GERMAN ‘MADONNA’ CLOCK Martinus Hijllius Dresda Ca. 1650

Renaissance clocks


Signed: Martinus Hijllius Dresda
Circa 1650


The spring-driven, day-going movement of this religious table clock, a so-called Figurenuhr, in this case depicting a Madonna, is constructed between brass plates. It consists of going and striking trains. The going train has a spring barrel, chain fusee and verge escapement with balance. The striking train is controlled by a countwheel and indicates the hours fully on a bell. Should the striking be out of synch with the time indication, this can be put right by pressing a button on top of the case. The clock is wound from the back. The maker has signed the clock on the backplate, on which the porkpie bell is mounted, in the following manner: Martinus Hijllius Dresdae.

The dial is formed by the rotating crown of the Madonna figure. The silvered brass chapter ring at the bottom of the crown has Roman hour numerals. The time is indicated by the staff in Mary’s hand, the chapter ring revolving behind this staff.

The fire-gilt brass Madonna figure stands on a fire-gilt and engraved brass plate, which is the top of a shaped octagonal ebony case. There is a sunburst aureole behind her. The case has panels to the side as well as mouldings at the top and the bottom. The movement is situated in the octagonal case and can be accessed from the bottom. The whole rests on six raised gilt-brass bun feet

The maker
Martinus Hijllenius (also Hyllius, Hillius) was active as a clock and watchmaker in Dresden in the second half of the 17th century. He was a co-founder of the Dresden guild. Several of his clocks have been preserved, among others a coach watch and a horizontal table clock.

Duration 24 hours

Height 31 cm
Width 18 cm
Depth 11.5 cm

Literature J. Abeler, Meister der Uhrmacherkunst, Wuppertal, 2010, p. 264.
Klaus Maurice, Die Deutsche Räderuhr, Vol II, pp. 393-401.


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