Gothic wall clock

Germany, 16th century AD

The 'gothic' style persisted in clock design until very late in the sixteenth century, particularly in the Germanic States and northern Switzerland. This was despite the fact that the style, based on the architecture of an earlier period, was old-fashioned. On this clock, the gothic style is visible in the buttress-style corner posts of the frame, decorative elements on the bell straps and the zoomorphic hammer heads.

The clock is weight-driven and designed to stand on a wall bracket. Although the painted-metal dial is a twentieth-century replacement, it is relatively accurate in style. The verge escapement, controlled by a weighted foliot, is a modern reconstruction of the original design. This replaced an anchor escapement with pendulum, which were probably added in the seventeenth or eighteenth century to modernise the clock. There are separate striking trains for the hours, the quarters and for the alarm. The clock also has the phases of the moon indicated on the dial.

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Gothic wall clock


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More information


H. Tait, Clocks in the British Museum (London, The British Museum Press, 1968)

C. Jagger, The worlds great clocks (London, Hamlyn, 1977)

F.J. Britten, Old clocks and watches and the, 9th edition (London, Sotheby, 1984)


Height: 50.000 cm
Width: 15.000 cm
Length: 29.000 cm

Museum number

M&ME CAI 2136


Ilbert Collection
Gift of Gilbert Edgar CBE (1958)


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