Aaron Willard Jr., of Boston, Massachusetts. A gilt frame wall timepiece or banjo clock with lower tablet depicting the naval battle between the Hornet and Peacock. AAA18

This fine Federal Massachusetts Timepiece or “Banjo clock” was made by Aaron Willard Jr., of Boston, Massachusetts circa 1825.

The case is constructed in mahogany and features mahogany frames that retain much of their original gilding. The gilding has experienced some minor areas of loss. In addition, a gilt wash has been applied to most of the gilded surfaces. The color is very good. The frames are fitted with reverse painted or eglomise decorated tablets that exhibit a very high level of artistic skill. The detail work is enhanced by the colors used. The lower tablet is an older restoration. It is titled, “Hornet and Peacock” in a banner below the scene. On October 26th, 1812, the sloop of war the USS Hornet left Boston along with the frigate USS Constitution with orders to raid British shipping along the coast of South America. On February 24th, the Hornet under the command of Master Commandant James Lawrence engaged the cruiser class brig-sloop HMS Peacock just outside the mouth of the Dermerara River. They passed each other on opposite tacks and fired at each other from their broadsides. The Peacock suffered heavy hull damaged. Both turned sharply and the bow of the Hornet came up against the stern of the Peacock from where the British could not fire. The Hornet’s guns shattered the Peacock in four minutes. The Peacock sank in 33 feet of water. Much of this tablet has been restored. The artistry performed and the colors used matches up very closely that the throat tablet. The throat tablet is original to this clock and is in excellent original condition. It is decorated with a traditional theme. In the lower section, one will find a painted banner that features the Clockmaker’s names, A. WILLARD JR / BOSTON. The sidearms, finial and dial bezel are brass. The dial bezel is fitted with glass and opens to a painted iron dial. This dial features a traditional time ring that is formatted with Roman hour numerals. Remnants of the Clockmaker’s signature remains on the dial.

The time only movement is weight driven and designed to run eight-days on a full wind. Please note that the original lead time weight descends down a channel in the center of the case directly below the works. This channel is framed in pine. The movement features brass construction. The two brass plate a somewhat of a rectangular shape. They are long and frame the gearing. These are secured by four brass pillars. The movement is mounted to the backboard with two steel thru-bolt screws that are diagonally positioned on the plates. It is amazing that these remain with the clock. The pendulum is support by a T-bridge suspension. Overall, the movement is excellent quality which is quite typical of this Maker. The pendulum is constructed with a steel rod and a brass faced lead bob.

This attractive clock measures approximately 34.5 inches long to the top of the finial. It was made circa 1820.


About Aaron Willard Junior of Boston, Massachusetts.

Aaron Willard Jr. was born in Roxbury, Massachusetts on June 29, 1783. He had the good fortune of being born into America’s leading clockmaking family. His father Aaron and uncle Simon had recently moved from the rural community of Grafton and began a productive career of manufacturing high quality clocks in this new ideal location. Based on the traditions of the day, it is thought that Aaron Jr. probably learned the skill of clockmaking from his family. We have owned a large number of wall timepieces or more commonly called banjo clocks that were made by this talented maker. Based on the numbers seen in the marketplace, it is logical to assume he was one of the most prolific makers of this form. We have also owned a fair number of tall case clocks, Massachusetts shelf clocks and gallery clocks. Aaron Jr. retired from clockmaking sometime around 1850 and moved to Newton, Massachusetts. He died on May 2nd, 1864.


For more information about this clock click  here .