A German renaissance gilt-copper and gilt-brass 'reiter uhr' automaton table clock, Nikolaus Schmidt, Augsburg, circa 1580
- Copper, brass, steel
Sotheby's New York, Masterpieces from the Time Museum, 19th June 2002, Lot 203
Private European Collection
The art of clock making developed rapidly in Europe during the 16th century. Clockmakers looked for ever more innovative ways to incorporate entertainment as well as information into their clocks and the dawn of the spring-driven domestic clock enabled the power of the spring to be utilised in creating portable novelty automaton clocks. Augsburg became a centre of manufacture for such pieces and, as a city renowned for its fine metalworking, the case designs became evermore fanciful. Animals were popular representations with lions, camels, elephants and eagles all featuring strongly. However, models featuring horses and riders, "reiter uhren", are particularly rare with Klaus Maurice stating that only three other similar examples are known.
A very similar clock was sold Christies, Amsterdam, 19th December 2007 for €264,000
A German renaissance automaton Unicorn clock was sold in these rooms, Treasures, 9th July 2014 for £722,500.