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Simon Willard Tall Clock (Roxbury, Mass.)
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Simon Willard antique tall clock
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The Brackett Family fine mahogany antique tall case clock by Simon Willard, Roxbury, Massachusetts, circa 1790.

This handsome tall case clock, standing less that seven and one half feet tall, is an extremely rare and desirable small size. It epitomizes the formal “Roxbury” style cases that were so popular in Boston during the late 18th century. These clocks produced in the Boston borough of Roxbury, possess pleasing proportions, high quality construction, brass stop fluting, and choice figured mahogany. This one was produced by the premiere Boston clockmaker Simon Willard, [born: Grafton Massachusetts April 3, 1753, died: Boston, Massachusetts August 30, 1848]. He was a highly prolific and innovative clockmaker for over sixty-five years. A patriot during the revolution, he moved from Grafton to Roxbury with his brother Aaron in 1780. A Simon Willard tall clock in a fine Roxbury case is considered by sophisticated collectors to be among the most highly prized furniture forms. This clock was a gift from the famous China trade merchant, Captain Robert Bennet Forbes [1804-1889], given to Colonel Nathaniel Bracket [1780-1862]. A single-family provenance from the Brackett family accompanies the clock and extends to the present. An impressive Simon Willard Roxbury case clock in superb condition with impeccable provenance is the collector’s ideal.
The clock case retains an old historic surface with a rich, mellow patina. The molded hood is mounted with three rectangular chimneys, or plinths, each fitted with period brass ball and spire finials. The chimneys frame a traditional Roxbury type pierced fretwork. This cresting rests atop a molded arched cornice and a mahogany tombstone-form dial door. This locking glazed door retains a period glass and has a brass keyhole escutcheon. Brass stop-fluted colonnettes with brass capitals and bases flank this door. The door opens to a finely painted iron dial of British origins. An iron false plate, which connects the front plate of the movement to the dial is cast with the dial manufacturer’s name “Wilson” of Birmingham, England. During this period of clockmaking in America, the majority of the painted dials were imported from England. Each side of the hood has a glazed tombstone shaped window.
The dial features a painted moon phase disk in the lunette, decorated with hand painted scenes and moon faces. At the base of this lunette are two hemispheres, each decorated with terrestrial map transfers. The clock face, which has Roman numerals to demark the hour and an outer ring of Arabic numerals to demark the minutes, is framed with brightly painted polychrome floral spandrels. The dial is fitted with a second’s circle with a steel pointer above the center arbor and a calendar aperture with revolving calendar disk below. The center arbor is fitted with the original cut steel hands. The dial is signed below this arbor in neat blocked calligraphy with the maker's name “Simon Willard”. The form of the lettering in the signature is a very distinctive style used by the Boston dial painter John Minott. Minott, was an ornamental painter working 1793-1826 who is credited with decorating many of the dials produced for the Willards and their apprentices.
The hood transitions to the waist section with a broad flared molding. The waist is set with brass stop fluted quarter columns with brass capitals and bases flanking a tombstone form pendulum door. The pendulum door has a molded edge around a richly grained mahogany panel. This hinged door has a brass lock with a Rococo keyhole escutcheon. This door opens to an original painted steel shaft pendulum with a brass capped lead bob and original painted cast iron weights. The brass, weight driven, time and strike, eight-day movement rests on a pine saddle board and is original to the case. The movement is in good original condition, has recently been professionally serviced and is in good running order.
The waist transitions to the base section with another broad flared molding. The base is comprised of a richly figured mahogany panel above a double stepped molding resting on fine ogee bracket feet. The bracket feet have a distinctive cuff at the base, which is common to Willard clocks produced in the last part of the 18th Century.
Dimensions: Overall height with center finial: 89 1Ž2”; Width 20 1Ž4” Depth 10 1Ž2”
This handsome tall case clock, standing less that seven and one half feet tall, is an extremely rare and desirable small size.  It epitomizes the formal “Roxbury” style cases that were so popular in Boston during the late 18th century.  These clocks produced in the Boston borough of Roxbury, possess pleasing proportions, high quality construction, brass stop fluting, and choice figured mahogany.  This one was produced by the premiere Boston clockmaker Simon Willard, [born: Grafton Massachusetts April 3, 1753, died: Boston, Massachusetts August 30, 1848].  He was a highly prolific and innovative clockmaker for over sixty-five years.  A patriot during the revolution, he moved from Grafton to Roxbury with his brother Aaron in 1780.  A Simon Willard tall clock in a fine Roxbury case is considered by sophisticated collectors to be among the most highly prized furniture forms.  This clock was a gift from the famous China trade merchant, Captain Robert Bennet Forbes [1804-1889], given to Colonel Nathaniel Bracket [1780-1862].  A single-family provenance from the Brackett family accompanies the clock and extends to the present.  An impressive Simon Willard Roxbury case clock in superb condition with impeccable provenance is the collector’s ideal.

      The clock case retains an old historic surface with a rich, mellow patina.  The molded hood is mounted with three rectangular chimneys, or plinths, each fitted with period brass ball and spire finials.  The chimneys frame a traditional Roxbury type pierced fretwork.  This cresting rests atop a molded arched cornice and a mahogany tombstone-form dial door.  This locking glazed door retains a period glass and has a brass keyhole escutcheon.  Brass stop-fluted colonnettes with brass capitals and bases flank this door.  The door opens to a finely painted iron dial of British origins.  An iron false plate, which connects the front plate of the movement to the dial is cast with the manufacturer’s name “Wilson” of Birmingham, England.  During this period of clockmaking in America, the majority of the painted dials were imported from England.  Each side of the hood has a glazed tombstone shaped window.

The dial features a painted moon phase disk in the lunette, decorated with hand painted scenes and moon faces. At the base of this lunette are two hemispheres, each decorated with terrestrial map transfers.  The clock face, which has Roman numerals to demark the hour and an outer ring of Arabic numerals to demark the minutes, is framed with brightly painted polychrome floral spandrels.  The dial is fitted with a second’s circle with a steel pointer above the center arbor and a calendar aperture with revolving calendar disk below.  The center arbor is fitted with the original cut steel hands. The dial is signed below this arbor in neat blocked calligraphy with the makers name “Simon Willard”.  The form of the lettering in the signature is a very distinctive style used by the Boston dial painter John Minott. Minott, was an ornamental painter working 1793-1826 who is credited with decorating many of the dials produced by the Willards and their apprentices.

The hood transitions to the waist section with a broad flared molding.  The waist is set with brass stop fluted quarter columns with brass capitals and bases flanking a tombstone form pendulum door.  The pendulum door has a molded edge around a richly grained mahogany panel.  This hinged door has a brass lock with a Rococo keyhole escutcheon.  This door opens to an original painted steel shaft pendulum with a brass capped lead bob and original painted cast iron weights.  The brass, weight driven, time and strike, eight-day movement rests on a pine saddle board and is original to the case.  The movement is in good original condition, has recently been professionally serviced and is in good running order.

The waist transitions to the base section with another broad flared molding.  The base is comprised of a richly figured mahogany panel above a double stepped molding resting on fine ogee bracket feet.  The bracket feet have a distinctive cuff at the base, which is common to Willard clocks produced in the last part of the 18th Century.


Dimensions: Overall height with center finial:  89 ½”; Width 20 ¼” Depth 10 ½”



INVENTORY #14001

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Call 781.784.9914 or E-mail us for questions or pricing on this item. Please reference inventory number 14001.