Video: A musical automaton clock

2006am6849_musical_automaton_clock.jpg

Musical automata were particularly admired in the late 18th century. Most of these exotic time-pieces, where the measurement of time was only one feature of the item, were made for the eastern market, principally Turkey, China and India. This musical clock by William Carpenter offered a choice of six tunes - two dances, two jigs, a song and a march.

The figures in 18th century costume are mounted on the clock hold bells, whilst the standing figures chime the quarters and strike the hours; the seated figures play the tunes on bells below their feet.

William Carpenter worked in Soho from about 1770 until 1805. He specialised in musical automatic clocks and examples of his work are to be found in Chinese museums.

Watch and listen to the video below as the musical automaton clock from the British Galleries goes through its performance.

View transcript of video

International Training Course

The Victoria and Albert Museum welcomes applications for ‘Creating Innovative Learning Programmes’, its new one week intensive course. This is a unique training opportunity for museum professionals from overseas who are interested in attracting and programming for a range of museum audiences.

Find out more

Shop online

David Starkey's Music and Monarchy (Hardcover)

David Starkey's Music and Monarchy (Hardcover)

For the kings and queens of England, a trumpet fanfare or crash of cymbals could be as vital a weapon as a cannon. Showcasing a monarch's power, prest…

Buy now

Event - Marianne Faithfull

Mon 01 December 2014 19:00

Marianne Faithfull emerged as one of the most original songwriters this country has ever produced.

Book online