In 1850 George II of Saxe-Meiningen (1826-1914), who became Duke of Saxe-Meiningen in 1866, married the Prussian Princess Charlotte. The Princess gave birth to four children, however, the marriage was of short duration, as Charlotte died giving birth to her last child in 1855. It must have been on the occasion of George II's marriage to the Prussian Princess that this remarkable rococo longcase clock by Johann Christian Hoppenhaupt came to the court of Saxe-Meiningen.
This longcase clock follows extremely closely a design by Johann Michael Hoppenhaupt II (1709-after 1755) as engraved in about 1751-1755 by Johann Wilhelm Meil (A. Schreyer, Die Möbelentwürfe Johann Michael Hoppenhaupts des Älteren, Strassbourg 1932, Fig. 54). Meil engraved a series of designs by this great ornemaniste of the Prussian rococo under King Frederick II the Great, some of which probably recorded furniture actually executed prior to the publishing of the prints. Some of the carved furniture may indeed have been executed by Hoppenhaupt himself, who worked as a Zierratbildhauer (decorative sculptor). It is unusual to find a piece of furniture that is so close to a Meil/Hoppenhaupt print. The only major difference is that the published engraving shows a pair of candlebranches flanking the dial, one of which is held by a naked boy, as well as a pair of boy's heads flanking the central opening in the case, which are lacking on the present clock. It seems likely that the clock was executed after the engraving, simplified through the omission of the figural elements and with a modification of the proportions. In that case, however, it is puzzling that the clock is in reverse compared to the engraving. Interestingly, Meil's engraving was re-published in reverse by J.G. Hertel of Augsburg in 1771: that engraving therefore shows the case in the same sense as on the present clock. It is somewhat hard to imagine, however, that this fully rococo clockcase was executed after 1771.