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Anne Boleyn Clock 1530-1870?

Brass, silver, gilt wood, glass, lead, blued steel | RCIN 30018

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  • A gilt-bronze wall hung clock, the striking movement with a single steel hand, in a square tabernacle case, the top pierced with foliage and scrolls containing the bell, surmounted by a leopard holding a shield with the Royal coat of arms and Garter; the case chased and the side panels engraved with a further coats of arms. Silvered chapter ring with with the 12 hours represented in Roman numerals and blued steel pointer for the hours. Mounted on a gilt metal bracket and with a glass dome.

    The clock has a small bird cage style lantern clock movement. The front half of the movement is the going train in the usual form with a verge escapement. The back half of the movement is the strike train. The strike is released by a star wheel on the back of the hour wheel and the hours are counted on a count wheel at the back of the movement. The strike levers are interestingly designed and the hammer is positioned to strike the hours with a sideways blow inside the bell. The strike does not have a fly and is slowed down by a weight mounted with four legs on the fourth wheel of the strike. The later verge now has a pendulum swinging outside the case at the back of the clock.

    There has been much scholarly debate on the historical authenticity of the clock. What is certain is that the case, mechanism and bracket are an 'assembly'; over time it has been substantially altered, most likely of necessity in order to bring about a practical conclusion.

    Reputed to have been given by King Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn on the morning of their marriage in 1532. Said to have been given to Horace Walpole by Lady Germain. In the Library at Strawberry Hill c.1747-95. Bought by Queen Victoria at the sale of Horace Walpole's collection at Strawberry Hill, 13 May 1842; lot 48 £110 5s.

  • Medium and techniques

    Brass, silver, gilt wood, glass, lead, blued steel

  • Alternative title(s)

    Wall clock