Thursday, December 8, 2011

Precious Time: The Mechanical Globe Clock of Emperor Rudolph II, 1584

The Victoria & Albert Museum

This astrological clock was made by Georg Roll and Johannes Reinhold of Augsburg. The Emperor Rudolph II of Prague purchased the clock at Christmas in 1584. Rudolph II had one of the greatest collections of automata and clocks in the area, but, it seems, was very hard to please. A second similar globe by the same makers (now in the Kunsthistorichesmuseum in Vienna) was bought by the Emperor's brother, Archduke Ernst. The emperor, however, was shocked to know that his brother paid a higher price for his clock and accused Roll of selling him an inferior piece. Roll was then to imprisoned for treating the Emperor “in a scurvy manner.”

The globe served as a model of the universe and simulated the movements of the sun, the moon and the stars. The clock features finely engraved dials, enameled clock faces and elaborately cast legs.

No comments: