- Museum number
Table clock; spring-driven movement with fusees; going-train with verge escapement, formerly controlled by balance but now with pendulum; striking-train for hours only; alarm mechanism now missing; silver dial a later replacement; dial-plate engraved with arms of Von Herbenstein, sides of the case with Urania and Calliope.
- Production date
- 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- The following text is the entry for this object from the unpublished catalogue of pre-pendulum clocks by John Leopold, former Assistant Keeper of Horology at the Museum.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, ENGRAVED WITH THE ARMS OF VON HERBERSTEIN.
Ascribed to Nikolaus Lanz (the case to Michael Köllinger), Innsbruck, ca.1560.
Tait (1968) 31-2, pl.23.
Tait (1983) 24.
Made of brass, gilded on the outside only.
Base and top-plate are both pinned to the movement. The front and back plates are attached in the following way: each has two lugs at the bottom which fit into holes in the base, and is pinned to the front or the back bar of the movement. The two dial-plates can therefore be dismounted without unpinning the top-plate. The side-panels also have two lugs at the bottom to fit into holes of the base; they are locked at the top by means of a flat spring on the top plate.
The bell is secured by a brass bellstrap, which hooks into four holes in the top-plate.
The flared base, which is cast, has four riveted bun-feet, now probably half the original height. The front and back plate and the side-panels have riveted corner pillars (which are cast), and riveted ornamental strips top and bottom.
The front plate now carries silver hour-dial, divided I - XII with touch-knobs around it and with a sunburst at the centre (copied from the one on the back); the hand is a replacement. Under this later dial are traces of the original chaperring with touch-knobs and a plain gilt centre (originally largely covered by the alarum-setting disc). The dial-plate is engraved with foliage and under the dial with the arms of Von Herberstein under a banderole with the letters I.F.Z.H.
The back-plate is engraved with the dial for the count-wheel (with touch-knobs), centred by a sunburst; the hand is a replacement. The dial is flanked at the top by two masks, and under it is a representation of Laocoön fighting the Snakes in front of the burning Troy.
The left-hand panel has a female figure holding a scroll and flanked by a broken column, inscribed CALLIOPE (the Muse of epic poetry, usually shown with a trumpet and a laurel wrearth; the representation on the clock looks more like Fortitude).
The right-hand panel has a female figure in a starry nimbus holding a pair of compasses, inscribed VRANIA (the Muse of Astronomy, usually depicted with a globe and compasses).
Riveted to the side-pannels are simple cast side-pillars, engraved with a barley-corn patern. The spider has similar decoration; it is topped byan ornamental plate and a finial. The top-plate has mauresque ornament.
Posted frame movement, made entirely of steel. Four pillars of square section with simple bases and capitals, screwed top and bottom. There are traces of original polish (notably on the disc of the 3rd wheel striking train). All original wheels have four crossings.
All pivots now run in brass bushes, except the two spring-barrels, the greatwheel of the striking, and the back pivot of the 2nd wheel striking.
48 ┌ 50 45 36
── | ── ── ── 15 (x2)
6 ┤ 5 6 6
6 ║ ┘
12-hours ← 72 ║
Spring-barrel brass and later, one cap fixed, the other pinned over four studs. Spring hooked into the wall of the barrel with steel stud (nor original). Set-up ratchet wheel 12; the click with later brass spring.
Great-wheel: split fusee, 6½ turns and cut for gut (although a chain is now fitted); 12 ratchet teeth for winding. Reversed fusee.
2nd wheel: the pinion of report of 6 is pinned on to the squared end of the arbor (most likely converted from a lantern of 3, see conversions).
4th Wheel (contrate) and scape wheel brass and later, as are their arbors.
Dial-wheel friction-tight on its arbor, which carries the 12-pointed star for unlocking the striking.
The original balance had a hog-bristle regulator, the arm of which projected through a slot in the top-plate. It could be reached from the left side, after removing the side-panel.
48 ┌ 48 45 45
── | ── ── ──
8 ┤ 8 5 5
3 ║ ┘
Countwheel ← 39 ║
Spring barrel steel, one cap riveted, the other dovetailed (both four studs). Set-up ratchet wheel of 12; click-spring brass and later.
Great-wheel: split fusee (not reversed); 5½ turns cut for gut; 12 ratchet teeth for winding.
2nd wheel: 6 lifting pins.
3rd wheel: single disc.
4th wheel: a stud on the band for locking.
Fly: heavy steel fly.
Steel detends; hammer with right-angle drive (the hammer is a replacement).
Unwarned 12-hour striking with overlift off the disc and locking on the next wheel.
The alarum movement is missing. It was a separate unit on the right-hand side of the going train, pinned to the bottom plate of the frame with a long extension into the top plate. The right-hand side-panel has a winding hole for this train.
On the front bar of the movement, at the top left-hand corner, is a stud to hold the unlocking-lever of the alarum, and the top plate of the case has a spring and several holes for the locking-construcution.
The changes in this clock are probably all due to a single, extensive overhaul, probably in the late 17th or early 18th century, when the going train was converted to pendulum. At this time the original scape-wheel was discarded and replaced by a contrate with a small horizontal scape-wheel; a large aperture was cut into the top plate to accomodate the latter. The spring-barrel was replaced and fitted with a chain, and a large hole was cut into the bottom plate to accommodate this. This conversion made the train revolve at half the original rate, and so the pinion-of-report for the dial-wheel (originally almost certainly 3, see Performance) was replaced by the present one of 6 (the wheel now runs in excentric bushes).
Probably at the same time the alarum train and its setting-disc was discarded and a new dial fitted (originally there had been an applied chapterring with 12 touch-knobs). The brass click-springs for the set-up may date from the same conversion.
The present, solid silver dial is probably a restoration commissioned by Octavius Morgan. The previous, possibly enameled dial will have used the same holes as the present one.
Hight - 150 mm
Width - 71 mm
Depth - 71 mm
Movement: distance between the plates - 88 mm
distance between the bars - 19 mm (both trains)
Going train: duration - now 52 hours; with pinion of report of 3: 26 hours (see Conversions).
13.500 beats per hour.
Striking train: duration - 198 blows (= ca. 27 hours).
Both trains wind anti-clockwise.
HISTORY AND PROVENANCE.
Octavius Morgan collection; it is not known when or where Morgan acquired the clock.
Octavius Morgan bequest. Reg. 1888,12-1,129.
The clock strongly resembles, both in general shape and in style of engraving, a clock with the punchmark of Nikolaus Lanz of Innsbruck, dated 1547 (Kellenberger Coll., Winterthur; Maurice  fig.92]). It does not, however, have the same side-pillars that all the known vertical clocks by Lanz have (like the present ones, but with extra mouldings near the top and the bottom: Maurice  figs.147-150, 160; see also Exh.cat.Washington, 1980, no.15). A second very similar clock, apparently without makers mark but dated 1544, has extra mouldings near the bottom only (Narodni Muzej, Ljubljana; Buci_  no.25), as has another unsigned clock dated 1560 (Steiermärkisches Landesmuseum Joanneum, Graz; exh.cat. Graz  no.48). A similar clock with plain pillars but not this spider, with owner's(?) name Hans Hoffman and the date 1566, retains the alarum which does not carry a maker's mark (Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg, unpubl. but notes P.G.C.). For Nikolaus Lanz see no.--; he does not appear to have changed the design of his vertical clocks significantly until after ca.1555.
The engraving, too, resembles both in style and execution that on the earlier Lanz-cases, two of which (dated 1547, see above; dated 1550, Kunstgewerbe-museum Berlin) carry the engraver's initials MK. Pechstein has produced documentary evidence that the silversmith Michael Köllinger of Innsbruck worked for Lanz, and the intials are therefore undoubtedly his; he is known to have worked in the years 1547-1566 (Pechstein  no.86).
The Herbersteins were a family with a strong tradition of service to the Habsburgs. The arms as engraved on this clock include the augmentation granted by Emperor Charles V in 1522 (the old Herberstein arms to be quartered by a combination of Austria and Castillia); Emperor Ferdinant I granted them the title "Freier" in 1531 and "Freiherr" in 1537. If a date of ca.1560 for this clock is accepted, then the only solution to the initials IFZH seems to be "Julius Freiherr Zu Herberstein". Julius von Herberstein, born after 1532, became a gentleman-in-waiting (Cämmerer) to Rudolf II (Emperor 1576-1612) (Siebmacher 27 [Oberösterreichscher Adel] 116).
A portrait of Siegmund von Herberstein, cartographer:
G.Egger,"Theatrum orbis terrarum, die Erfassung des Weltbildes zur Zeit der Renaissance und des Barocks", exhib.cat. Vienna, Österreichisches Museum für angewandte Kunst, 1970, p.52.
It is interesting to note that Hercules-symbolism was much favoured by the Habsburgs (G.Bruck, "Hapsburger als 'Herkulier'", Wiener Jahrbücher 50 ( ) 191 ff.).
BIBLIOGRAPHY (Pauline Wholey – 2019)
Tait (1968) H.Tait, Clocks in the British Museum (London 1968).
Tait (1983) H.Tait, Clocks and Watches (London 1983).
- Not on display
- Latest: 2 (Oct 2015)
- Acquisition date
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number