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The Art of Monarchy

A collaboration with BBC Radio 4 to mark Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

Eardley Norton (active 1760-92)

Astronomical clock 1765

RCIN 30432

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George III's fascination for horological innovation is neatly demonstrated in this remarkable clock. The latest in technical excellence, this clock was supplied to the King in 1765 at a cost of £1,042, which included the cost of the remarkable carved cedar case (by John Bradburn) and the splendid silver mounts. The clock has four dials, the principal dial shows the time of day on a 24 hour dial with hands for mean and solar time and a painted dial showing the passage of the sun across the sky. A small central dial shows the time at thirty locations across the globe relative to mean time. The left dial shows a year calendar on a spiral, with retracting vertical hand. The right dial is an orrery with Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter & Saturn, which move around the zodiacal circle. The back dial shows the ages and phases of the moon, and high and low water at thirty-two geographical sea ports. The clock was placed on a richly carved bracket in the King's Dressing Room at Buckingham House. A design attributed to Robert Adam is in the Soane Museum: it was made by the cabinet-maker to the Great Wardrobe, John Bradburn in 1766 and cost £38-15s. In about 1770, the clock was moved to the Octagon Library, at which point the bracket was dispensed with.