Celestial globe with clockwork; Circa 1579; Culture: Austrian, Vienna; Maker: Gerhard Emmoser (German, active 1556–84); Medium: Case: partly gilded silver and gilded brass; Movement: brass and steel. Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917. Image courtesy of The MET.
If you are planning to visit The Big Apple anytime soon, you may want to book a trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (The MET) to spend a little time at a recently installed exhibit: The Luxury of Time: European Clocks and Watches. The exhibit opened in mid-November 2015, in the Wrightsman Exhibition Gallery and will run through March 27, 2016.
The exhibit draws on the Museum’s extensive holdings of French, English, Dutch, German, and Swiss horological instruments from the 16th through the 19th centuries. These incredible clocks and watches were acquired primarily as decorative objects or specialized pieces of furniture, but several of them are equally important from a technical standpoint.
Longcase astronomical regulator clock, ca. 1768-70; Clockmaker: Ferdinand Berthoud (1727-1807); Case maker: Balthazar Lieutaud (ca. 1720-1780, master 1749). Case: ebony veneered on oak, with gilt-bronze mounts; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Jack and Belle Linsky Collection, 1982. Image courtesy of The MET.
The exhibition will include objects that have not been on display for almost a decade, and will include some highlights from the Museum’s Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts, such as Berthoud’s ebony and gilt-bronze Longcase astronomical regulator clock and a Lepaute gilt-bronze mantel clock. A recently acquired work — an automaton clock made in Nuremberg in the early 17th century depicting Urania, muse of astronomy — will be a highlight of the installation.