A rare classical mahogany dish dial tall case clock made for the Southern market produced for William Mitchell, Jr. Richmond, Virginia by Aaron Willard, Boston, Massachusetts, circa 1820. The case bearing the stencil of cabinetmaker Henry Willard
This Classical tall case clock is an extremely rare form with a dish dial. Less than a dozen of these clocks have been documented and about half of those are signed for retailers from Virginia and the Carolinas. The clock and case were produced in Boston by either Aaron Willard [1757-1844] or his son Aaron Junior [1783-1864] during the first quarter of the 19th Century. These distinctive cases typically bear the stencil of Aaron’s cabinetmaker son, Henry Willard [1802-1887]. The Willards were Boston’s premiere clockmaking family, who established a productive workshop employing a variety of affiliated craftsmen. This work compound was highly prolific and produced clocks that were marketed throughout New England and the country. Clockmakers and fine goods retailers, like jewelers and silversmiths, could order clocks signed with their own name and locale from the Willard shops. They would then market the clocks as fashionable examples from this highly regarded northern clockmaker. This clock is a prime example of this trade, with a case stenciled by Henry Willard and a dial signed for William Mitchell Junior [1795-1852] of Richmond, Virginia.
William Mitchell Jr. was born in Boston trained as a silversmith. He is known to have worked in Richmond from 1818 to 1845. He was initially in partnership with Elisha Taft from 1818 to 1820 under the firm Taft & Mitchell before establishing his own silversmith business that he grew to be largest in Virginia. Mitchell retailed a large range of products including both clocks and watches. He retired in 1845 and sold the business to his younger brother Samuel and John Tyler who continued under the name Mitchell & Tyler.
The Classical clock is constructed of vivid ribbon mahogany and features dynamic book matched and crotch grained mahogany veneers. The rectangular hood is mounted with a Classical pitch form pediment with set with rectangular chimneys and brass finials. This is above a cross banded frieze and a pair of turned colonnettes with brass capitals and bases flanking a glazed rectangular dial door. The door has a reverse painted spandrels, which frame the dish shaped dial.
The painted glass panel has a black border and gilt piping with gilt spandrels decorated with musical lyres and floral scrolls on a red ground. The door opens to a circular dish dial with a register of Roman numerals to demark the hours. The dial is fitted with scrolled cut steel hands and is signed with the makers name and locale below the center arbor, “Wm Mitchell Jr. / Richmond Va”. The dial is framed with a circular dial mat, which is painted red. The brass weight driven movement is time and strike and retains an original wood shaft pendulum with a brass capped bob and a pair of weights. The sides of the hood have a field of circular holes arranged in a diamond pattern. This detail is a distinctive feature found on tall clocks and shelf clocks produced by Henry Willard and is considered a signature treatment.
The hood transitions to the waist section with a broad flared molding. The waist features book matched mahogany panels and a vibrant mahogany pendulum door with a molded perimeter. This door opens to the pendulum and weights and a pine back board, which features Henry Willards. The stencil reads “Henry Willard / Clock Cases/ Manufacturer/ 843 / Washington St./ Boston”.
The waist transitions to the base with another flared molding above a cross banded border around a crotch grained mahogany panel. A simple applied bull nose molding transitions to a lobed apron with shaped returns and understated flared French feet.
Dimensions: Overall height with center finial: 96 3/4”; Width 21 3/4”; Depth 10”.
Call (781) 828-1650 or E-mail us for questions or pricing on this item. Please reference inventory number 15101.