The Wallace Collection

The Wallace Collection, A Family Collection, A National Museum, An International Treasure House
Astronomical clock
  • Astronomical clock
  • Michel Stollewerck , Movement Maker
  • Alexandre Fortier (c. 1700 - 1770), Movement Designer
  • France
  • c. 1750
  • Gilt bronze, patinated bronze, oak, amaranth, mahogany, pine, tulipwood, glass, sycamore, ebony, box, satiné, silvered brass, blued steel and gilt brass
  • Object size: 294.5 x 133.5 x 91 cm
  • Inscription: 'Alexandre fortier invenit / Stollewerck fecit Aparis' Engraved
  • F98
  • Back State Room
Images & Media
Further Reading
  • Probably made for Jean Paris de Monmartel (1690-1766), banker to the French court (and god-father of Madame de Pompadour), this extraordinary clock was shown in a portrait engraving of Monmartel in his grand cabinet at the Hôtel Mazarin in Paris published in 1772. The principal clock-face now shows Greenwich mean time and apparent solar time. From the central dial can be read the passage of the sun across the Zodiac, the age, longitude and phases of the moon, and the time anywhere in the northern hemisphere (a map of which is engraved on the revolving circular plate); the two lowest dials show the rising and setting of the sun (left) and moon (right). The clock case is constructed in three sections, supported on a base. Only the upper section, with the patinated figures of two putti stealing Father Time’s scythe on top and four putti at the bottom, between which there would once have been floral garlands, forms the original clock. The clock movement is by Michel Stollewerck (maitre 1746, d. 1768) to designs by Alexandre Fortier, a Parisian notary and inventor whose dates are not recorded.