A large English table clock with musical mechanism and calendar of Royal provenance, circa 1740.
Queen Wilhelmina and Queen Juliana of the Netherlands
This beautiful clock is not only exceptional because of its large dimensions. It also has a musical mechanism with twelve melodies and a calendar with moonphase. This combination would be more than enough to be very proud to have it in the collection. But besides all this, this clock was in the property of Queen Wilhelmina and her daughter Queen Juliana of the Netherlands. An old picture places it in the living quarters of Wilhelmina in Palace Noordeinde in the early thirties of the past Century. A second picture places it in Palace Lange Voorhout in 1967. Finally the clock was sold in the Sotheby’s auction selling property of the estate of Queen Juliana of the Netherlands in 2011. It makes this special clock truly interesting.
The arched brass dial has an applied silvered chapter ring with Roman numerals. The finely foliate pierced hands are made of blued steel. The matted centre has apertures for date, mock pendulum and days of the week. In the lower corners are cast brass mask spandrels. In the upper corners are silvered subsidiaries for strike/silent (SLAAN/NIET SLAAN) and play/not play (SPEELEN/NIET SPEELEN). In the arch is the polychrome moon phase with indication of the days of the moon cycle. On the outer rim is a silvered sector for the tune selection. Besides the Dutch writing there are the moonphase and calendar work which are typical for clocks made for the Dutch market. These characteristics are hardly ever seen on English clocks for the domestic market in this period.
Dutch half hour striking
The substantial movement is driven by three spring barrels with fusees and chains. It is of eight day duration which means that the clock needs to be wound once a week. The movement has verge escapement in combination with a fixed pendulum and connection to the mock pendulum. The clock has Dutch half hour striking on two alternating bells. This means that the clock strikes the hours on the large bell. The half hours are fully struck for the upcoming hour. (the clock strikes eight times at seven thirty) The Dutch say “half acht” (half eight) which means ‘the half of the eight hour’. The clock has a musical mechanism which has twelve melodies in six pairs. Therefore playing one melody at the full and the other of the pair at the half hour. The mechanism has a pinned cylinder and thirty hammers striking on fifteen bells. Both striking and musical mechanism can be repeated by pulling a cord. The back plate is beautifully engraved. A cock on this backplate is inscribed for the inventory number PLV 61o (Palace Lange Voorhout)
The ebony veneered brass bound case has an inverted bell top with pierced frets and is surmounted by five finials. To the front and back are glazed doors with further fretwork flanked by well cast and chiseled herm mounts. The sides have carrying handles above glass panels. The brass bound and moulded base is raised on flat brass feet.