Foster Campos Girandole Wall Timepiece. Pembroke, Massachusetts. 220104

This very attractive reproduction Girandole Wall Timepiece was made by Foster S. Campos of Pembroke, Mass. This timepiece was made in 2004 and was the first girandole that Foster made in that year. This information is stamped on the inside of the case in his code. This beautiful American form was originally developed by the Concord, Massachusetts Clockmaker, Lemuel Curtis in an about circa 1820 and was patented by him. The case style and form are closely related to the girandole wall mirrors of the period.

Lemuel Curtis was a very talented apprentice of the Willard family. His apprenticeship started in 1802. In 1811, it is recorded that he moved to the town of Concord, Massachusetts and set up shop there as a Clockmaker. Here he specialized in the production of finely made timepieces. Over the years he made several improvements in Simon Willard’s original design. An example of such an improvement is the single screw movement mounting system. The Curtis design used a screw to mount the movement to the case from the back of the backboard. This screw held the movement in place. Willard’s design used two screws that were diagonally positioned in the plates of the movement and screwed directly into the wood of the backboard from the front of the movement. Over time, the threading of the wood in the backboard has a tendency to fail and ultimately the original screws are often replaced. Lemuel’s ultimate achievement would have to be the design of this Girandole form which is often called America’s most beautiful clock. However, this model was not a financial success. As a result, a small number were originally produced. Most of which are in the collections of our countries best museums. Two fine examples are currently on display at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Another example came be seen in the clock collection of Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, MA. A fourth Girandole Clock by Lemuel Curtis is at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

Many reproductions of this original Curtis form have been made. The Waltham Clock Company made approximately 30 examples in the 1920’s. Since the 1970’s, individuals like Elmer Stennes, Ted Burleigh and Foster Campos all produced a limited number of copies of the original form.

This case measures approximately forty-six inches long. The case is constructed in mahogany and is finished in shellac on the sides. The frames, carved finial plinth, eagle finial and presentation bracket are wonderfully gilded in gold leaf. The condition of the gilding is excellent. You will also find that the case is die-stamped “1 -04” on the the frames of the lower box. This is the numbering and dating system that Foster Campos employed to date his clocks. 1 for the first clock of the series. 04 for the year that is was manufactured. It also has his stamp featuring the banjo clock on the inside of the backboard. The two gilded frames are fitted with colorfully painted tablets of traditional themes. The artistry level is very high. Both glasses are convex or bowed and were painted by Tom Moberg. The shaping of the glass makes it very difficult to photograph without getting reflections of some kind. The background or fields are a gray blue. The throat tablet features and intricate designs that includes florals, urns and a bird. The bottom circular tablet depicts a harbor or dock scene. The view includes four sailing ships, two people in a rowboat, a brick three story building and a lighthouse set atop a bluff. The wharf depicts some of the commerce that was being done during colonial times. The coloring and detailing are first rate. In the sky is an oval aperture that allows one to see the brass faced pendulum bob. This tablet is signed on the back by the artist, “Moberg.”

The painted iron dial is protected by a piece of convex glass. This is fitted into a brass bezel that is decorated with 20 individual brass balls. The dial is painted and the design features a closed minute ring, please note the evergreen tree located in the 6:20 position, large Arabic style hour numerals, a gilt ring and additional gold work decorates the openings around the center and winding holes. The clockmaker’s signature reads, “Foster S. Campos / PEMBROKE, MASS.” The hands are a traditional Lemuel Curtis form having concentric circles and barbed pointers. The sidearms on the case are brass and are nicely formed.

The movement is brass and die-stamped by “KILBOURNE & PROCTOR / INC., / G” on the front plate. It is weight powered and is designed run eight-days on a full wind. The weight of this clock is lead and is most likely a replacement. This movement is mounted to the back of the case with two screws. It is also supported on a metal seat-board. The steel pendulum rod supports a decorative bob. The pendulum tie-down is in place.

This clock is approximately 46 inches long, 13 inches wide and 6 inches deep.

220104

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