Exhibitions/ Art Object

Automaton clock in the form of a lion

Clockmaker: Karl Schmidt (German, ca. 1590–1635/36, working 1614)
ca. 1620–35
German, Augsburg
Case: gilded brass and gilded silver on a base of ebony, and ebony veneered on fruitwood; Dial: silvered brass; Movement: iron and brass
Overall: 13 1/2 × 8 × 5 1/2 in. (34.3 × 20.3 × 14 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Mrs. Simon Guggenheim, 1929
Accession Number:
Not on view
The rampant lion, an animal with strong heraldic connotations, must have been a successful model for several types of automata, to judge from the number of surviving examples. The eyes and mouth of this automaton are set in motion when the clock strikes the hour. The piece was in use long enough to have been fitted with a short pendulum sometime after its invention in the second half of the seventeenth century.
Signature: Signed below dial: Carol Schmidt
Mrs. Simon Guggenheim (until 1929; to MMA)
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