Mechanical Compositions

Half an hour grande sonnerie picture clock with automaton

    Half an hour grande sonnerie picture clock with automaton

    Austria-Hungary, Prague

    second half of the 19th century

    Carl Suchy & Söhne (clock); Willenbacher & Rzebitschik (musical movement); J. Kraupa (painter)

    Metal, wood, golden leaf; painting, gilding, mechanical work

    84 x 70 cm

    On the clock mounting plate: "KARL SUCHY/PRAG/1652"; "WILLENBACHER & RZEBITSCHEK IN PRAG/540/8558" and the image of the Austro-Hungarian double-headed eagle. On the musical movement: WILLENBACHER & RZEBITSCHEK IN PRAG/540/8558”. On the picture in the right bottom corner: “J. Kraupa”



    The picture in wooden frame with ornament, the frame is covered with gold leaf and fixed by hooks-fasteners with a wooden case. The clock and musical movements are housed in in the case. An aperture for the mechanism winding and cord with white ball at the end are on the case right lateral side. Two chess players, the devil and a young man, are depicted on metal sheet; a guardian angel under the vault is behind them. The arch is formed by two lizards with crisscross tails sliding down the columns and resting on their claws.

    The chessboard stands on the sarcophagus cover with carvings in the form of skulls and bones. The devil's chair is decorated with an ominous roaring lion head, its paw rests on the human skull. The devil is wearing red cloak, a hair cover with green feather from a cock's tail and holds white piece in his hands. The guardian angel looks sadly at the position in the chess game, personifying the struggle between Good and Evil. Black clock dial with golden roman numerals marking hours and minutes divisions, two wavy hands and three apertures for the clock and musical mechanism winding is depicted in the picture upper part.

    The clock mechanism is pendulum, with lever escapement, three spring motors, half-hour grande sonnerie chime on two gongs. The musical mechanism with the paper music roll, sound comb and spring motor. The clock chime and musical movement are turned on or off by the cord on the case right side.