Table clock by Lucas Weydmann

Cracow, Poland, AD 1648

Can be set to show Bohemian hours

By the mid-seventeenth century the art of making finely decorated clocks had spread east from the South German centres of Augsburg, Nuremberg and Munich to Poland. One particularly popular style of clock was the tabernacle clock similar to this example.

The case of this magnificent clock is finely engraved with scenes of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. The main dial on the front has a single steel hand to show the time. Within the silvered chapter ring is a rotating dial indicating the age and phase of the moon. A disc behind is for setting an alarm. In the very centre is a simple aspectarium with only moon and sun symbols. The lower dial at the front has a single hand that rotates one in twenty-four hours. The dial is manually set to show Bohemian (Italian) hours, where the day begins at sunset each day.

Most unusually, the two side doors are inset with engraved glass panels. The engraving on the glass combines two subjects taken from J. Tipotius's Symbola Divina et Humana, first published in Prague in 1601. Within the case is a two stage movement. The upper stage, on the right, has undergone considerable alteration but originally had a going train with verge escapement and balance control. In addition to this, there were two trains for striking the hours and the quarters, and an alarm. In the base of the clock is a second hour striking train. This repeats the hour a few moments after the first striking sequence has finished, for anyone who failed to count the first time. This is a system commonly found in continental clockwork.

Repair marks on the inside provide evidence that the clock was in France between 1686 and 1836. It may have originally have belonged to king Jan Kazimierz, who was crowned king of Poland in 1648 following the death of his brother.

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Table clock by Lucas Weydmann

  • Mechanism



More information


H. Tait, Clocks and watches (London, The British Museum Press, 1983)


Height: 48.000 cm

Museum number

M&ME 1867,7-16,4


Gift of Octavius Morgan, MP


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