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Crucifix Clock

Crucifix Clock

  • Place of origin:

    France (made)

  • Date:

    1650 (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Ebony, silver, precious-stones, gilt-metal, gilt-brass.

  • Credit Line:

    Purchased 1857

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

A table clock in the form of a Crucifix on a pedestal of ebony with applied silver ornaments, the figures of Christ, the Virgin and St John are gilded metal; the clock movement in the pedestal turns a crown shaped dial at the top of the cross; two angels on the arms of the cross point to the revolving dial. French, 17th century

Physical description

Case: In the form of a crucifix on a pedestal; ebony with applied silver ornaments set with stones; the figure of gilt-metal. Rectangular pedestal with re-entrant corners, resting on three turned gilt-metal feet; figures of the Virgin and St. John standing on either side of the crucifix, with a skull and cross-bones at its foot.
The motto INRI appears on a silver scroll applied above the head of Christ; this is flanked by silver angels cast in low relief and chased.

Dial: Above is the dial, consisting of a silvered ring, rotating once in 12 hours and forming the drum-shaped part of a gilt-silver crown, engraved with Roman numerals I to XII with quarter-hour divisions between.

Movement: The clock movement is contained within the pedestal; it has plated 4.8 cm square, the bottom plate signed "W. H. Arnstad". All wheels are of brass. The going train with an unprotected spring, its stopwork now missing . Verge escapement, and balance now fitted with a spring and Tompion-type regulator. Locking-plate striking train also with an open spring; outside count-wheel. The bell is strapped to a hinged door in the bottom of the pedestal.

Place of Origin

France (made)


1650 (made)

Materials and Techniques

Ebony, silver, precious-stones, gilt-metal, gilt-brass.

Marks and inscriptions

W. H. Arnstad

Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews
INRI (Latin: Iēsus Nazarēnus, Rēx Iūdaeōrum) represents the Latin inscription (in John 19:19) which in English reads as "Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews"


Height: 36.7 cm, Width: 12.4 cm, Depth: 9.2 cm

Object history note

Purchased by the South Kensington Museum in 1857

Descriptive line

Crucifix Clock, signed W. H. Arnstad, mid- 17th century.


Ebony; Silver; Gilt-metal; Gilt-brass; Material


Gilt; Technique


Clocks & Watches; Silver; Christianity


Metalwork Collection

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