Table Clock thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Medieval & Renaissance, Room 62, The Foyle Foundation Gallery

This object consists of 2 parts, some of which may be located elsewhere.

Table Clock

1567 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This clock was made in 1567 by Jacob Marquart, a member of a famous family of clockmakers in Augsburg, southern Germany. With its finely engraved dials and intricately decorated casing, this clock was not simply a functional household item but a treasury piece, prized primarily for its craftsmanship and technical ingenuity.

Shallow, horizontal clocks resting on small feet such as this were made in Europe from the middle of the fifteenth century until the eighteenth century and came in a variety of shapes including square, hexagonal, octagonal and drum shaped. In fact so important were such clocks to the repertoire of the clockmaker in cities like Augsburg, Nuremberg and Ulm, that apprentices were given eight months to make an elaborate horizontal clock to demonstrate their fitness to practise. Many South German examples incorporated astronomical, astrological and calendar information in their dials.

Jacob Marquart was the son of Benedikt Marquart who for fifty years was Augsburg's town clockmaker. Both men spent time working in Italy and France and this clock was probably made for one of Jacob's wealthy clients in Italy. The dials display the Italian hours: timekeeping varied from country to country during the sixteenth century and in Italy the hours began at sunset.

By the 1550s it was fashionable for wealthy gentlemen to have a sound understanding of all branches of learning, from art and literature to mathematics and the natural sciences. Clocks such as this were housed alongside automatons and scientific instruments such as astrolabes and sundials in Scientifica, collections celebrating human ability to control nature. Jacob Marquart's clients included the Emperoro Maximilian II for whom he is recorded in 1569 as working on a complicated clock likely to take two years to complete.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Clock
  • Cover
Materials and Techniques
Brass and iron, raised from sheet, engraved, damascened and gilt
Brief Description
Square table clock of brass and iron, damascened, engraved and partly gilded, signed by Jacob Marquart of Augsburg and dated 1567.
Physical Description
Table clock with alarm in square brass case on four bun feet, whose underside has sundials and calendars. The brass clock dial with applied copper chapter ring on the top surface is a later alteration from around 1700. The flat iron sides are lightly engraved and damascened with strapwork.



The movement of the clock is mounted between two iron plates 175mm square finely engraved with strapwork on both surfaces. The movement has been extensively altered but still contains: the going train with engraved brass barrel, fusee and chain; the striking train with engraved brass barrel and 'nag's head' release; the alarm train with plain brass resting barrel and single-end bell hammer whose tail engages with a ratchet-toothed wheel.



Inside there are 3 brass dials no longer with any mechanisms attached: a ring with the zodiac signs; a ring marked 1 to 12; a disc numbered 1 to 7 with weekday symbols marked 'DIES PLANETARVM'.



The removable bottom cover is of brass engraved with intertwined foliage and has four large engraved circular dials and one small one:



Top left: 'CIRCLVS EPACTA' with an inner ring of years from 1567 to 1585 and with an outer ring giving the epact (the number of days the solar year exceeds the lunar year of 12 months) and a hand-set rotating dial marked 'EPACTA'



Top right: A horizontal sundial showing hours a.m. and p.m. and the Italian hours. A compass box, now with needle missing, is mounted over part of this dial. The box has a removable engraved lid.



Bottom left: a series of concentric rings showing the Dominical letters (denoting the dates of Sundays) including Advent Sunday for a 28-year solar cycle for the years 1560 to 1587 marked 'CIRCVLS SOLARIUS', and with a hand-set rotating arm marked 'ADVENTVS DOM'.



Bottom right: Rings giving the 'golden numbers' (used to calculate the date of Easter) and corresponding dates for Easter Day for a cycle of 19 years from 1558 to 1576 marked 'AVREVS NVMERVS' and with a hand-set rotating arm marked 'PASCHA'.



Centre: A small ring for the cycle of the Indiction, a measurable period of time on the ecclesiastical calendar, with 1558 opposite year 1, and with a hand-set rotating arm marked 'INDICTIO'
Dimensions
  • Height: 10.4cm
  • Width: 21.5cm
  • Depth: 21.5cm
  • Loose dial diameter: 14.6cm
  • Loose dial thickness: 0.6cm
  • Weight: 7.02kg
Measured for the Medieval and Renaissance Galleries
Marks and Inscriptions
Inscribed on base following a square outside the dials: JACOB. MARQVART. VON. AVGSPVRG. BIN. IH. GENANT. MEIN. NAM. IST. IN WELSLANDT. GAR. WOL. BEKANT. DER. HAT. DAS. WERCK. GEMACHT. FIRWAR. IM. 1567. IAR. AIN. SVNENVR. IST. DAS. GENANT. AVF. WELS. VND. DEISCH. LANDT. ERKANT
Gallery Label
TABLE-CLOCK Gilt brass, with steel side damascened with gold and silver The bottom with sundial, calendars, etc. Signed by Jacob Marquart German (Augsburg); dated February 1567 The dial is 18th century
Object history
This clock was made in 1567 by Jacob Marquart (born around 1525, died 1575), a member of a famous family of clockmakers in Augsburg, southern Germany. With its finely engraved dials and intricately damascened and engraved casing, this clock was not simply a functional household item but a treasury piece, prized primarily for its craftsmanship and technical ingenuity.



Marquart was the son of Benedikt Marquart who for fifty years was Augsburg's town clockmaker. Both men spent time working in Italy and France and this clock was probably made for one of Jacob's wealthy clients in Italy. The dials display the Italian hours: timekeeping varied from country to country during the sixteenth century and in Italy the hours began at sunset.



The clock was bought by the V&A in 1863 for £9.



Historical significance: The clocks's significance lies not just in its fine decoration but in its maker, Jacob Marquart. He was from an important family of German clockmakers. His clients included the Emperoro Maximilian II for whom he is recorded in 1569 as working on a complicated clock likely to take two years to complete.



Very few clocks by Jacob Marquart survive. A small drum-shaped table clock by him from around 1570 is in the Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum in Chicago, USA (Museum No. M.381)
Historical context
Clocks were luxury items designed to impress as well as educate. By the 1550s it was fashionable for wealthy gentlemen to have a sound understanding of all branches of learning, from art and literature to mathematics and the natural sciences. Clocks such as this were housed alongside automatons and scientific instruments such as astrolabes and sundials in Scientifica, collections celebrating human ability to control nature.



Shallow, horizontal clocks resting on small feet such as this were made in Europe from the middle of the fifteenth century until the eighteenth century and came in a variety of shapes including square, hexagonal, octagonal and drum shaped. In fact so important were such clocks to the repertoire of the clockmaker in the cities of Augsburg, Nuremberg and Ulm, that apprentices were given eight months to make an elaborate horizontal clock to demonstrate their fitness to practise. Many South German examples incorporated astronomical, astrological and calendar information in their dials.
Production
Also spelt Jakob Marquart and sometimes Marquet
Summary
This clock was made in 1567 by Jacob Marquart, a member of a famous family of clockmakers in Augsburg, southern Germany. With its finely engraved dials and intricately decorated casing, this clock was not simply a functional household item but a treasury piece, prized primarily for its craftsmanship and technical ingenuity.



Shallow, horizontal clocks resting on small feet such as this were made in Europe from the middle of the fifteenth century until the eighteenth century and came in a variety of shapes including square, hexagonal, octagonal and drum shaped. In fact so important were such clocks to the repertoire of the clockmaker in cities like Augsburg, Nuremberg and Ulm, that apprentices were given eight months to make an elaborate horizontal clock to demonstrate their fitness to practise. Many South German examples incorporated astronomical, astrological and calendar information in their dials.



Jacob Marquart was the son of Benedikt Marquart who for fifty years was Augsburg's town clockmaker. Both men spent time working in Italy and France and this clock was probably made for one of Jacob's wealthy clients in Italy. The dials display the Italian hours: timekeeping varied from country to country during the sixteenth century and in Italy the hours began at sunset.



By the 1550s it was fashionable for wealthy gentlemen to have a sound understanding of all branches of learning, from art and literature to mathematics and the natural sciences. Clocks such as this were housed alongside automatons and scientific instruments such as astrolabes and sundials in Scientifica, collections celebrating human ability to control nature. Jacob Marquart's clients included the Emperoro Maximilian II for whom he is recorded in 1569 as working on a complicated clock likely to take two years to complete.
Bibliographic References
  • Bobinger, Maximilian, Alt-Augsburger Kompassmacher, Hans Rosler Verlag, Augsburg, 1966, pp. 266-268
  • Wood, Edward J., Curiosities of Clocks and Watches, EP Publishing Ltd., London, 1973, p.79
Collection
Accession Number
9035-1863

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record createdFebruary 13, 2006
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