. Martin knew that I was on the hunt for a tall case clock for the lower hallway at the House. It was a void in that hall that was gnawing at me. The Laird of Napanee would have had a tall case clock!
In recent months, we had been going back and forth on another clock….but wasn’t really sure… it’s a hard call… I know we should be looking at Canadian made pieces but those early clocks are hard to come by and even if available, our budget couldn’t support it. So we talked and we didn’t think it inconceivable that Macpherson would ship things to Canada from overseas. So we went in hunt of another solution…the House was built c1826 BUT our time period that we like to project at the House is as late as 1840, so anything before that is really fair game. It opened it up slightly for us.
TA-DA- this clock made its way to the public domain… Martin called me and we checked it out. It’s an Irish clock from Ballymoney, and from our digging we think it’s about 1825 – using the manufacturing timelines of the clockmaker Joseph Gordon. The stylization of the woodworking is true to this early period – it has lovely ball and claw feet, columned mahogany wood detailing, and a hand painted moon “face” dial – it is all so absolutely endearing. So maybe this clock is a winner for us… off to the auction house we went!
The clock-workings will need some restoration BUT we will work with a conservator in the Spring on that secondary project. I can’t wait to hear those bells chime. In the meantime this lovely new addition to the museum collection adds to the overall ambience of the House and is befitting of the upper-crust lifestyle that Macpherson truly lived.
Thank you to Martin for his constant friendship and guidance in my career. It was fun to be your co-history sleuth with this clock!! Now what’s next??