Tardy, La Pendule Française, Part II, Paris 1981, p.224, pls.LXXII & LXXII and p.340-341; Cedric Jagger, Royal Clocks, The British Monarchy & Its Timekeepers 1300-1900, Robert Hale 1983, pp.168-170, figs.229-231; H. Alan Lloyd, The Collectors' Dictionary of Clocks, Barnes & Co. 1964, pp.149-150; Pierre Kjellberg, L'Encyclopédie de la Pendule Française, les éditions de l'amateur 1997, p.376; Peter Heuer & Klaus Maurice, Europäische Pendeluhren, Callwey 1988, p.70, fig.122; J. Ramon Colon de Carvajal, Catalogo de Relojes del Patrimonio Nacional, Editorial Patrimonio Nacional 1987, pp.144-145; Michel Hayard, Antide Janvier (1751-1835), Horloger des étoiles, L'Image du Temps, pp.212-214; Jean-Dominique Augarde & Jean Néree Ronfort, Antide Janvier, Mécanicien-astronome Horloger ordinaire du Roi, Paris 1998, pp.52-56; Derek Roberts, Continental and American Skeleton Clocks, Schiffer 1989, p.121, fig.114; Peter Thornton & Helen Dorey, A Miscellany of Objects from Sir John Soane's Museum, Laurence King, p.14
The orrery is a mechanical instrument for portraying the relative motions of the Sun, Moon and Earth, sometimes with the planets also. They are shown in a heliocentric system. The first known English example was made by George Graham (1675-1751) circa 1705 and was jointly signed by him and by Thomas Tompion (1639-1713). The instrument maker John Rowley (1668-1728) subsequently copied Graham's machine for Prince Eugene of Savoy. Rowley was then commissioned to make another copy for his patron, Charles Boyle, 4th Earl of Orrery (1674-1731). It it is believed that the essayist Sir Richard Steele suggested that it should thereafter be called an orrery, in honour of the Earl. Four examples of Rowley's orreries are in the Old Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.
The orrery was a highly regarded instrument. Joseph Wright (1734-1797) painted A Philosopher lecturing on the Orrery in 1766. The painting was influenced greatly by Wright's friends in the 'Lunar Society', a group of philosophers, engineers and scientists who met monthly to perform experiments and discuss the latest developments in science and natural philosophy. In particular, the painting shows the influence of the clockmaker John Whitehurst of Derby (1713-1788).
ZACHARIE JOSEPH RAINGO & THE RAINGO ORRERIES:
Born in Mons, Raingo was living in Tournai in 1806 before moving to Gand in 1810 and shortly after to Paris, first in rue de Cléry and then in 1815 in rue Saint-Sébastien. He is recorded as having the title of Horloger-Mécanicien to the Duc de Chartres by 1823 and then in February 1824 that of Horloger-Mécanicien du Garde-Meuble de la Couronne.
In 1804 Raingo presented his first 'horloge à sphère mouvante' to a M.de Champagny. In 1810 he applied for a brevet for his design. The drawing attached to this shows an ormolu orrery clock on pedestal, of rotunda form but with caryatid bust columns (see Augarde & Ronfort, op.cit, pp.52-53). This design was quickly superceded by a clock with mahogany columns. His description of this latter clock is published in Annales de l'Industrie française et étrangère, volume X (1823). It has been suggested that the original model was designed by Charles Percier, either for Malmaison or for the Tuileries Palace (see Thornton and Dorey, op.cit., p.14).
A Raingo orrery is illustrated in the journal Ackermann's Repository, issue III, May 1824 and is described as 'forming a very useful and tasteful ornament for the drawing room or library' (Thornton and Dorey, p.14).
There was an early association between Raingo and the great French clockmaker Antide Janvier (1751-1835). Four Raingo type orrery clocks with mahogany columns and signed by Janvier are known. One is in the musée du Temps (Besançon), another is in the musée International d'Horlogerie (La Chaux-de-Fonds) and two are in private collections. The example in la Chaux-de-Fonds has a musical movement signed Raingo (see Hayard, op.cit, p.213).
Clearly Raingo orreries were prized from their inception. George IV was a notable purchaser of the finest clocks and purchased the Raingo currently in the Royal Collection in 1824. Christie's 1848 sale of the contents of Stowe, home of the Duke of Buckinghamshire included lot 885: 'A very curious clock, by Raingo, showing days of the week, and surmounted by an orrery, which is attached to the works of the clock.. H. Beaufoy, Esq. £66 3s 0d. This clock is a very elaborate piece of mechanism, and was purchased of the maker, by the late Duke of Buckingham, for 300 guineas. It indicates, with utmost regularity, the hours, the minutes, and the seconds; the day of the month, the signs of the Zodiac, the days of the week, the common, or leap years; the inequality of the days and nights, the seasons of the year, the movement of the moon around the earth, and of the earth around the sun; the phases of the moon, its age, and its eclipses. The orrery can be disconnected from the clock, and worked by hand, in order that the earth and the moon can be placed in any particular relative position with the sun. Only three of these clocks were made; one was formerly at Carlton House; another in the Tulleries (where is it now?), and the third, the Duke of Buckingham was fortunate enough to secure. Mr Nathan purchased it to-day for Mr Beaufoy. (Henry Rumsey Forster, The Stowe Catalogue Priced and Annotated, London, David Bogue, 1848).
Probably thirty Raingo orrery clocks exist according to Augarde & Ronfort (p.52). Different materials were used for the cases: amboyna, mahogany, ormolu and mother-of-pearl. Not all examples have the addition of the music work in the base. In design the present clock closely resembles those in the Royal Collection at Windsor and in the Soane museum, but has the additional benefit of music.
Some of the known models are listed below:
1: AMBOYNA CASE, SQUARE PLINTH (WITHOUT MUSIC): British Royal Collection, the Library, Windsor. Purchased in 1824 for 300 guineas by George IV.
2: AMBOYNA CASE, SQUARE PLINTH (WITH MUSIC): Private Collection, sold Christie's London, Magnificent Clocks, 15 September 2004, lot 34
3: AMBOYNA CASE, SQUARE PLINTH (WITH MUSIC): the present example
4: ORMOLU CASE WITH MUSIC: Spanish National Collection, Madrid. This model is, unusually, mounted with figures. The musical base is made of mahogany.
5: ORMOLU CASE (WITHOUT MUSIC): Kelvin Grove Museum, Glasgow
6: MOTHER-OF-PEARL CASE (WITHOUT MUSIC): Private Collection, sold Sotheby's New York, Masterpieces from the Time Museum, Part IV, lot 596, 13 October 2004
7: MAHOGANY CASE, CIRCULAR PLINTH (WITHOUT MUSIC): Science Museum, London
8: AMBOYNA CASE, CIRCULAR PLINTH (WITHOUT MUSIC): Private Collection, sold Antiquorum Geneva, The Private Collection of Theodor Beyer, 16 November 2003, lot 24
9: AMBOYNA CASE, SQUARE PLINTH (FORMERLY WITH, NOW WITHOUT MUSIC): Sir John Soane Museum, London. Owned by Frederick, Duke of York (brother to George IV), who died in 1827 whereupon it was purchased by Soane for £75 and placed in his dining room, where it remains.