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Erasmus Pirenbrunner (free 1571 - died c.1615)
Gilt-brass tabernacle clock

Case - circle of punched letters on the masking plate: VINDELICORVM $ 1577 $ ASMVS $ BREN $ BRVNER $ IN $ AVGVSTA $
Case - inscribed on an upper moulded bar at the front: DOLLOND DRESDEN (the letter 'N' reversed), 1577

case; gilt brass

380 mm height 195 mm width 195 mm depth

Case: Gilt-brass case in three main tiers. The clock stands on four scroll feet beneath the main base which has urn finials at the corners. The moulded base is decorated with strapwork, scrolls and shell-motifs on all the outer surfaces. On an upper moulded bar at the front is the inscription DOLLOND DRESDEN (the letter 'N' reversed). Screwed to the underside and carrying the feet is a masking plate inscribed in a circle in punched letters: VINDELICORVM / 1577 / ASMVS / BREN / BRVNER / IN / AVGVSTA / The central tier of the case is square with elaborate pilaster corners and with urn finials at the top. On each face around the various dials, the flat surfaces are decorated with deeply cast and chased foliage. Above the dial section are a series of four diminishing pierced and colonnaded galleries each smaller in size than the one below and two of which contain the two bells, the larger withing a pierced gallery for the hours and the smaller, within a colonnaded gallery for the quarters. The whole clock is topped by a finial. Dials: All four faces of the clock have dials, the front upper main dial has a chapter ring for hours and half-hours and is decorated with an engraved rose in the centre. Below, a smaller ring has the signs of the zodiac in name, symbol and degrees. The central revolving disc has a pointer to indicate the zodiac. On the inside is a circle numbered 12 - 22 and there is a blued steel pointer. The dial on the left side is marked 1 - 12 to show the position of the hour count-wheel, there are touch-pins at each hour and a steel hand indicates the last hour struck. The right side has a dial two dials, the upper calibrated 1-4, 1-4 to show the position of the quarters count wheel. The lower dial marked 1 - 10 was probably for regulation. The dial on the back of the clock is in the form of an astrolabe, has an outer circle for hours I-XII I-XII with touch pins. Inside is a planispheric astrolabe with solar and lunar indexes. The underlying plate is inscribed GRAD 48 indicating its design for use at latitude 48o North. Movement: Only the steel plates of the original movement remain. The only dial which now functions is the front hour dial, which now has a 19th century rectangular carriage clock timepiece movement with going barrel and a platform mounted escapement. Notes: 1. The inscription relating to the maker is without doubt an alternative spelling of the name Erasmus Pirenbrunner (otherwise Birenbronner) an Augsburg (Vindelicorum Augusta) maker, son of a clock-maker father of the same name from Munich who began work in Augsburg in 1545 and died in 1571. Erasmus junior was born in about 1545, became a Free clockmaker in Augsburg in 1571 and married in the same year. He married a second time in 1580 and died in about 1615. 2. There appear to be no records of Dollond of Dresden, perhaps an early owner of the clock. Literature: Klaus Maurice, Die Deutsche Räderuhr,1976, p.40, ill.225.

Bequeathed by J. Francis Mallett, 1947.


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