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A South German gilt-metal table clock
A South German gilt-metal table clock


A South German gilt-metal table clock
Possibly Nrnberg, circa 1550
The case of drum form engraved around the band with three coats of arms with supporters and crests divided by scrolling foliage inhabited with birds, the base plate similarly engraved with foliage and flower heads and with three bun feet, the iron movement with rectangular chamfered pillars, chain fusee, the spring barrel with a brass band, verge escapement with later hog's bristle regulation, the 24-hour Arabic dial with touch pieces and adjustable inner concentric twice 12-hour chapters, later hand
Rothschild inv. no. AR2650.
Sale Room Notice
One of the coat-of-arms originally taken for being Pallavicini is in fact that of Graf von Ortenburg.

Lot Essay

The engraved arms are those of the South German noble families of Pallavicini, Khuen & Thun. Whilst there are records of the Khuen and Thun families marrying in the 18th. century no record can be traced of any earlier associations. The existance of three coats of arms on the one clock might possibly indicate the formation of an alliance between the three families in the 16th. century.
Two similar examples to the present clock exist;
1. The Kunstgewerbmuseum, Schloss Charlottenburg, Berlin, illustrated; Klaus Maurice, Die Deutsche Rderuhr, band II, Munich, 1976,
p. 65, figs. 489 a & b.
2. The British Museum, London, reg No. CAI 2112.
Both of these clocks exhibit very similar iron movements with rectangular pillars and similarly pierced-out top plates. Perhaps the most unusual common feature is the S-form iron potance for the escape wheel which is pinned through to one of the three pillars.
The other common feature is the manually adjusted innner twice 12-hour ring. This was necessary because in the Nuremburg district and its surrounding regions the hours were counted as so many hours of daylight and of darkness with each day starting at sunrise. As a result each day varied from 16 hours of daylight at midsummer to the converse at winter. Public notices were posted on the relevant days stating when citizens should take an hour off one period and add it to the other. In some other examples the clocks were made with shutters that could be slid one over the other changing the number of daylight hours.
Our thanks to David Thompson of the British Museum, for his kind help preparing this catalogue entry.

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