Aaron Willard (1757-1844) probably trained under his father, Benjamin, in Grafton, Massachusetts before moving to Roxbury in 1780. There, he worked near his brother, Simon, and together they dominated the clock-making trade in the Boston area during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. In 1798, Aaron moved to Boston, just over the Roxbury border, where he continued his to produce a variety of timepieces until 1823 when his son, Aaron, Jr., took over the business.
With its arched door, brass stop-fluted quarter columns and ogee bracket feet, the tall-case clock offered here illustrates an early example of the well-known "Roxbury" case form. Later cases made by Willard in Boston during the early nineteenth century display stylistic features of the Federal style, such as inlaid decoration and French feet, as well as doors with a flat instead of arched door. A similar clock of the early design is illustrated in Battison and Kane, The American Clock 1725-1865 (Greenwich, Connecticut, 1973), pp. 66-67, cat. 12. With floral spandrels within scrolled and gilded borders, the decoration of the dial is similar to a number of dials on clocks made by both of the Willard brothers (see Battison and Kane, pp. 66-74; Zea and Cheney, Clock Making in New England 1725-1825 (Sturbridge, Massachusetts, 1992), fig. 2.25, pl. 11).