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A GERMAN GILT BRASS AND SILVERED BRASS CELESTIAL GLOBE, ORIGINALLY WITH CLOCKWORK
A GERMAN GILT BRASS AND SILVERED BRASS CELESTIAL GLOBE, ORIGINALLY WITH CLOCKWORK

Attributed to Jost Brgi, circa 1590

Details
A GERMAN GILT BRASS AND SILVERED BRASS CELESTIAL GLOBE, ORIGINALLY WITH CLOCKWORK
Attributed to Jost Brgi, circa 1590
This globe was designed to be fitted with clockwork contained within the globe. It no longer has this mechanism, and has been converted from a mechanical globe to an ordinary celestial globe. The present axis of the globe passes through the Ecliptic Pole, and the Earth's Pole is at an angle of 23 to it. On examining this position on the globe, one sees that a hole has been filled. This was to permit a drive to pass through the surface to turn the hands of a 24-hour clock dial. Originally, the two hemispheres forming the globe permitted an index arm to pass between them for indicating the day of the year on the horizon ring. The two hemispheres are now firmly connected by a silvered brass circumferential band.

The Stand. This closely follows the design of the stand for the clockwork celestial globe in Zurich by Jost Brgi, dated 1594. A similar stand for an earlier mechanical globe was the work of the Nuremberg goldsmith, Wolff Meyer. The prinicipal supports are finely modelled in the form of satyrs' heads, with lions' heads below, the lower supports being also lions' heads with paw feet. One support is entwined with a serpent, its tail in the mouth of a lion, and its tongue forming an arrow pointer for use with the clockwork-driven horizon ring, no longer operative. The stand is also pierced with various holes, the purpose of which is unknown. Between the supporting brackets is a cylinder with a domed based, through which passes a drive shaft, square sectioned below.

The globe is made of copper with a silvered surface (now worn). The constellation figures are finely engraved, but the craftsman has not been identified. The silvered horizon ring is marked out with the calendar, and shows the Holy Days of the Church. The finial is lost.
the globe 5 in. (13 cm.) diam.
the base 5.2/3 in. (14.4 cm.) diam.
11 in. (28 cm.) high overall
Provenance
Rothschild inv. no. AR2648.
Literature
1903 Theresianumgasse Inventory, p. 91, no. 214.
1905 Theresianumgasse Inventory, p. 43, no. 174.
H. Alan Lloyd, The Collector's Dictionary of Clocks, New York, 1964, p. 96, fig. 243.
L. von Mackensen, Die erste Sternwarte Europas mit Instrumenten und Uhren: 400 Jahre Jost Brgi in Kassel, Munich, 1979 (containing a biographial chapter on Brgi and detail of the construction of the Kassel globes).
K. Maurice and O. Mayr, eds., The Clockwork Universe: German Clocks and Automata 1550-1650, Washington, D.C., 1980, chapter 8 (on Jost Brgi and his mechanisms).
E. Zinner, Deutsche und niederlndische astronomische Instrumente des 11.-18. Jahrhunderts, Munich, 1956, pp. 268-76.

Lot Essay

Eberhard Baldewein and the Swiss Jost Brgi (1552-1632), were successively clockmakers to the Landgrave Wilhelm IV of Hesse. He became the finest and most inventive of all European clockmakers, making clocks and astronimcal instruments for the Kassel Observatory and Tycho Brahe.

Seven such mechanical globes are recorded, and five have stands similar to the present one, and these are in Kassel, Paris, a private collection, and the signed globe in Zurich already referred to. A second example in Kassel, and one in Dresden, have different, later, stands. The present globe has not been published.
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