South-German automaton table clock

7 foto's: South-German automaton table clock


Beautifully produced vertical automaton table clock, a so-called Türmchenuhr (tabernacle clock), c. 1575.
An exceptionally beautiful table clock with carrousel, depicting a hunting scene: the goddess Artemis (Diane), the god Actaion and a number of animals.

The firegilt cast copper case has the shape of a tower and is profusely engraved and chased on all sides. The tower has several levels, each with its own function. The middle part houses the movement and has several winding holes on different sides. On the front side the time is indicated by a single blued-steel hand on a Roman chapter ring (I-XII) and, more towards the centre, on an Arabic chapter ring (13-24). Behind the hand is an alarm disc to set the alarm time, which is indicated by the tail of the hour hand. Below the main dial is a secondary, quarter-hour ring. On the rear side the position of the hour striking indicated (top) whilst the lower ring is for regulating the going train. There is also a small hole through which the striking can be resynchronised with the time indication, if necessary. On the first floor the hour striking bell is housed, surrounded by an openwork gallery, with buttresses around and four shaped finials on the corners. Another floor up the carrousel can be seen in a slender arcaded pillar gallery, surrounded by a series of slender, shaped finials. The whole is surmounted by a spire and rests on a wide, moulded base on bun feet.

The day-going movement is almost entirely made of iron. It has a going train with balance escapement and hog’s bristle regulation. In addition it has a striking train, which indicates the hours fully on a larger bell, whilst the quarter-striking train, housed in the base, indicates all quarters (resp. 1,2,3,4 times) on a smaller bell, also in the base. When the quarters are being struck, the carrousel with Actaion and the animals turn around Artemis, who revolves in the opposite direction. After the fourth quarter has struck the hours are struck. At this point the hunter Actaion throws his spear to a rabbit which jumps up. The alarm is positioned to the side of the movement and is wound through a hole in the side door.

The clock was fully restored some years ago and is in excellent condition.

After clock making had spread from Italy to southern Germany, a flourishing clock- making industry developed in cities such as Augsburg and Nuremberg, notably in the second half of the 16th and the beginning of the 17th centuries. The Thirty-Year War (1618-48), in which the greater part of Europa was involved, was one of the main reasons why put such pressure was put on daily life that this had a devastating influence on the clock-making industry. This heralded its decline. Via Holland and to a certain extent France (Huguenots) the point of gravity of clock making moved to London in the second half of the 17th century. Consequently, this magnificent clock was made during the heyday of German clock-making.

Klaus Maurice, Die deutsche Räderuhr, München, 1976, Vol II, p. 121, plate 122.


Origin Deutschland
Period 1575
Height 49 cm
Width 21,5 cm
Depth 21,5 cm
Reference 00479
Price on request

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