Mechanical Compositions

Musical picture half hour striking automaton wall clock

    Musical picture half hour striking automaton wall clock

    Western Europe

    The 1870s

    Wood, gesso, gold leaf, glass, fabric (silk), metal; oil painting, gilding, mechanical work

    76 x 99 cm


    Musical picture clock is a combination of the painted image and clock, the clock dial being a part of the plot, and a model with automaton. The picture is in wooden, covered with gold leaf frame ornated with foliage pattern. The picture is covered by glass with black frame and patterns. The frame is fixed to wooden case by hooks-fasteners. The clock, control and musical mechanisms are installed in the case.

    A toggle switch and a button are on the case right side. A button and a cord with metal ball at the end for winding the mechanisms are on the bottom side. The canvas depicts a mountain landscape with a lake, buildings and trees on the shore. A model of a coastal town is in front of the image. Watermill and windmill are on the left. A cathedral with lancet windows and arches and a clock on the tower are on the right. A bridge with rails and locomotives with carriages are in the foreground, a sailing ship is behind it.

    Figures of town residents on the balconies are in front of the cathedral. White enamel dial is visible through round aperture in the tower of the cathedral. The mechanism of the clock is pendulum, with lever escapement and a half-hour chime. The musical movement is with paper music roll, sound comb and spring motor. When the mechanisms are activated, the melody sounds, the balloon moves against the mountains, the water wheel and windmill wings rotate, the ship swings in the waves, the locomotives with the wagons move along the bridge, the lights are turned on in the windows of the buildings. Illumination of a later production operated by galvanic battery.