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Astronomical clock
  • Astronomical clock
  • Michel Stollewerck , Movement Maker
  • Alexandre Fortier (about 1700–1770), Movement Designer
  • France
  • Date: c. 1750
  • Medium: Gilt bronze, patinated bronze, oak, pine, mahogany, amaranth, tulipwood, glass, sycamore, ebony, box, satiné, silvered brass, blued steel and gilt brass
  • Object size: 294.5 x 133.5 x 91 cm
  • Inv: F98
  • Location: Back State Room
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Further Reading
  • Probably made for Jean Paris de Monmartel (1690-1766), banker to the French court (and godfather of Madame de Pompadour), this monumental clock was in its time at the cutting edge of science, being able to show both solar and mean time, the time in any part of the northern hemisphere, the day and date of the month, the sign of the Zodiac and the times of the rising and setting of the sun and moon. The clock’s mechanisms are housed in an extravagant case, veneered with amaranth and other woods and mounted with gilt bronze. Surmounting the clock face at the top is the familiar motif of Love Triumphing over Time, a sculptural group in patinated bronze that had been a popular decorative feature of clocks since the early eighteenth century. Time, portrayed as an old man, is seated on a gilt-bronze cloud and has his left hand tied behind his back; one of two winged infants, representing Love, has stolen his gilt-bronze scythe. The clock was shown in a portrait engraving of Monmartel in his grand cabinet at the Hôtel Mazarin in Paris published in 1772.