Lot 10. A German renaissance gilt-copper and gilt-brass 'reiter uhr' automaton table clock, Nikolaus Schmidt, Augsburg, circa 1580. Estimate 180,000 — 250,000 GBP. Unsold. Photo Sotheby's.
the two train fuse and chain movement with pinned barrel caps, oval brass plates stamped NS for Nikolaus Schmidt, plain steel pillars, verge and plain brass balance escapement with later hairspring and regulator, locking plate striking on a bell, the richly gilded case surmounted by an elegantly dressed figure astride his horse, the figure moving his head from side to side as the clock strikes, the repoussé gilt-copper base decorated on the upper side with building and creatures and engraved with hours dial and strike recording dial, the moulded lower section decorated with leaves and strapwork, the damascened iron underside with gilt bun feet: 29cm. 11½in. high
Provenance: Time Museum, Rockford, Illinois, Inventory No. 557.
Sotheby's New York, Masterpieces from the Time Museum, 19th June 2002, Lot 203
Private European Collection
Bibliography: Maurice, Klaus & Mayr, Otto, eds., The Clockwork Universe, German Clocks & Automata, 1550-1650,Washington D.C., 1980, Fig.73.
Note: Nikolaus Schmidt was born in Wiltz, Luxembourg around 1550 and became a Master at Augsburg in 1576.
The art of clock making developed rapidly in Europe during the 16th century. Clockmakers looked for ever more innovative ways to incorporate entertainment as well as information into their clocks and the dawn of the spring-driven domestic clock enabled the power of the spring to be utilised in creating portable novelty automaton clocks. Augsburg became a centre of manufacture for such pieces and, as a city renowned for its fine metalworking, the case designs became evermore fanciful. Animals were popular representations with lions, camels, elephants and eagles all featuring strongly. However, models featuring horses and riders, "reiter uhren", are particularly rare with Klaus Maurice stating that only three other similar examples are known.
A very similar clock was sold Christies, Amsterdam, 19th December 2007 for €264,000
A German renaissance automaton Unicorn clock was sold in these rooms, Treasures, 9th July 2014 for £722,500.
Sotheby's. Treasures, 08 juillet 2015 | 5:30 PM BST - Londres