Monday, June 23, 2014

Object of the Day, Museum Edition: The Metzger Mirror Clock, 1564

The Victoria & Albert Museum

This attractive clock was made in 1564 by the famous German clockmaker, Jeremias Metzger (or Metzker), of Augsburg.

A vertical, circular dial on a footed base, this form of clock is known as a “monstrance” or “mirror” clock due to its similarity in shape to those objects. Mirror clocks were quite fashionable in Europe between 1580 and 1630. These clocks featured metal cases which were commonly gilded. 

This particular clock was assuredly a treasury piece which was bought more so for its craftsmanship and technical ingenuity than for its practical purposes. During this period, clocks were luxury items designed to impress as well as educate. 

The low circular base of this chiming clock into the curved portion which is surmounted by a dome-shaped, pierced casing which protects the bell mechanism. A cast figure of Atlas sits astride the dome.   In his raised arms, he balances a shaped, engraved bracket which is adjoined to the clock case. The clock is fitted with 3 dials, (2 on the front, 1 on the back). The upper shoulders of the clock case are adorned each with a single cast putti astride a dolphin, each supporting a trident. 

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