Aaron Willard Jr., of Boston, Massachusetts. A large gilded gallery clock made in 1831. This impressive case measures 44.25 inches in diameter.

This important gilded case Gallery Clock was made by Aaron Willard Jr., of Boston, Massachusetts in 1831.

The weight driven gallery wall clock form is rarely offered for public sale. The vast majority of these clocks were originally made for and sold to public halls, meeting places and houses of worship. They are prized possessions being originally purchased by the members of the organization or perhaps donated to the organization by a wealthy patron. This usually meant that these clocks became an asset of the organization and that it required the vote of a committee to deaccession them. In many institutions, this is not an easy proposition. Therefore, this is a rare opportunity to purchase such a clock.

This is an outstanding example and is unusually large measuring approximately 44.25 inches in diameter. The case is in excellent original condition and retains its original gilded surface which remains in excellent condition.

The wooden mahogany dial measures approximately 37.25 inches in diameter and is an inch thick in the center. The board has been skillfully planed down or tapered out to its edges. Here the dial is approximately a quarter of an inch in thickness. The result is a convex form. This tapering detail adds to the three dimension quality of the overall clock case. The dial is then fitted into a shallow recess. It is secured in place with brass screws and threaded knobs. This white painted dial retains its original paint. The graphics are painted in black and sharply contrast to the white surface of the dial. Large Roman style hour numerals measuring 4.25 inches tall de-mark the hours. They are large and easy to read and are positioned inside the minute ring. The quarter hours are marked with Arabic figures that are positioned outside the minute ring. The time is indicated by the two wonderfully shaped steel hands. Both hands are original to this example. This dial is signed by the Clockmaker, “A. WILLARD / BOSTON” in bold block lettering just below the center arbor.

The brass constructed movement is located behind the dial. Long trapezoidal shaped plates frame this movement. The front plate bears the Maker’s die-stamp. It reads, “A. WILLARD Jr. / BOSTON / 1831.” The movement is weight driven and designed to run eight days on a full wind. This is possible because the original lead weight is compounded which provides enough room for the weight to drop. This weight is rigged to descend to the left of the movement. The gears are nicely made and the quality is excellent throughout. The movement features a deadbeat escapement. The large hands are counter balanced by a weight that is positioned behind the backplate. One can see the circular grove in the backboard that this counter weight travels in. The pendulum hangs from the bridge which is mounted to top of the front plate. It is composed of a brass covered bob and a steel rod. The timing is adjustable from the top of the case.

This very rare and important clock was made in 1831.

About Aaron Willard Junior 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.

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