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ITALIAN NIGHT* CLOCK c.1680 • Dial: Painted copper, depicting a rural lake view in predominantly green. At the top a semi-circular slit-shaped time indication aperture, a copper disc with holes revolving behind the slit, smaller hinged discs with cut-out hour numerals 1 - 6**, passing behind the aperture in the right order, showing the time. In a semi-circle above, the quarters I - IIII, cut out in the dial, with half-quarter marks. • Movement: 21-hour duration; brass. Circular plates; spring-driven going train only; gut fusee, verge escapement, the verge directly attached to the pendulum. • Case: Ebonised fruitwood; broken architectural top with an arched structure in the gap; hinged door giving access to the movement for winding. At the back an aperture with hinged platform for placing a candle or oil lamp for night use. Moulded base. • Dimensions: * The late 17th century saw the emergence of "night" clocks. They were developed in Rome by the brothers Matteo, Pietro Tommaso and Giuseppe Campani, for Pope Alexander VII. They gradually replaced "lantern" clocks, a field in which Camerini of Turin, among others, excelled around 1650-60. Richly decorated masterpieces, these "night" clocks were veritable small Baroque altars often fitted with silent escapements. They were employed to tell the time in the dark by placing a candle or oil lamp behind the dial. The light shone through an openwork disc representing the hours and fractions thereof which rotated instead of hands, to indicate the time. A system was even invented of projecting the time onto a wall. Thanks partly to the emergence of these 'wandering dials' a wide space for pictorial decoration was provided. ** In his treatise entitled 'Horologi Elementari' (Venice, 1669), Domenico Martinelli explains one of the features of the hour display in Italy, namely: the division by 6 and not by 12 of the dials of clocks and watches. He calls them "6-hour clocks in the manner of Rome". A process that dates back to mediaeval times. Its origin appears to lie in the monastic tradition of dividing the day and night according to prayer times, with the day starting at midday. Commonplace throughout Italy on clocks from the 15th to the 17th centuries, this form of display fell from use in the north of the peninsula in the early 18th century following the adoption of duodecimal time. It was still regularly used however in the central and southern parts of the peninsula up to the Napoleonic Wars. • Source:

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Landgoed "Oosterheide"
Tilburgse Baan 1
4904 SP Oosterhout
tel +31 (0)76 587 57 00
Opening times:
By appointment only.


Also at:
Ginnekenweg 328,
4835 NL Breda.
tel +31 (0)76 560 01 02
Opening times:
Friday and Saturday
From 10 A.M. till 5 P.M.
and by appointment


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