Tall-case clock

about 1809

Object Place: Roxbury, Massachusetts, United States

Catalogue Raisonné

Randall 208


Overall: 276.9 x 49.5 x 24.1 cm (109 x 19 1/2 x 9 1/2 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Mahogany, pine rosewood, scorched maple

Not On View





The face of this tall clock is enameled in white with gold decoration of urns and foliage in the corners and maps of the hemispheres at the top. There is a rotating disc to show the phases of the moon, painted with the sun and the moon and two small scenes of a ruined tower and a ship. The second hand is placed above the spindle of the openwork scrolled hands, and there is an aperture for the calendar day below and for the painted signature. The hood has a cove-molded arched top with an openwork fret divided by three rosewood urn finials on rosewood blocks. The fluted side columns have square block bases and turned capitals, and there are plain pilasters at the back and arched windows at the sides. On the lower molding of the hood is a band of lunette or half-moon inlay in burned maple. A deep convex molding suppports the hood, and the throat below is decorated with a bead of inlaid roping and a wide band of rosewood. The body of the case has quarter columns at the sides with turned capitals and bases, supported on rosewood stiles. The door is veneered with crotch mahogany within a cross band of rosewood and a border of mahogany, all seperated by strings of maple. A similar treatment is used for the front of the base, which has a lower border of rosewood. The bracket feet have shaped brackets and cant out slightly to a projecting square foot.

The back, floor, and top of the hood are pine, and the remainder (except for the inlays) is solid mahogany. The quarter columns of the case are shaped from large mahogany blocks, rough finished on the inside and used as the major structural supports of the case.


On post behind face: "A Wyman / 90"


Painted signature "Simon Willard" on face of dial.


The family tradition was that the clock was made for Capt. John Goddard (1730-1816) of Brookline, Massachusetts, who gave it to his granddaughter, Mary Goddard (1787-1882), when she married Samuel May (1776-1870) on July 19, 1809. Actually, in the account book of Mary Goddard labeled "Articles purchased by Mary Goddard with which to set up housekeeping in the year 1809", is listed "My Grandfather a Clock", but in the account book of her husband Samuel May is an entry for July 27, 1809: "paid clock and finish'd compl't....75.0 Rec'd of J G (present to Mary 60 - 15.00" It unfortunately does not say to whom the payment was made. The clock descended in the May family for four generations to John Joseph May (1813-1903), his son John Pierpont May (1846-1936),to his daughter Josephine M. Carr ca. 1933, and finally to Mrs. Paul of Longmeadow, Massachusets, the donor; 1959. gift of M. and Mrs. Lawrence Oglesby Paul.

Credit Line

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Oglesly Paul