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Early Square Table Clock

Fruehe quadratische Tischuhr Johann Enghart Breslau

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Wrocław/Silesia, second half of the 17th century

"Johann Enghart Breslau” (signed on the plate)
Enghart/Engard, Johann,
Wroclaw (German: Breslau), active 17th century
engraved and fire-gilt bronze (ormolu), silver-plated bronze mounts, four glazed apertures
silver-plated dial ring, central alarm disc
verge escapement with fusee, open work balance cock, fine adjustment, hour strike on bell with countwheel, alarm on bell
5×5 in

provenance: collection Prof. Dr. Hans von Bertele, Vienna

In the Middle Ages, Breslau (Polish: Wrocław) was the capital of the Duchy of Silesia (later the Duchy of Breslau) as well as the seat of the
Prince-Bishops of Wrocław. The city on the river Oder was destroyed during the Mongol invasion in 1241 and later rebuilt by German settlers. As a result, the population (up until the end of the Second World War) was largely German speaking. Under Bohemian and partly Hungarian rule in the 14th and 15th centuries, Wrocław was in the possession of the Habsburgs from 1526 to 1741. It is during this era of Austrian control that the production of this early table clock also occurred (second half of the 17th century).

The square case of fire-gilt bronze rests on four silver-plated, winged lion’s feet. Glazed viewing windows with silver-plated frames allow glimpses into the partly ornamentally engraved movement with a verge escapement with fusée-and-chain transmission. On the top, embellished with engraved floral decorations, is the silver-plated dial with an hour and minute ring as well as a central adjusting disc for the alarm. The plate reveals the signature of Wrocław clockmaker Johann Enghart (Engard). Openwork floral tendril décor adorns the balance cock, the click and the count wheel. Both the hammer for the striking of the hour as well as the alarm hammer strike the bell affixed to the bottom of the case.

This exquisitely crafted table clock from the collection of famed clock collector and expert Prof. Hans von Bertele is an impressive example of the superior craftsmanship of early Baroque clockmaking in Silesia.