Vienna, first half of the 19th century
- ebonized and polished fruitwood, ormolu mounts in the style of Laxenburg Gothic thermometer with Réaumur scale (with later, mercury-free glass tube – calibrated for degree Celsius)
- mother of pearl front,
ormolu dial ring
- anchor escapement, spring driven, winding by means of two delicately engine turned and fire-gilt mock weights
- 12 ½ in
So called ”Brettluhren“ (small wall clocks mounted on a board) are a rare and sought after variant of Viennese wall clocks from the first half of the 19th century. Delicate dimensions, a projecting movement case and the eponymous small back board (“Brettl”) are characteristics of this type.
The combination with a thermometer, as in this clock, is particularly rare. The temperature display is labeled “Thermometer Réaumur”. Developed by the French natural scientist René-Antoine Ferchault de Réaumur, the scale was introduced in 1730 and was the common unit of measurement in many European countries until the end of the 19th century. The most important temperature points are engraved on the thermometer of the pictured timepiece with their designations “Siedpunkt” (boiling point, 80 degrees), “Badhitz” (bathing heat, 30 degrees) and “Eispunkt” (freezing point, 0 degrees).
The delicate case of ebonized and polished fruitwood, only 12 ½ in. high, is adorned with ormolu mounts. Two brackets with foliate bases and dog heads underpin the mother-of-pearl front with its fire-gilt dial ring. The finial is a wimperg (gothic pediment) with pinnacles, crockets and a gable flower in the design vocabulary of the Laxenburg Gothic – an Austrian neo-Gothic style from the first half of the 19th century. The name refers to the impressive architectural complex that Emperor Francis I of Austria had set up in the castle gardens of the Laxenburg summer residence from 1798 onwards. The style is graceful, often inspired by dynamically curved, late Gothic architectural elements and of the highest elegance.
A typical feature of Viennese “Brettluhren” wall clocks are the two engine turned mock weights, which do not directly drive the mechanism. By carefully pulling on the smaller of the two weights, the actual drive is wound by means of cord: a spring, located in the movement.
This exceptional Viennese board clock with Réaumur scale is a favorite gem in elegant salons thanks to its intricate design and yet small size.