Aaron Willard Jr., of Boston, Massachusetts. This is a labeled case.

This important labeled mahogany case tall clock was made by Aaron Willard Jr., of Boston, Massachusetts.  

Aaron Willard Jr. was born in Roxbury, Massachusetts on
June 29, 1783.  He had the good fortune of being born into America's leading clockmaking family. His father Aaron and uncle Simon had recently moved from the rural community of Grafton and began a productive career of manufacturing high quality clocks in this new ideal location. Based on the traditions of the day, it is thought that Aaron Jr. probably learned the skill of clockmaking from his family.  We have owned a large number of wall timepieces or more commonly called banjo clocks that were made by this talented maker. Based on the numbers seen in the marketplace, it is logical to assume he was one of the most prolific makers of this form. We have also owned a fair number of tall case clocks, Massachusetts shelf clocks and gallery clocks. Aaron Jr. retired from clockmaking sometime around 1850 and moved to Newton, Massachusetts. He died on May 2nd, 1864.

This impressive case exhibits excellent proportions and is constructed in the finest mahogany veneers. The case measures approximately 7 feet 7 inches or 91 inches tall to the top of the center finial, 20 inches wide and 10.5 inches deep.  The dial is 12 inches across.

This mahogany case stands on four nicely formed flared French feet.  The feet and fanciful designed drop apron are visually separated from the base by the broad satin wood banding. This lighter wood contrasts with the center panel. It forms a crossbanded framing around the perimeter of the base panel. The base panel features an excellent vertical positioned grain pattern that is part of a large crotch.  The rectangular waist door is constructed in a similar manner. The veneer selected for this location is also a vibrant crotch pattern that is vertically positioned. This is also framed with a crossbanded satin wood border., The outer edge of the door is fitted with an applied molding that frames it.  One would open this door in order to gain access to the inside of the case. Here, the original wooden pendulum rod, brass faced bob, rating nut and the two red painted tin can weights are accessible.  On the back of this door is the Maker's set up label. This is the version that is associated as being engraved by the American Patriot, Paul Revere. (There is current speculation refutes this claim. For a reference to this discussion please read Richard W. Philbrick's article, Simon Willard's Astronomical Shelf Timekeeper in Herschel B. Burt's Eighteenth Century, Thirty-Hour Willard Clocks 1770-1790.) Very few Willard clocks retain their original set up labels and as a result is a wonderful and important additional detail. The sides of the waist or case are fitted with finely reeded quarter columns.  These terminate in brass quarter capitals.  Rectangular satin wood panels are inlaid under each quarter column. The bonnet features traditional New England variant of a pierced and open fret work design. This is supported by three line inlaid and capped plinths that are surmounted by three brass finials.  The finials feature a greek key design that forms a band around the center. Fully turned and reeded bonnet columns visually support the upper bonnet molding.  They are mounted in brass capitals and are free standing.  The sides of the bonnet are fitted with tombstone shaped side lights. The arched bonnet door is fitted with glass and opens to access the colorfully painted iron dial.  

This iron dial was paint decorated by the Boston dial manufactures and ornamental artists Nolen & Curtis. The four spandrel areas are decorated with a striking color combination of green, blood red and yellow. The design also incorporates gilt highlights, some of which are elevated on raised gesso beads. The automated feature of a lunar calendar 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 signed by the Clockmaker in script lettering.  This signature is located below the calendar date and above the Roman hour numeral six.

This fine movement is constructed in brass and is good quality.  Four turned pillars support the two brass plates. Hardened steel shafts support the polished steel pinions and brass gearing. The winding drums are grooved. The escapement is designed as a recoil format. The movement is weight driven and designed to run eight days on a full wind.   It is a two train or 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 1815.  It stands approximately 7 feet 7 inch tall to the top of the center finial.

A very similar example is pictured in an Edward Stvan ad in Antiques Magazine in Feb. of 1978 on Page 288. Interestingly, the clock pictured shares veneers from the same flitch. The veneer on the base panel has been reversed. Another difference is the dials. Both painted by the same firm in similar colors the spandrel decorations are formatted in reverse.

This clock is inventory number RR-55.

About Aaron Willard Junior of Boston, Massachusetts.

Aaron Willard Jr. was born in Roxbury, Massachusetts on June 29, 1803. He had the good fortune of being born into AmericaÕs leading clockmaking family. His father Aaron and uncle Simon had recently moved from the rural community of Grafton and began a productive career of manufacturing high quality clocks in this new ideal location. Based on the traditions of the day, it is thought that Aaron Jr. probably learned the skill of clockmaking from his family. We have owned a large number of wall timepieces or more commonly called banjo clocks that were made by this talented maker. Based on the numbers seen in the marketplace, it is logical to assume he was one of the most prolific makers of this form. We have also owned a fair number of tall case clocks, Massachusetts shelf clocks and gallery clocks. Aaron Jr. retired from clockmaking sometime around 1850 and moved to Newton, Massachusetts. He died on May 2nd, 1864.

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