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Niclaus Lancz (active 1547 - died c. 1563/66)
Gilt-brass astronomical table clock

Dial border: second punched shield mark with NL conjoined
Movement - on the frame: punched shield mark with NL conjoined
Quarter dial: +NICLAVS . LANCZ . VHRMACHER . INSBRUG., c. 1575

case; gilt bronze

270 mm height 180 mm width 132 mm depth

Case: Gilt-brass case of Metzger type with deeply engraved and chased decoration on panels and the plinth consisting of foliate scrolls, birds and animals, grotesque heads, and bands of architectural decoration. At the top is a cast pierced openwork basket with similar motifs. Two roundels are engraved with Jonah being thrown overboard . The base, constructed from five separate pieces bolted together with the main section in two parts brazed together, is a modern addition. At the top is a figure of a classical warrior with shield and sword. Dials: There are dials on all four sides of the clock. The main front dial now shows hours and minutes and has a sector aperture to reveal a revolving zodiacal dial beneath. The large minute circle is divided to 1/4 minutes. There are three plugged holes in the lower part of this dial. The original astrolabic dial at the rear of the clock has been completely removed. There is now an off-set winding hole and the central hole has been plugged. A large gilt-brass disc is now fitted in the central recess to mask off the plugged holes. On the left side of the clock is the alarm-setting disc. The right side of the case has a dial which shows the last quarter struck, the dial engraved I-IIII around the rim. The central area is inscribed with the maker's name and punched with a shield mark. Movement: Steel posted frame movement, the going train with fusee and now converted to cow-tail pendulum. Striking train for six-hour system. The going and striking trains are arranged at right-angles to the main dials. The alarm train is powered by a fixed barrel and is arranged parallel to the main dials. The hours and quarters are struck on two bells located in the dome of the case. The movement is punched on the frame with the initials NL conjoined within a shield. The quarter dial is inscribed +NICLAVS . LANCZ . VHRMACHER . INSBRUG. There is also a second punched shield mark with NL conjoined in the dial border. Nicholas Lancz of Innsbruck, first recorded in 1547, died in 1563 or 1566. He was a maker of some of the earliest astronomical clocks, mainly rectangular, in the style of Jeremias Metzger. Between 1547 and 1563 he received payment for clocks which he delivered to the Archdukes Ferdinand and Karl. Notes: 1. A number of other clocks by Nicolas Lancz are known to survive as follows: A copper-gilt astronomical table clock c. 1550 in the Kunsthistorisches Museum , Vienna. A clock formerly in the Thewald Collection, Cologne which was later in the Figdor collection Vienna but is now lost. Also a bracket clock dated 1547, in the Kellenberger Collection in Winterthur and a table clock dated 1551 in the Kunstgewerbermuseum., Cologne. There is also a table clock in the Kunstgewerber- museum Berlin, dated 1550 and a table clock with detachable alarm in the British Museum, dated 1549 ( MLA 1888,12-1.109). These clocks are illustrated in Klaus Maurice, Die eutsche Räderuh and in Hans Neumann, Die Kunstuhr des Jeremias Metzger und ihre nächsten Verwandten.. Literature: Klaus Maurice. Die Deutsche Räderuhr, Munich 1976, p.103 and fig. 160.

Bequeathed by J. Francis Mallett, 1947.


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