Lilly's Art

Picture Clock “Trieste” Circle of C. L. Hoffmeister

Bilderuhr Triest C L Hoffmeister, Umkreis

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Austria, 1825

signed
designated and dated lower right: “Piazza state la Borsa Chiesa preta Orientale, Trieste 1825”
Case
gilt bull's eye frame
Dial
oil on metal
Movement
verge escapement, Viennese grande sonnerie on wire gongs, repeater, musical movement with two tunes by “Slawik & Preiszler in Prag” (Nr. 383 2733), with automaton release every full hour, automaton (water well pump with maid) coupled with the strike
Measurements
25 ¾ × 32 in

Since 1382, the Habsburg dynasty had ruled Trieste. Up until 1918, therefore, the city located by the seaport formed a part of Austria. Not only was it an important point of commerce, it was also of great strategic significance for the Habsburg Monarchy, since the Austrian navy was stationed here. Hence the stately “k.u.k.” (imperial and royal) buildings that give the city its character to this day. Well positioned in the left half of the image, the Greek Orthodox church of San Nicolo dei Greci catches the eye, with its two prominent towers into which the dial of the clock is skillfully
incorporated. By the harbor quay, cut off by the left border of the painting, a trade ship with a hoisted Austrian flag is anchored and is being unloaded. The automaton, shaped like a woman drawing water from a well, is an especially delightful detail of this magnificent picture clock.

cf.: H. Kowar: Spielwerke aus Prag und Wien, Vienna 2017, p. 29.

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