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Picture Clock with Automatons “Mill in the Valley of Interlaken” C. L. Hof(f)meister

Bilderuhr mit Automaten C. L. Hoffmeister Aarmühle im Tal von Interlaken

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Vienna, second quarter of the 19th century

“C. L. Hoffmeister”
gilt bull’s-eye frame
verge escapement, Viennese grande sonnerie on wire gongs, repeater, automatons (flowing waters with turning glass rods and a millwheel) driven by two separate movements, musical movement with 2 tunes by F. Einsidl Vienna, automatic release after the hour strike, release of the automatons by the musical movement
oil on metal
28 ¼×37 ½ in

Until 1891, the Swiss town of Interlaken was still known as Aarmühle (“Aare mill”). And indeed, there had been mills on the river Aare, which connects Lake Thun and Lake Brienz, since the 13th century. Accordingly, this idealized view of Interlaken also depicts a mill, which is brought to life with the help of the automatons. Rotating glass rods create the illusion of flowing water, which appears to drive a turning mill wheel. A mechanical spectacle, for which this museum-worthy Viennese timepiece was also fitted with two automaton movements in addition to a time movement with a Viennese grande sonnerie. The extraordinarily exquisite oil painting on metal with an incredibly detailed, vibrant figural staffage bears
C. L. Hof(f)meister’s signature. In his works, this outstanding painter of Viennese picture clocks devoted himself not only to the most beautiful motifs in Austria, but also to towns and sites of international renown.

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