Aaron Willard of Boston, Massachusetts. A tall case clock. 27141

This is an important mahogany Roxbury case tall clock made by Aaron Willard of Boston, Massachusetts.

This is a classic New England example. It exhibits the best of the Boston school proportions. The case is very narrow and measures approximately 7 feet 11 inches tall to the top of the center finial.

This inlaid mahogany case stands on four pad feet that support a double stepped bracket base. These moldings are applied to the base panel. The lower molding is decoratively formed and incorporates a sweeping apron that drops down to the floor in several locations. The base panel is highlighted with a line inlaid boarder that frames the front panel. The corners of this design are treated in a cutout format. The waist section of this case is very long and narrow. It centers a rectangular shaped waist door. The outside edge of this door is fitted with an applied molding. The mahogany veneer used on this door features a gentle cascading grain pattern. This is also framed with a delicate line inlay pattern that features the same formatting found in the base panel. The sides of this case are fitted with brass stop fluted quarter columns. These terminate in brass quarter capitals. The bonnet is a fretwork style surmounted with three ball and spike finials. They are mounted on fluted and capped finial plinths. The bonnet columns are also brass stop fluted and end in brass capitals. The bonnet door is an arched form and is line inlaid. It opens to access the nicely painted dial.

This dial is colorfully painted. The four spandrel areas and the area located in the arch of this dial feature floral designs that are framed with a delicate gilt boarder. This clock face displays the hours, minutes, seconds and calendar day. This dial is also signed by the Maker “Aaron Willard Boston” is written in a script format.

This 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 that 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 1800. It stands approximately 7 feet 11 inches tall to the top of the center finial.

This clock is inventory number 27141.

About Aaron Willard of Grafton, Roxbury and Boston, Massachusetts.

Aaron Willard was born in Grafton, Massachusetts, on October 13, 1757. Little is currently known of his early life in Grafton. His parents, Benjamin Willard (1716-1775) and Sarah (Brooks) Willard (1717-1775) of Grafton, had eleven children. Aaron was one of four brothers that trained as a clockmaker. In Grafton, he first learned the skills of clock making from his older brothers Benjamin and Simon. It is recorded that Aaron marched with them in response to the Lexington Alarm on April 19, 1775, as a private under Captain Aaron Kimball’s Company of Colonel Artemus Ward’s Regiment. Aaron re-enlisted on April 26 and was soon sent by General George Washington as a spy to Nova Scotia in November. By this time, he had reached the grade of Captain. He soon returned to Grafton to train as a clockmaker. In 1780, Aaron moved from Grafton to Washington Street in Roxbury along with his brother Simon. Here the two Willards establish a reputation for themselves as fine clock manufacturers. They were both responsible for training a large number of apprentices. Many of these 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, in 1792, relocated about a quarter-mile away from Simon’s shop across the Boston line. Aaron is listed in the 1798 Boston directory as a clockmaker “on the Neck,” 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 many 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 and numerous Massachusetts shelf clock forms.

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