David Roentgen: Longcase Clock
David Roentgen (German, 1743–1807)
Oak, veneered with maple, burl woods, holly, hornbeam (all partially stained), and other woods; mother-of-pearl; gilt bronze and brass
122 1/2 x 27 x 16 in. (311.2 x 68.6 x 40.6 cm)
Gift of Mrs. Edgar Worch, in memory of her husband, 1975 (1975.101)
The case recalls prototypes published in Thomas Chippendale's Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker's Director, attesting to the English influence on the Roentgens' designs. Below the main clock dial are the signs of the zodiac and the phases of the moon. The ring of auxiliary dials indicates the most important cities of the day (clockwise): Philadelphia. / Mexico. / Peking. / Hispahan. / Cas=Bon=Spei. [Cape of Good Hope] / Cairo. / Rom. / Lisabon. / Londen. / St. Petersburg. Philadelphia, where the Declaration of Independence would be adopted on July 4, 1776, was known worldwide for its importance as a harbor and trading center. At the sides of the dial plate are gilt-bronze leaf-and-berry swags interlaced with whimsical palm sprays. The marquetry on the front depicts a garden scene. The clock could be the one that Duke Charles Alexander of Lorraine returned to David Roentgen as partial payment for his secretary cabinet in 1776. Inside were a miniature organ and a dulcimer (now lost).