All of Specials Renaissance clocks


In the line of Jost Burgi
Circa 1620                                                                      Bohemian (Prague)

The posted frame with steel corner posts and four gilt brass plates supporting the barrel and going train, the escape wheel arbor carrying the maintaining work with pulley and ratchet, a gut line attached to the pulley running over a further pulley, mounted on the back corner post, to the large driving spring barrel, setting up made through an intermediate winding wheel mounted on an arbor wound through the front dial plate, a second line running from the maintaining pulley to one of two fixed pulleys on an extended arbor carrying the state of remontoire wind disk, the second pulley with a line running to a grooved lever activated by the quarter striking thus effecting the remontoire rewind; the 21,5 cm diameter steel escape wheel with 6 crossings and 180 finely cut teeth driving a short steel train of two pinions and wheels mounted between a large bridge and the front plate, the motion work with quarter star wheel mounted on the front plate; the cross beat foliots geared together and pivoted between the front plate and a further scalloped plate mounted with a depthing carriage for the escapement, fine adjustment by means of a cam and spring, the front plate with two arched inspection apertures, the cross beat levers with adjustable crisply cast, chased and gilded cherubs heads and wings; the quarter and hour striking movements latched to the base, the plates with eight plain pillars, both trains with fusee and chain, barrels with pinned caps, outside ratchet wheels, steel wheels and pinions of a particularly fine tooth form and front winding through a pierced copper dust cover, the quarter striking count wheel carrying four sets of three pins engaging a scalloped lever thus rewinding the remontoire spring, additional gearing showing the last quarter struck on the left side dial, a pivoted lever releasing the hour striking train with similar gearing to show the last hour struck on the right side dial.

The front panel with a shaped glazed aperture bordered by a pierced surround to view the escapement action, remontoire state of wind disk with fine blued steel pointer, bias spring winding square and finely engraved with architectural scrolIs, two putti holding aloft swags, a putto with scythe and a putto with oar, the plain hammered silver dial with well engraved chapter ring I to XII twice and half hour star markings, the outer gilt brass ring engraved with the four quarters I to 1111 and five minute divisions in arabic numerals. The blued steel hour and minute hands with counter balance tails, the upper portion of the back panel engraved with similar decoration and centred by a silver dial finely engraved with a direct south facing vertical sundial for approximate latitude 500, the architectural scroll border centred at the base with a mask within a cartouche and above with the sun, the furniture consisting of hour lines VI to VI counterclockwise, lines of declination, Signs of the Zodiac and Bohemian hour lines, with an engraved and hinged gnomon, a silver dial below engraved with concentric rings and arabic numerals I to 8 indicating the depth of the foliot carriage, flanked by engraved allegorical figures of the sun seated on a lion and the moon on a dolphin.

The gilt brass case with four panels flanked by cast and turned pillars on integral plinths engraved with masks and scrolls. The left panel of the case with glazed aperture and engraved with further putti, scroll borders and a cherub leaning on a sandglass within a cartouche above the silver quarter dial. The right panel with glazed aperture and engraved with scroll borders, further putti and a cherub blowing bubbles within a cartouche, the silver strike dial below; the whole raised on a moulded base with winged claw feet and surmounted by an architectural cresting with turned finials within a baluster gallery rail.

Duration 2 days.

Height 56 cm.
Width 38,5 cm.
Depth 25,5 cm.

*Price on request

H. Alan Lloyd, Some outstanding clocks over seven hundred years 1250-1950 (A 03), p. 64, plate 65 – 72.
Klaus Maurice, Die Deutsche Räderuhr, Band II (G 23), p. 81, plate 635 – 637
Klaus Maurice, The Clockwork Universe ( Die Welt als Uhr) (I 46), p. 76, 220-221, 226-227.
A.E Seemann, Kostbare Instrumente und Uhren(M 10), p. 124 – 125

There are four similar clocks known; two in Kassel, one in Dresden and one in Copenhagen.
Clocks are one of the most important inventions of the Renaissance period. This clock is one of the rarest examples of Germanic clockmaking to appear on the market for many years. it is hitherto unrecorded and although unsigned utilises two of the inventions of Jost Burgi (1552-1632), namely the cross beat escapement and the remontoire, both of which contributed to the development of accurate timekeeping. In 1604 Burgi was appointed Imperial Clockmaker to Emperor Rudolph 11 in Prague and was foremost among the clock and globe makers of the time. He was known to have made a number of experimental docks with similar movements, all of which were unsigned, see H. Alan Lloyd Same Outstanding Clocks Over Seven Hundred Years 1250-1950, chapter VIII page 61 and plates 66 to 72. The small number of cross beat docks that exist are mostly contained in unadorned cases, suggesting they were made for practical astronomical calculations. By contrast, this dock is housed in a highly finished case and can be assumed to have been commissioned for a noble client. A clear indication that the dock was made for use in Prague is shown by the superbly engraved direct south facing sundial on the back of the clock designed for that latitude.

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