Spring driven table clock with hour striking, moon and annual calendar indications Case and movement frame The clock has a posted frame construction with a side-by-side movement layout, the trains at right angles to the dial. The posts form external pilasters at the corners of the clock and are integral with brass top and bottom plates. Removable iron train bars are wedged in the top plate and have integral pins locating in holes in bottom plate. A bell-stand is pinned to the top plate. Four side panels fit between the pilasters, sliding-in from the bottom. The frame sits in the recess of a decorated plinth and is secured from underneath by a single winged screw. The top of the frame sits in the recess of a decorated cornice, of similar construction to the plinth. The top is secured by a pierced dome, which is placed over the bell stand and secured by a nut in the form of a lion. The gilded brass posts are in the form of square Corinthian columns. The sides of the pilasters have applied silver plaques, embossed with a foliate design. The panels which form the sides of the case are of gilded brass. The front panel bears an applied silver chapter ring marked "I" to "XXIIII" for 24 hours. The side and rear panels each have a small door, providing access to the movement. The side doors have holes to admit the winding squares. Each of the three doors has a niello medallion applied. The niello on the proper right depicts the profile bust of a bearded male and is inscribed "AVGVSTINVS BARBARIGVS DVX VE" [Augustino Barbarigo, doge of Venice]. The niello on proper left depicts the 3/4 bust of a male and is inscribed "LEONARDVS LOREDANVS DVX VE" [Leonardo Loredano, also doge of Venice]. The niello on rear panel depicts a winged lion of St. Mark bearing an open book with text "PAX TIBI MA EV MEUS" [an abbreviated form of the motto of Venice]. The plinth and cornice are of gilded brass with applied silver plaques, embossed with a palmette design. The plinth has bun feet in gilded brass at each corner. The cornice is surmounted by spheroidal finials in gilded brass at each corner. The gilded brass dome is formed of eight panels, pierced and chased with an acanthus leaf design. The circumference of the bottom of the dome is engraved and infilled with wax; "IO PAV E IO CAROL FIL REGIEN OP MID". The gilded brass lion which surmounts the dome bears an open book with partly legible text that may read; "F##S TIBI MARI EITA". Dial The dial comprises a disc assembly with epicyclic gearing driving moving bands. The assembly rotates within a silver hour chapter ring that is fixed to the front panel of the clock. The following describes the bands from the outside in; 1) Silver chapter ring (fixed); 1.1) Hours. The hours “I” to “XXIIII” are engraved and filled with black wax. The hour "XVIII" is at the top of the chapter ring, indicating the start to the day is at 18:00 [suggesting the use of the Italian/Bohemian hour system]. The hour is indicated by the largest flare of the sun effigy, which is born on the dial assembly and rotates once in 24 hours. 2) Silver outer band of dial assembly (driven by epicyclic gearing that is born within the assembly); 2.1) Annual calendar. The months are provided in abbreviated English; "DECE”, “NOVE”, “OCTO”, “SEPT”, “AVG”, “IVLI”, “IVNI”, “MAI”, “APRI”, “MAR”, “FEBR” and “IANV", engraved and filled with black wax. Each month has six subdivisions, i.e. approx. 5 days. The approximate date is indicated by the largest flare of the sun effigy. 2.2) 12 signs of the zodiac, raised and gilded on a blue enamel ground. The position of the Sun in the zodiac is indicated by largest flare the sun effigy. 3) Gilt brass sun ring (revolves once in 24 hours with main dial assembly). 3.1) Sun effigy. The largest flare is the “hand” of the clock. 3.2) Glyphs for the major astrological aspects; asterisk [sextile], square [square], triangle [trine] and linked circles [opposition]. 4) Silver inner disc (driven by epicyclic gearing that is born within the dial assembly) 4.1) Age of the moon (days). The days (1-29.5) are engraved and in-filled with black wax. 4.2) Phase of the moon (pictorial). The phase of the moon is indicated in the aperture of the disc. The disc is engraved to suggest stars in the night sky. Behind the disc, the moon phase curve is engraved on a silver plate, with a ground of blue enamel which is damaged and missing in parts. Movement A two train spring driven movement. Most wheels are iron (except where stated otherwise, below). Going train Five wheel arbors (inc. escape wheel) with verge and crown wheel escapement and balance wheel with balance spring controller. Stop-work is mounted on the cap of the barrel. The going barrel also drives the dial assembly via bevel gearing, one revolution in 24 hours. The dial assembly contains epicyclic gearing for the moon and solar work. The assembly is born on a post on the front post of the movement frame, at the base of which is an integral pinion (6) for driving the epicyclic gearing. On the back of the assembly are 24 crown-wheel type teeth for releasing the striking train on each hour. Train count 1) Going barrel 54 drives pinions 2 (main train) and 2a (motion work); Main train; 2) pinion 10 - wheel 60 drives; 3) pinion 6 - brass wheel 52 drives; 4) pinion 6 - wheel 54 drives; 5) pinion 6 - crown wheel 15 drives; 6) verge - balance wheel with balance spring. Motion work; 2a) brass pinion 12 - small bevel wheel 12 drives; 3a) small brass bevel wheel 14 - extends through front train bar - brass pinion of report 9 drives; 4a) large wheel of indicator assembly 72; A train count of epicyclic gearing in the dial assembly is yet to be made. Striking train Six wheel arbors (inc. fly) with warning, hoop wheel and 12 hour count-wheel with internal slots. 2nd wheel also drives the count-wheel via bevel gearing. Train count 1) Going barrel 48 drives; 2) iron pinion 6 - wheel 54 (drives pinion 3) - smaller iron bevel wheel (drives count-wheel lead-off work bevel pinion 3b) 3) pinion 6 - hoop wheel 36 drives; 4) pinion 6 - warning wheel 36 drives; 5) pinion 6 - brass wheel 38 drives; 6) pinion 6 - fly. Count-wheel lead-off work; 3b) iron bevel pinion 11 [arbor passes through train bar] - pinion of report 6 (iron open-ended pins) drives; 3c) count-wheel 78 (12h, internal slots).
This object was collected by Anselm von Rothschild and bequeathed to the British Museum by Ferdinand Anselm Rothschild.
Northern Italy (?)
How big is it?
9.2 cm wide, 19.5 cm high, 9.2 cm deep, and it weighs 2.1 kg
Detailed Curatorial Notes
Provenance: Baron Anselm von Rothschild, Vienna, by 1866 (cat no. 164).
Commentary: Baron Anselm Rothschild acquired this clock before 1866, by which time it had been greatly altered. It is probably a very early domestic clock, made around 1490 in Northern Italy, but the alterations make it difficult to be certain. The case was modified in the 19th century to reflect the then popular Venetian style.
- Charles Hercules Read, 'The Waddesdon Bequest: Catalogue of the Works of Art bequeathed to the British Museum by Baron Ferdinand Rothschild, M.P., 1898', London, 1902, no. 222
- O.M. Dalton, 'The Waddesdon Bequest', 2nd edn (rev), British Museum, London, 1927, no.222
- Hugh Tait, 'The Waddesdon Bequest : The Legacy of Baron Ferdinand Rothschild to the British Museum', British Museum, London, 1981, pp.88-9, figs.65-66.
- Read 1902: Read, Charles Hercules, The Waddesdon Bequest. Catalogue of the Works of Art Bequeathed to the British Museum by Baron Ferdinand Rothschild, M.P., 1898, London, BMP, 1902
- Dalton 1927: Dalton, Ormonde Maddock, The Waddesdon Bequest : jewels, plate, and other works of art bequeathed by Baron Ferdinand Rothschild., London, BMP, 1927
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