- Museum number
Copper-gilt square standing-clock; silver details; on two sides are dials of silver beneath the one with alarum is coat of arms with lion rampant supporters; on other two sides are engraved St George and St John; silver pilasters at corners; movement all steel; striking hours and alarm on gilt bell at top; surmounted by Virgin in Assumption.
Height: 10.50 inches
- Curator's comments
- The following text is the entry for this object from the unpublished catalogue of pre-pendulum clocks by John Leopold, former Assistant Keeper of Horology at the Museum. This information is unedited and should be used accordingly.
SQUARE VERTICAL TABLECLOCK, GERMAN.
Cat.Debruge Duménil (1847) no.1448.
Bruton (1968) 31.
No signature or mark.
Case and dials.
The case consists of the base, the vertical panels, and the top plate with solid "frets". It is constructed entirely of brass, with silver dials. The brass parts are partly gilded and partly silvered.
The base was built up out of a square plate, four profiled sides and four cast feet, all brazed together and gilded. In the middle of each side is a riveted silvered ornament: at right and left a cherub, at front and back a quatrefoil leaf. The base is secured to the movement by four steel nuts screwed to the movement pillars (one nut missing). - Sides and feet are replacements.
The top plate has four feet by which it is latched to the top plate of the movement. Screwed to the plate, along the edges, are four engraved and silvered frets (one screw missing); these replace corner finials (the frets partly obscure the holes for the finials). The plate carries the springs an levers of the alarm-release and the bellstand; its top is gilded except for the space under the bell, its underside is gilded along the edges. The bellstand carries the gilded bell, which is surmounted by an ornamental silver washer and a figure of Our Lady on the moon-sickle. The moon is a silvered brass nut; the figure is also of silvered brass, and has the Child and the crown as separate parts, the Child being riveted and the crown screwed.
The vertical panels each consists of a double sheet of brass, riveted together. The inside sheets are badly cracket and behind the front pannel a portion is missing. The front and back panels are held by four lugs each, fitting into holes in the base and the top plate. The sides have two lugs each at the bottom (on the right one largely broken off), while their tops are secured by steel spring-catches on the top plate.
The front panel is engraved with arabesques, fruits, and a coat of arms; its outside is gilded. It carries the silver chapterring (riveted), marked I - XII and 13 - 24, with half-hour marks and a scale divided for quarters; at its centre is the gilded alarm disc, which is recessed in the plate. The top of the plate has been partly cut away to allow for the pendulum-conversion of the movement; the chapterring has been extensively repaired at the top to hide the conversion. This panel has the winding-hole for the going train; under the alarm disc is a square aperture which has no clear purpose.
The back panel is similar to the front one, but here the ornament consists of leaves, fruits and a drapery; it has the winding hole for the striking train. It carries the silver dial for the striking (riveted), marked 1 - 12, and with an engraved centre.
The side panels are gilded on the outside only, and carry the silvered corner pillars which are riveted. The right-hand panel has the winding hole for the alarm; it is engraved with foliage and a representation of St.George and the Dragon (the maiden with a unicorn in the background). The left-hand panel has St.John the Evangelist (with chalice and snake, book and palm) under an archway with drapery.
Posted frame movement, constructed entirely of steel. THe steel has traces of high polish. Two rectangular plates screwed at the corners to four pillars; pillars of rectangular section, with simple bases and tops. The rear bottom left-hand screw-end has been replaced by a thinner one.
All trainwheels have three crossings, except for the greatwheels which are solid. All trainwheels and barrels run in brass bushes, except in the alarm train the outer end of the greatwheel and the inner end of the scape wheel, which run in steel. In the going train the front hole of the barrel is also has a brass bush.
48 ┌ 48 45
── │ ── ── 15 (x 2)
8 ┤ 6 6
3 ║ ┘
12-hour 7 60 ║
Spring barrel: caps pinned over five studs each. Wall bent out of strip and brazed at the join. Outer end of spring hooked on a stud in the wall; inner end hooked over a stud on the arbor and wound around a brass sleeve, but the arbor retains the slanted slot for the original hooking. Spring later, not blued; 23 x .2 mm.
Greatwheel: split fusee, 83 turns, re-cut for chain. Reversed fusee. Internal ratchet wheel of 12, screwed to the fusee-cone; steel click and brass clickspring (both replaced). Wheel made out of double thickness of steel to sink the clickwork. Conventional stopwork, screwed to the bar.
2nd wheel: the pinion-of-report is a lantern cut into the end of the arbor.
Scapewheel with its arbor replaced. Screwed potence (original). Balance and verge, cock and bottom support for the verge all restored. Hog-bristle regulator restored.
Hourhand wheel: mounted friction-tight on the arbor which carries the star for unlocking the striking; on this arbor rides the ornamentally shaped unlocking-piece of the alarm.
54 ┌ 48 45 40
── │ ── ── ──
6 ┤ 8 5 5
6 ║ ┘
12-hour 7 78 ║
Spring: cased spring, the wall bent out of strip and brazed at the join. Spring original; the outside end hooked in a half-slot in the wall, the inner end into a slanted slot (part of the bent hook broken off). Spring not blued; fairly regular, 17.5 - 18.5 x .5 mm.
Greatwheel: split construction; winding square replaced. Ratchet wheel of 15; click and clickspring replaced. Wheel double thickness of steel, to sink ratchet wheel and click.
2nd wheel: 6 lifting pins.
3rd wheel: single cam for overlift.
4th wheel: stud near the band for locking.
Fly: heavy fly with brass friction-spring.
Detends steel (brass spring on the nag's head).
Unwarned striking, with hammerlifting off the 2nd wheel, overlift off the cam on the 3rd, and locking on the 4th wheel.
The lifting piece, the arbor for the detends and the spring that loads it are all secured by blocks that are pinned into holes in the pillars. The arbor for the detends has been ornamentally turned; the plain lifting piece is a replacement. The 2nd and 3rd wheels are marked to facilitate assembling.
The train is contained in a small frame, which is screwed and pinned to the top plate of the movement. The inner part of the frame is additionally hooked over a stud cut into the centre bar, so that this part cannot be removed without partly disassembling the main frame.
── 9 (x 2)
Spring: open spring, retained by four studs. Outer end of the spring is hooked around one of the studs; the inner end hooked to the arbor by a slanted slot. Spring original; not blued, 7 x .4 mm. Spring broken and repaired by dove-tailing.
Greatwheel: full arbor; the cylindrical block for the spring squared and pinned to the arbor. The arbor carries the ratchet wheel of 10. Greatwheel made of double thickness of steel to sink the click and the clickspring.
Scape wheel: the outer end is held by a screwed cock. The verge is supported by a screwed arm.
The clock has been converted to pendulum, and then re-converted to balance.
The first conversion involved, as usual, replacing the original scape wheel by a contrate wheel and a new scapewheel with a small pendulum swinging in front of the dial. Apertures were cut in the dial plate and the chapterring to accomodate this. Presumably at the same time the going train was fitted with a chain, and the fusee re-cut accordingly. This was the condition of the clock in 1847, when it was described in the catalogue of the Debruge-Dumenil collection: it had already acquired the base, and the figure of the Virgin was in place, but apparently the frets had not yet been added.
It follows that the re-conversion of the clock was commissioned by Octavius Morgan, probably shortly after he had acquired the clock, and this restoration seems to have involved an extensive overhaul. The escapement was restored to the present one, which has a scape pinion of 6 (originally there will have been a scape pinion of 5). The hog-bristle regulator was restored. The damage to the chapterring was repaired, but the dialplate was left as it was. The present mainspring for the going train was probably fitted at this time. By this time the case had probably lost the original finials, and it seems that the present frets were fitted at this time.
Going train: greatwheel - 1 rev. in 3.6 hours (3 h 10').
duration - 29.7 hours.
Striking train: greatwheel makes 1.4444 revs. in 12 hours.
All trains wind anti-clockwise.
Clock: height - 275 mm
width - 123 mm
depth - 120 mm
Movement: distance between the plates - 99.5 mm
distance between the bars, going - 32 mm, striking - 27 mm,
alarm - 15.5 mm.
HISTORY AND PROVENANCE.
Collection Debruge Duménil, Paris. Catalogue (1847) no.1448. The collection was autioned in , when the clock was acquired by Octavius Morgan.
Octavius Morgan bequest; reg. 1888,12-1,124.
The restoration, particularly as regards the base and the frets, has changed the look of this clock materially. When these are disregarded, however, there remains a clock of very high quality, both decoratively and technically, and it may be presumed that it was made in or near one of the main centres. The style of the engraving and the squat shape of the movement date it in the beginning of the 17th century.
The prominent figure of the Virgin, which appears to be part of the original design, clearly suggests a catholic area. No other tabernacle clock with this finial is known to exist, but it is closely related to that on several clocks, in which a large figure of the Virgin stands on an ebony base containing the movement; in these clocks the crown of the Virgin serves as dial, read from a scepter she holds in her hand. The great majority of these clocks was made in Augsburg 1). On the finial of the present clock the thumb of the right hand is unnecessarily thick and it may originally have held a scepter.
For another clock with silvered corner-pillars see no. (1966,6-2,1).
1) For examples see Maurice (1976) figs.393-401. Those that are signed are all by Augsburg makers, except one which is from Strasbourg; they date from the first quarter of the 17th century or a little later.
Check the sale of Debruge Duménil: the height in the catalogue (20 cm) is much smaller than at present. The length of the 'socle' (i.e. the main body of the clock) is OK (8 cm).
Removed the frame of the alarm: nothing underneath.
Check if the Modonna-clocks in Maurice can be dated a bit more closely.
Looked under the pinned blocks for the hammer lifting and the detends (except the one at rear left, which is difficult to remove): nothing.
The set-up wheel of the going is pinned to its arbor: not in the photograph.
Countwheel: steel wheel and steel disc, riveted with four brass rivets.
In the alarm the hammer and the verge are separate, pinned together.
Hammer, which used to be pinned to the arbor, is now loosely riveted (end of arbor broken off).
With the (wrong) silver washer on the bell the Virgin faces the wrong way.
BIBLIOGRAPHY (Pauline Wholey – 2019)
Debruge Duménil (1847) J.Labarte, Description des Objets d'Art qui composent la collection Debruge Dumenil, précédée d'une introduction historique (Paris 1847).
Bruton (1968) E,Bruton, Clocks and Watches (Feltham 1968).
- Not on display
- Latest: 2 (Oct 2015)
- Associated events
- Associated Event: Assumption
- Acquisition date
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number