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It's about time to visit Morven Museum & Garden for "Striking Beauty: New Jersey Tall Case Clocks, 1730–1830"

By: PRLog

PRINCETON, N.J. - March 27, 2023 - PRLog -- Morven Museum & Garden is proud to present the special exhibition Striking Beauty: New Jersey Tall Case Clocks, 1730–1830, on view Fri., Apr 21, 2023 through Sun., Feb 18, 2024. The first exhibition of its kind, Striking Beauty features over 50 tall case clocks, representing almost as many different clockmakers. Over two thirds have never been on public view before and will return to private collections after the run of the show.

In an 1804 newspaper advertisement, Trenton clock and watchmaker William J. Leslie touted that he was "Not from Paris, London or Boston – But a Native of New-Jersey."  At the time, the state was home to dozens of craftsmen specializing in tall case clocks. Striking Beauty examines the highly skilled work of New Jersey clockmakers as they collaborated with cabinetmakers, ran shops, and formed professional partnerships to create stunning, technologically advanced timekeeping pieces. These freestanding pendulum clocks are as functional as they are beautiful with faces embellished with intricate brass work or painted designs of objects like ships, suns and moons. Internally, their complicated workings are mechanical masterpieces; some even chime the hour with melodies.

Spanning the colonial and post-revolutionary period, clockmakers ran their shops with the assistance of apprentices and often enslaved labor. Some carried on the clockmaking tradition through several generations, often working multiple trades, including silversmithing. Explore the five-gallery exhibition to see the most comprehensive look ever given to the ingenious work of New Jersey clockmakers. Clocks are on view from New Jersey cities and towns such as Elizabeth, Newark, Burlington, Flemington, and Salem, and more.

On Thurs., Apr 20 at 5:30 p.m., Morven Members are invited to join us for the Striking Beauty Opening Reception. This free evening allows invited guests to mingle, connect, and view the special exhibition before it opens to the public the following day. To RSVP, Members should email

Members and non-members alike should save the dates for upcoming programming related to Striking Beauty scheduled throughout the run of the exhibition in 2023 and early 2024. To kick things off, join us for Perspectives in Identifying New Jersey Clocks, an illustrated talk by exhibition advisor Steve Petrucelli, on Sun., Apr 30 at 2 p.m. Then, on Weds., May 24 at 6:30 p.m., explore the human and environmental impact behind the rich mahogany exteriors of early American tall case clocks with social and environmental historian Dr. Jennifer Anderson at The Costs of Luxury: Mahogany and Tall Case Clocks in Early America. Both programs are hybrid, offering virtual and in-person options, with discounts for Morven Members and students.


Image credit: Joseph Hollinshead, Sr. (c. 1749–1765), Burlington, NJ. Tall case clock (detail), c. 1749–1765. Monmouth County Historical Association.

Funding for Striking Beauty has been provided, in part, by The Hess Foundation, Liza and Schuyler Morehouse, The George H. & Estelle M. Sands Foundation, Robert N. Wilson and Michele Plante, Fulton Bank, Lisa and Michael Ullmann, and Anonymous support provided by way of the Princeton Area Community Foundation. Morven Museum & Garden received a project grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State.


Most historic sites celebrate one notable resident. Morven is unique in that it was home to many remarkable people. Built in the 1750s and home to one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, Richard Stockton, Morven was home to five generations of Stocktons, then Robert Wood Johnson, Jr. before becoming New Jersey's first Governor's Mansion and home to five New Jersey governors, their families and staffs, witnessing nearly 300 years of history. Morven is located at 55 Stockton Street, Princeton, NJ and is open to the public Wednesday through Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The gardens are open daily until dusk.

Grant Jacoby

Photos: (Click photo to enlarge)

Morven Museum & Garden Logo Courtesy of Monmouth County Historical Association

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