Simon Willard of Roxbury, MA. A monumental clock. Inlaid mahogany case attributed to John and Thomas Seymour of Charlestown.

An important Hepplewhite tall case clock with dial signed by America’s most famous clockmaker Sion Willard working in Roxbury, Massachusetts. This inlaid mahogany case is built to a monumental scale. The cabinet is attributed to the Boston cabinetmakers John & Thomas Seymour. This wonderful clock was made circa 1810 and stands approximately 9 feet 6 inches (114 inches) tall to the top of the center finial. This is a very impressive height.

This veneered and inlaid mahogany case is attributed to John and or Thomas Seymour of Boston, Massachusetts. It exhibits excellent proportions. The base proudly stands on an applied bracket base that features four large flared French feet. Please note the subtle shaping or flare incorporating small pads into the form. These feet are gently splayed in the manner consistent of Seymour construction. The feet and the central drop apron are visually separated from the base by a diminutive cove molding that steps back to the base section. The front of the base panel is veneered with a highly figured selection of crotch mahogany. An inlaid framing of mahogany and light wood stringing defines a cross-banded outer border. The waist is long and features a rectangular shaped waist door. This door provides access to the interior of the case where one will find a brass covered pendulum bob and two tin can weights. This door is fitted with an applied molding along the outer edge. The center of the door is veneered with a figured panel of mahogany and the outer edge is cross-banded. A light wood panel is fitted in the sections above and below the door. The honey color of this selection of veneer contrasts nicely with the rich warm color of mahogany. The sides of the case are fitted with finely reeded quarter columns. These terminate in brass quarter capitals. The columns are visually supported by panels that feature the signature lunette inlay pattern that is associated with the Seymour shop. The bonnet features an open fretwork design that is a fancy design. The supporting plinths are inlaid with additional light wood panels. Each is also fitted with a cap at the top and is surmounted with three cast brass finials. The center final is in the form of a dove. Fully turned and finely reeded bonnet columns support the upper bonnet molding. These are mounted in brass capitals the top two in a Corinthian form. The columns flank the bonnet or hood door. The arched bonnet door is decoratively line inlaid and the opening is fitted with glass. It is interesting to note that the mask board is trimmed with a brass border.

ThIs colorfully painted iron dial was manufactured in England by the Wilson firm. It is fitted with a false plate and is signed at the top. The dial is oversized measuring 14 inches across and almost 19.75 inches in height. In the arch or lunette of this dial one will find the automated feature of a moon phase or lunar calendar. The four spandrel areas are decorated with colorfully painted floral themes. The hours are indicated by large Roman style numerals. The five minute markers are each indicated in an Arabic format. A subsidiary seconds dial and a calendar dial are displayed in the traditional locations an indicated by separate hands. This dial is signed by the clockmaker, “S.Willard” in block lettering.

The weight driven movement is constructed in brass and is good quality. Four turned pillars support the two brass plates. Hardened steel shafts support the polished steel pinions and brass gearing. The winding drums are grooved. The escapement is designed as a recoil format. The movement is weight driven and designed to run eight days on a full wind. It is a two train or a time and strike design having a rack and snail striking system. As a result, it will strike each hour on the hour. This is done on a cast iron bell which is mounted above the movement.

For a more in depth study on the Seymour Brothers please read, THE FURNITURE MASTERWORKS OF JOHN & THOMAS SEYMOUR written by Robert D. Mussey Jr.

About Simon Willard of Grafton and Roxbury, Massachusetts.

Simon Willard was born in Grafton, Massachusetts on April 3, 1753. It is in Grafton that Simon learned and began a successful career as a Clockmaker. On April 19, 1775 Simon answered the Lexington alarm along with his brothers. It is thought that by 1780 he moved from Grafton and took up residence in Roxbury. Simon was a Master Clockmaker as well as an Inventor. Some of his designs or inventions include “The Improved Timepiece” or Banjo clock, a roasting jack patent that rotated meat as it cooked in the fireplace, and an alarm clock patent. In addition, he trained many men to make clocks who intern became well known Clockmakers once their apprenticeships were served. Some of which include William Cummens, Elnathan Taber, and the brothers Levi and Able Hutchins. Some of the more notable public clocks Simon built include the clock that is in The United States Capital, the one located in the U. S. Senate, and the one located in the House of Representatives. As a result, his clock were searched out by many affluent New England citizens of his day. Simon died on August 30, 1848 at the age of 95.


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