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Gary and I were very pleased to be interviewed for an article that appears in Design New England this month. The article is an overview of the Willard family of clockmakers and centers around the author's visit to the Willard House and Clock Museum, in Grafton, Massachusetts. While our most scholarly readers and clients may find it elemental, it is targeted toward the emerging collector. We view it as an important opportunity to reach these readers as they begin to explore antique collecting. A grandfather clock or banjo clock is often a first purchase for our new clients. The impact of a fine American clock, as a focal point in an entryway or living room, sets a theme around which to decorate. Follow this link to read the entire article by Bruce Irving.
We are delighted to announce that Harbor & Home: Furniture of Southeastern Massachusetts, 1710–1850, co-authored by our own Gary Sullivan, Winterthur professor Brock Jobe and independent scholar Jack O’Brien, is the winner of the 16th annual Historic New England Book Prize.
As a recognized clock expert, Gary Sullivan has for many years been involved in gathering information on the early clock making industry in Southeastern Massachusetts. The product of this research has been documented in a book which Gary co-authored with Jack O’Brien and noted furniture scholar Brock Jobe. Working together with The Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum, they have been studying the furniture of Southeastern Massachusetts from the William and Mary period through the Classical and Empire periods (circa 1710-1850).
The result of the study is the first detailed catalog of the furniture making industry in this vital New England region. The project culminated in the 2009 release of a book entitled Harbor and Home; Furniture of Southeastern Massachusetts, 1710-1850. It was released in conjunction with a traveling museum exhibition, which opened at Winterthur and then traveled to the Nantucket Historical Association for the summer season.
Clock making was a significant industry in Southeastern Massachusetts, particularly during the first quarter of the Nineteenth Century. A portion of the volume documents the work of these craftsmen, and whenever possible, identifies the clock case makers and allied artisans. Gary Sullivan’s goal in undertaking this study was to identify the usually anonymous clock case makers.
As research continues, we are interested in learning about and documenting any pre-1850 furniture or clocks which can be firmly tied to this region. (The study includes the counties of Bristol, Plymouth, Barnstable, Dukes and Nantucket) Some of the clockmakers and cabinetmakers that are being sought are Abiel White, a prolific cabinet maker from Weymouth, Massachusetts; Elisha Cushing and Elisha Cushing Jr, cabinetmakers from Hingham, Massachusetts; John Bailey, Calvin Bailey and John Bailey Jr. all clockmakers from Hanover, Massachusetts; Joshua Wilder and Reuben Tower, innovative clockmakers from Hingham, Massachusetts; Stephen Taber and Josiah Wood, clock makers from New Bedford; Josiah Gooding, a clockmaker from Dighton, MA. and Bristol, RI; Joseph Gooding and Alanson Gooding, clockmakers from Dighton, MA, Allen Kelley, a clockmaker who worked in various Cape Cod Towns; Ezra Kelley from Dartmouth and New Bedford, MA. and Samuel Rogers and David Studley, clock makers from Bridgewater and Hanover respectively. Pertinent contribution to this research are welcome.
"I bought an Aaron Willard tall-case clock with a spectacular Boston-made dial depicting a fisherman in the lunette, a fine old surface, and with a mint paper label inside the door and a fine old surface," said Sharon, Massachusetts, dealer Gary Sullivan on the phone, incredulous at his good luck. "I found it on line," said Sullivan, "but it wasn't given away."
Maine Antique Digest, August, 2010.
Gary Sullivan is a clock and furniture dealer, as well as an appraiser for “Antiques Roadshow.” In this scholarly interview, Sullivan explains the differences between early American tall-case, banjo, and dwarf clocks and offers tips on what to watch out for when buying these popular antiques. Sullivan’s book, “Harbor and Home: Furniture of Southeastern Massachusetts, 1710-1850,” was published last year.
Featured Interview, Collectors Weekly.