The extraordinary beauty and superior craftsmanship of 17th-century German clockmaking is on full display in this exceptionally rare horizontal tabletop timepiece dating to 1650 Augsburg. Created by Johannes Buschman the Younger, the eminent Buschman family of clockmakers are lauded for designing some of the finest timepieces to ever be created in the South German town of Augsburg during the late Renaissance and early Modern periods. A finely moulded ebony and turtleshell casing veneered in a mottled red hue holds the clock’s fusée and chain movement with verge escapement and balance with hogs-bristle regulation. A silver figure of Minerva, Roman goddess of war and wisdom, centers the Roman numeral-engraved chapter ring, indicating the time by pointing to the hour with an authoritative military staff as the sun rotates below her feet to indicate the minute. The incredible design is finished by a gilded backplate intricately pierced and engraved with a floral motif and the signature of Johannes Buschman.
Clocks are one of the greatest and most important inventions of the Renaissance period, improving steadily into the Age of Discovery. Embodying a renewed interest in science, the arts and humanism, the first mechanical timepieces 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 wealthy upper classes. Affluent patrons placed pressure upon artisans to create more elaborate and ornate clocks, of which this particular timepiece can be counted.
German table clocks dating to the mid 17th century similar to this spectacular piece can be found in the collections of London's British Museum, as well as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Frick Collection in New York. Buschman timepieces are hotly desired by collectors and connoisseurs alike and are highly sought-after at Sotheby's and Christie's auctions.
Circa 1650, Augsburg, Germany
Gilded backplate engraved with signature, “Johannes Buschman, Aug:”
5 5/8" wide x 5 5/8" deep x 5" high Click here to view a video of this item.