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Carriage Clock of Laxenburg Gothic

Reiseuhr der Laxenburger Gotik


Vienna, second half of the 19th century

engine turned and fire-gilt bronze (ormolu)
engine turned and fire-gilt bronze (ormolu)
verge escapement, Viennese grande sonnerie on wire gongs, repeater, turn-off for strike, alarm on wire gong
9 ½ in

The Gothic style of Laxenburg is an Austrian neo-Gothic trend from the first half of the 19th century. The description makes reference to the impressive “knightly district” that Emperor Francis I of Austria had set up in the castle gardens of the Laxenburg summer residence from 1798 onwards. The core element is the Franzensburg castle situated on an island, which served as a private retreat for the emperor. Like several other princes of the time around 1800, Franz I adapted the neo-Gothic style, which had originated in England, for his construction projects and interior decoration. The goal was a return to the romanticized Middle Ages, a time before the French Revolution, to the traditional system of the estates of the realm with the divinely ordained ruler at its top. The style is delicate and graceful, often inspired by dynamically curved, late Gothic forms and of the highest elegance.
This carriage clock illustrates the enormous influence of the Laxenburg Gothic style on Viennese craftsmanship. The case, made of engine turned and fire-gilt bronze, has an almost architectural structure. On a pedestal-like base are four little columns that bear the weight of the case drum as well as the baldachin situated above. The open worked, highly varied tracery gives this carriage clock an airy lightness. The ogee arch at the top is decorated with crockets. The piece culminates in a trefoil-shaped handle. It is equipped with a Viennese grande sonnerie and an alarm.
An almost identical carriage clock is published and depicted in Frederick Kaltenböck’s standard reference work “Viennese Timepieces”.

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