Astronomical Clock

Astronomical_clock,_design_by_Hans_Holbein_the_YoungerHans Holbein the Younger (c. 1497 – between 7 October and 29 November 1543)

Hans Holbein designed this clocksalt—a combination of a clock, hourglass, sundial, and compass—for Sir Anthony Denny, whose portrait he had drawn two years earlier.
A note on the drawing shows that Denny presented a clock made from this design to King Henry, who owned a number of clocks and clocksalts, as a New year’s gift. It would have been an expensive item, made of precious metals. Holbein had often designed for goldsmiths since his training in Augsburg, a centre of the goldsmiths’ trade.
Two of the notes on the sketch are in the hand of Holbein’s friend the royal astronomer Nicholas Kratzer, who probably assisted in the technical design of the piece.
Susan Foister, Holbein in England

Anthony Denny was the most prominent member of the Privy chamber in the last years of Henry VIII.
He was educated at St Paul’s School and St John’s College, Cambridge, was a member of the reformist circle that offset the conservative religious influence of Bishop Gardiner, and helped finalise Henry‘s will upon his deathbed, specifically arguing to him against the removal of Gardiner from the will.
Denny was himself the man to tell Henry of his coming death, advising the old King “to prepare for his final agony”.
Robert Hutchinson, (2006)

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. In case someone forgot to wind, forgot to tip upside down, if the sun forgot to rise, alas with a compass, one could always find their way. Thank you HH for this astrological, astronomical concoction.

  2. In case one forgot to wind, forgot to tip over, if the sun forgot to rise one could always find their way. Thank you HH for giving us this astrological, astronomical concoction.


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