Aaron Willard of Roxbury, Massachusetts. Tall case clock.
This cherry case tall clock was made by Aaron Willard of Roxbury, Massachusetts.
This fine example features a case that is constructed in cherry. The coloring is warm and inviting. The case stands on a boldly formed double stepped molding which incorporates cutout bracket feet that are elevated off the floor on thin pads. The waist is long and centers a nicely shaped waist door that incorporates a molded edge. The hood or bonnet is surmounted with an open fret work pattern, three fluted finial plinths and three brass finials. The bonnet columns are smoothly turned and are mounted in brass capitals. The bonnet door is arched in form and fitted with glass. This door opens to access the painted dial.
This iron dial was paint decorated by John Minot a well known Boston ornamental artist. It is signed in script on the back, "I. M." John Minot is listed in Paul Foley's book, Willard's Patent Time Pieces as working in 1793 through 1826. The four spandrel areas are decorated with gilt themes. A lunar calendar or moon phase mechanism is located in the arch of this dial. This dial also displays the hours, minutes, seconds and calendar date in the traditional format. This dial is boldly signed by the Clockmaker in block lettering. This signature is located below the calendar date and above the Roman hour numeral six. The signature simply reads, "Aaron Willard."
The movement is constructed in brass and is good quality. It is weight driven and designed to run eight days on a full wind. It is a time and strike design having a rack and snail striking system. As a result, it will strike each hour on the hour. This is done on a cast iron bell which is mounted above the movement.
This beautiful clock was made circa 1793. It stands approximately 7 feet 3.5 inch tall to the top of the center finial.
About Aaron Willard of Grafton, Roxbury and Boston, Massachusetts.
Aaron Willard was born in Grafton, Massachusetts on October 13th, 1757. Little is known of his early life in Grafton. It is here that he probably learned the skill of clock making from his older brothers Benjamin and Simon. It is recorded that he did march with them in response to the Lexington Alarm on April 19,1775. In 1780, Aaron moved from Grafton to Roxbury along with his brother Simon. Here the two Willard brothers establish a reputation for themselves as fine clock manufactures. They were both responsible for training a large number of apprentices, many of which became famous clock makers in their own right. The Willards dominated the clock making industry in the Boston area during the first half of the nineteenth century. Aaron worked in a separate location in Roxbury from his brother and relocated about a quarter mile away from Simon’s shop across the Boston line about 1792. Aaron is listed in the 1798 Boston directory as a clock maker ‘on the Neck’ and his large shop employed up to 30 people, while 21 other clock makers, cabinetmakers, dial and ornamental painters and gilders worked within a quarter-mile radius by 1807. We have owned a large number of tall case clocks made by this important Maker. In addition, we have also owned a good number of wall timepieces in the form of banjo clocks as well as numerous Massachusetts shelf clock forms.
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