17th-Century German Renaissance Turret Clock

  • This exceptionally rare Renaissance turret clock dates to the 17th century
  • This clock is from the first era of household clocks
  • Renaissance clocks rarely become available on the market, and are found primarily in museums
  • The Milwaukee Museum of Art, as well as The Frick Collection and the MET hold similar period clocks
  • Get complete item description here
Item No. 30-1665

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This incredibly rare Renaissance turret-form clock, or table clock, was considered both a scientific marvel and an item of luxury during the period. This incredible piece is encased in fire gilt copper and brass crafted to resemble the giant striking clocks set within the turrets of buildings in the center of town. The mechanism strikes on the hour and quarter hour with an alarm feature. The movement is a gut/fuseé for going and striking train, a barrel for the alarm, a verge escapement with three hammers and two bells.

Clocks are one of the greatest and most important inventions of the Renaissance period, embodying the renewed interest in science, the arts and man's place in the world. The first mechanical devices that indicated time began appearing in the 14th century and were large, weight-driven devices placed in the turrets of public buildings that struck the hour and lacked hands and faces. This clock was created during the first period of household clocks, when spring-driven movements made it possible to create smaller and more complex mechanisms. Such creations, however, were a luxury accessible only to the upper class. These patrons placed pressure upon artisans to create more elaborate and more beautiful clocks, of which this particular timepiece can be counted. 

Renaissance clocks are an incredible rarity on the market, with the handful of known examples in the coveted collections of major museums throughout the world. Turret clocks similar to this specimen can be found in the collections of the Milwaukee Museum of Art in Wisconsin as well as The Frick Collection and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

German, circa 1650

15 1/2" high
The majority of Renaissance-era clocks can only be found in museum collections
Period: 17th Century
Origin: Germany
Type: Turret Clocks
Height: 15.5 Inches

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