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A mantel clock representing an incident in the struggle between the Sabines and the Romans and an interpretation of Jacques-Louis David's painting when the Sabine women intervene to reconcile the warring parties. Romulus, to the right, is poised to hurl h

Extraordinary timepieces dating from 1630-1830

Louis-François Roubiliac (1702-62)

Floor standing clock ('Temple of the Four Great Monarchies of the World') 1730-43

RCIN 1418

Cupola Room, Kensington Palace

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This large and elaborate musical clock originally included compositions by George Frideric Handel, Francesco Geminiani, and Arcangelo Corelli.  Its maker, Charles Clay, died before its completion, and in his obituary of 1740 it was reported that 'before he died, he ordered a Musical Machine, which had cost him about 20 years time, and upwards of 2000L to bring to Perfection, to be beat to pieces, and entirely destroyed, to prevent further Expence of the Time and Money of anyone who should attempt to finish it after his death'.  Nevertheless, the clock was completed by the clockmaker John Pyke (active 1710–77) and was displayed in London in 1743, before being acquired by Augusta, Princess of Wales (1719–72).  Its name refers to the four great empires of antiquity – Assyria, Persia, Greece and Rome – which are represented on its four faces.