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striking clock / organ clock / eight-day clock / clock-case

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Large organ clock; eight-day striking movement with organ attachment playing eight tunes, three times each every three hours automatically; arched dial with silvered-metal chapter-ring and subsidiary ring with chased silver plaques; mahogany monumental case with moulded arched hood; pediment designed as model of an organ and with brass turned columns to the angles, borders and chased scroll foliage.


  • Producer name

  • Date

    • 1755-1765
  • Production place

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 36 inches
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

      • Inscription Content

        Geo.Lindsay, Watchmaker to His Majesty [dial]
      • Inscription Type

      • Inscription Position

        subsidiary dial
      • Inscription Content

      • Inscription Type

      • Inscription Content

        Servant to the Prince of Wales [beneath nameplate]
  • Curator's comments

    Text from 'Clocks', by David Thompson, London, 2004, p. 110.
    George Lindsay
    Organ clock
    London, c. 1760
    Height 91.5 cm, width 51 cm, depth 37 cm
    'Geo. Lindsay, Servant to the Prince of Wales'. This is the original inscription on this magnificent organ clock by George Lindsay, but it was covered over by a signature plaque which reads, 'Geo. Lindsay Watch maker to his Majesty'.
    A Royal Warrant was issued to George Lindsay on 12 December 1760, appointing him as 'Watchmaker in Ordinary', an office he held until his death in 1776. A privileged office of this kind was often used in advertising, so it comes as no surprise to find watch-papers inscribed 'G. Lindsay, watch maker to His Majesty and Her Royal Highness the Princess Dowager of Wales'. Lindsay is known to have been working from about 1743 and had his business at 'The Dial' in the Strand, London. Just a small number of pieces are known to survive from his workshop including a longcase clock formerly in the Wetherfield Collection, a watch in the Clockmakers' Company collections and this splendid organ clock. The clock can be dated from the plaque added following Lindsay's appointment as Royal watchmaker in 1760.
    This mahogany-cased clock, standing more than three feet high, has gilt-brass columns at the corners and a gilt-brass base with large scroll feet. The top of the case is in the form of a miniature pipe organ, although the pipes are simply decorative. Thirty-two wooden pipes are situated in the back above the bellows and wind chest and there are two manual stops which allow the pipes' register to be changed from four feet to two feet as required.
    Inside the case is a large horizontally-mounted, pinned and hooped barrel which 'plays' eight tunes on the organ - 'Julien's Polka', 'Swiss Waltz', 'Hart's Quadrille', 'Danwoius Quadrille', 'Swiss Gallopade', 'Cacoucha Dance', 'Redowa Polka' and 'Krakoviak Dance'. Sadly, the clock no longer plays these eighteenth century melodies, the music barrel having been re-pinned in the nineteenth century to play completely different music, including a piece from Weber's 'Der Freischütz' of 1821.
    Around the main chapter ring, in addition to the tune title ring, there is a rise-and-fall dial calibrated 5-60 to the upper right, which raises or lowers the pendulum to finely adjust the rate of the clock from the front, a GOING/STOPT dial to the left which locks the pendulum when the clock is moved, a STRIKE/SILENT dial which silences the striking of the hours and a PLAY/NOT PLAY which silences the music that otherwise would play at three-hourly intervals, or at will by pulling a cord. Each tune is played three times before the clock automatically switches to the next one.
    The timekeeping element of the clock is of standard form with fusees for both going and hour striking trains and it has a dead-beat escapement controlled by a pendulum with an aperture in the dial for the false pendulum, used to start the clock without having to turn it around.
    Ilbert Collection.


  • Bibliography

    • Thompson 2004 p.110 bibliographic details
  • Location

    On display: G39/dc9

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Acquisition notes

    The Ilbert Collection of clocks, prints and other related material was destined to be sold at Christie's auction house on 6th-7th November 1958. As a result of the generous donation of funds by Gilbert Edgar CBE the sale was cancelled and the material purchased privately from the beneficiaries of the Ilbert Estate.NL1Ilbert's watches were then acquired with further funds from Gilbert Edgar CBE, public donations and government funds. These were then registered in the series 1958,1201.

  • Department

    Britain, Europe and Prehistory

  • Registration number


  • Additional IDs

    • CAI.2135 (Ilbert Collection)
    • Q317 (Ilbert Ledger)


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Object reference number: MCC3221

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