Ted E. Burleigh Jr., of Winchester, Massachusetts. A reproduction Girandole wall clock. 220018

This is a very good reproduction of Lemuel Curtis’s Girandole Timepiece. This example was made by Ted Burleigh of Winchester, MA.

In 1802, Lemuel Curtis was an apprentice of the Willards in Boston. In 1811, Curtis moved to Concord and set up shop as a Clockmaker who specialized in timepieces. Over the years he made several improvements in the Willards original design. Examples of which are the single screw movement mounting system and changes to the clocks suspension. His ultimate achievement would have to be the design of this Girandole form. However, this form was not a financial success and as a result, a small number of clocks were originally produced. A fair number of these original clocks are in the collections of the Country’s best Museums. Many individuals and some companies have since made reproductions of this form. Some of the more prolific makers of the form include The Waltham Clock Company, Elmer Stennes and Foster Campos. Those individuals that have seen the Ted Burleigh examples often agree that they are the best of the group in terms of fit, finish, proportions and quality. This is a faithful copy of the original form.

This example was made in 1977 and was the 14th example manufactured. This case measures forty-six inches long. The case is constructed in mahogany and is finished in shellac on the sides. The frames, bezel, carved eagle finial and bracket are wonderfully gilded in gold leaf. The is in good overall condition and has had a few minor areas restored. Most of this work is done on a number of the gilt balls that decorated the bezels. You will also find that the case is die-stamped “T. E. D. 14” on several components. The most obvious is located on the back of the lower door. The reverse painted tablets are outstanding and done on convex or bowed glass. The throat is an intricate traditional theme and is signed “L. CURTIS” in the lower section. The bottom circular tablet depicts a Boston Harbor dock scene. The view is of Rowe’s Wharf and depicts some of the commerce that was being done during colonial times. The coloring and detailing are first rate. This tablet is signed on the back “AMB GW 1977.” This is Ann Banister’s mark. She was and artist working in the Gilders Workshop. This tablet was painted by her in 1977. The dial is painted on metal and features the “L. Curtis / Patent” signature. The traditional Concord gold ring is also used as a decoration. Below the Arabic hour numeral six, it is printed, “Reproduction by T.E. Burleigh, Jr.,” in block letters. The clock’s hands are a traditional Curtis form having concentric circles and barbed pointers. The sidearms on the case are brass and are nicely formed. The lower returns are capped with a brass decoration. 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.


About Gilders Workshop of Winchester, Massachusetts.

Gilders Workshop. Ted and Fran Burleigh, Winchester, Massachusetts.

The Gilders Workshop was located in Winchester, Massachusetts. It was opened in 1972. The husband and wife team of Ted and Fran Burleigh were the principals. That year they produced 12 banjo clocks. Prior to 1975 they were primarily doing restoration and gilding work. Clock production didn’t really take off until Elmer Stennes died in 1975. The Burleighs actually did gilding work for Stennes in the end. Their work was excellent.

Ted was the front man. He was also involved with the carving of various decorative elements and the preparation of the cases for gold leaf were expected. He did the finishing of the all mahogany cases. He was also responsible for the assembly of the clocks. Components came in from various sources and he assembled and completed the clocks.

Ted’s wife, Fran did the gilding of the decorative wooden components. She was trained by Boston’s master gilder, Nils Johnson. She learned both water and oil gilding, traditional techniques that made the Burleigh clocks so beautiful. Fran may have been best know for her skill in reverse glass painting and restoration. She was an exceptional artist and a very talented instructor. Fran trained at least three other artists to do reverse painting on glass. All three became very proficient in this skill. Their daughter Cindy worked with them until she married. Ann Banister was working there almost the entire time. Linda Abrams started in 1975 and worked there approximately 4 years. After that time she struck out on her own and continues to this day to do very high quality work. She is sought out by the most discerning of clientele.

The clock dials on the Burleigh clocks were painted by Martha Smallwood. This is often helpful in dating an example because she had a habit of pasting a sticker on the back of her dials that dated when they were completed.

The cases were made by Chuck England. He started making cases for them in 1973 and continued to do so until the last run of banjo clocks were made in 1989.

The movements were supplied by Kilbourn & Proctor.

The first clocks were timepieces or banjo clocks. There were four versions. The gilded versions were closely patterned after those made by Lemuel Curtis in Concord, MA before 1820. It is not currently know to me how many banjo clocks they made. In 1981, they were priced at $1,100.

The opportunity to copy a Lemuel Curtis Girandole presented itself in 1973. Ted copied the example now on loan at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. That clock is very well known an is often pictured. It features a wedding scene in the lower glass. It appears that they made 50 of these. In 1981, they were selling for $3,000. This was their most expensive model. You could also order this clock with a thermometer in the waist glass as a special order.

In 1980, the Burleighs were able to copy Aaron Willard Grafton Wall Clock which is in the collection of Sturbridge Village. They modified the movement of their clock to run 8-days instead of the original format of 30-hours. The case design is faithful to the original. They made 47 of these clocks. These clocks were priced at $2,700.


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