This is a very good reproduction of Lemuel Curtis's Girandole Timepiece. The example offered here is a faithful copy of the original form. 220018

In 1802, Lemuel Curtis was an apprentice of the Willards and working in Boston. In 1811, he moved to Concord and set up his own shop as a Clockmaker. He specialized in timepieces. Over the years, he made several improvements in the Simon Willard’s original patent design. One example of which is the single screw movement mounting system of mounting the movement to the case. His ultimate achievement would have been the design of this girandole form. However, this was not a financial success. As a result, a small number were originally produced. A small numbers of these are now in the collections of our Country’s best Museums. Over the years, several individuals and some companies have since made reproductions of this beautiful form. Some of these include, The Waltham Clock Company, Elmer Stennes, Ted Burleigh 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.

Ted Burleigh lived and worked in Winchester, Massachusetts. He and his wife, Fran owned and operated the Gilders Workshop which was opened in 1972. Prior to 1975, the business focused on doing restoration and gilding work. It was after 1975, that clock production began to grow and prosper. Clock production ceased about 1989.

As a business owner Ted wore a couple of different hats. He was the front man of the business and did most of the day to day sales duties. He did not make the cases or the movements for the clocks he sold. These were made by other skilled artisans. These components were purchased by the Burleighs. Ted was involved with the carving of the various decorative elements of his clocks and he also prepared the cases for the application of gold leaf were needed. Ted did the finish of the all mahogany cases. He was also responsible for the assembly of the clocks since components came in from various sources. He assembled and completed the clocks.

Ted’s wife, Fran did the gilding of the decorative wooden components Ted carved. 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 the Gilders Workshop was in business. 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 the work was completed.

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

The movements were supplied by Kilbourne & 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 to clock collectors and is often pictured. It features a wedding scene in the lower glass. It appears that the Burleighs. made about 50 of the girandole form. 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 an Aaron Willard Grafton Wall Clock. which is now in the collection at Sturbridge Village. The Burleighs modified their version by redesigning 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 50 of these clocks. These clocks were priced at $2,700.

We believe that the girandole example offered here was made from excess inventory after Ted’s death. It is thought that Foster Campos purchased many of the left over parts from the Burleigh family. Foster is known to have assembled a small number of clocks from the parts he purchased. This appears to be one of these. Although, the dial states that is is a “Reproduction by T.E. Burleigh, Jr.,” the case lacks Ted’s traditional stamping and numbering system.

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. This work is expertly done and is of the finest quality. The gilding is in very good overall condition and has a few very minor areas of wear or loss. Most of this area is limited to a small number of gilt beads that decorated the lower bezel. 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. 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 & GRASS / INC., / G / 6313” 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. 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 brass faced bob. The pendulum tie-down is in place.

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

This is a very attractive example designed to impress all that view it, near or far.



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