Automaton clocks are related to the mechanized figures that adorned medieval clock towers, where the Madonna and Child could appear as part of a mechanical theater on feast days. Small domestic automata with religious themes were popular in the seventeenth century and versions of this model, like many of the period, were cast in quantity. Here, the Madonna’s crown functions as a clock dial and her scepter points to the hour.
Marking: Case stamped:  EBEN (Augsburg cabinetmakers’ mark for ebony);  pinecone (Augsburg town mark);
Movement:  maker’s mark of Nikolaus Schmidt the Elder
Artist: Fourteen identified German (Augsburg) goldsmiths and other German artisans; Japanese (Imari) porcelain maker Date: ca. 1743–45Medium: Gilt silver, hard-paste porcelain, cut glass, walnut, carved and partially gilt coniferous wood, blind-tooled and partially gilt leather, partially gilt steel and iron, textiles, moiré paper, hog's bristleAccession: 2005.364.1a–d–.48On view in:Gallery 551
Artist: Clockmaker: Franz Xavier Gegenreiner (German, active 1760–70) Date: case ca. 1710, movement ca. 1760–70Medium: Case: tortoiseshell backed with brass leaf, pearwood veneered with rosewood; and partly gilded silver; Movement: gilded brass and steelAccession: 46.162On view in:Gallery 533
Artist: Johann Valentin Gevers (German, ca. 1662–1732) Date: ca. 1710Medium: Oak and pine veneered with tortoiseshell, silver, silver gilt, and green-stained ivory; mirror glassAccession: 1989.20On view in:Gallery 531