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Wawel Royal Castle - HOME

Wawel Royal Castle
State Art Collection

31-001 Kraków, Wawel 5

(+48 12) 422-51-55, 422-61-21

Tourist Information:
(+48 12) 422 51 55
ext. 219

Reservations and Guide Service:
(+48 12)
422 16 97

Press contact:
(+48 12) 422 51 55
ext. 380, 341


This valuable, albeit small, collection could make a significant contribution to research into the history of clock-making. Among the clocks in Wawel there are innovative items, both in form and ornamentation, and in the construction of mechanisms, assembled in leading clock-making centres.
Portable clocks from the end of the 16th c and the 17th c. are of particular importance. They were made in the Polish Republic, in Gdańsk, Toruń, Vilnius and Lublin, and also in France and Germanic countries. Among them there are numerous tile clocks with a horizontal mechanism, encased in beautifully decorated, polygonal boxes, extremely popular for two centuries, until the late 18th c., and several tower clocks, copying the architectural structure of church towers. The Wawel collection also includes rarer artistic creations with complicated cases for clock mechanisms, resulting from the artist’s creativity and the client’s taste. This group includes a monstrance clock and an urn or vase-shaped clock.
The 18th and 19th c. are represented by more varied timepieces. The castle collection boasts round travel clocks, with protective cases, also known as carriage clocks, as well as an English long-case clock, with a mechanism which moves the figures of dancers, French clocks, or cartels, pendulum clocks, on the hanging console, in cases decorated with marquetry or coloured horn plates, Dutch and English grandfather clocks, or various mantel clocks, frequently with allegorical figural composition, popular in the 18th and 19th c. There is also a small collection of pocket watches, mainly from Antoine Patek’s Swiss workshop, collected because of the decoration appealing to patriotic feelings about Polish history.
Zoom in - Vase table clock.
Vase table clock.
VASE TABLE CLOCK. Germany, Augsburg, David Fronmiller (1546- c. 1618), end of the 16th c. With the maker’s signature (DF) and the town emblem (Augsburg cone). Gilt brass case, spindle mechanism. An original vase-shaped clock with S-shaped handles, a lid with cut openings through which the time can be read on a face at the top of the vessel.
Zoom in - Tile table clock.
Tile table clock.
TILE TABLE CLOCK. Poland, Gdańsk, Simon Ginter (recorded in Gdańsk from 1650), second half of the 17th c.
Gilt brass, spindle mechanism, it strikes hours and quarters, and has an alarm function. On the face there are phases of the moon, sings of the Zodiac, sunrise and sunset, months, and day and night lengths. It is decorated with mythological scenes rarely used in Polish clocks (history of Zeus and Io and Pan and Syrinx), based on Bernard Salomon’s or Virgil Solis’s sketches, illustrating Ovid’s Metamorphoses.
Zoom in - Monstrance table clock.
Monstrance table clock.
MONSTRANCE TABLE CLOCK.  Poland, Toruń, Lorentz Wolbrecht (recorded in Toruń 1662-1684), 3rd quarter of the 18th c. A two-part clock with an unusual shape: combined with a tower clock, spindle mechanisms in both clocks. Elements of the face: phases of the moon, days and months, day and night lengths, sunrise and sunset, and house of the sun in the Zodiac. According to the Cieński family tradition, the clock was won at Vienna, or, more probably, Sieradz ensign, Marcin Cieński, a Hussar banner leader, had it with him during the 1683 campaign. The clock was immortalized by Jan Matejko in the Sobieski at Vienna painting.

Zoom in - Hanging clock– cartel.
Hanging clock– cartel.
HANGING CLOCK– CARTEL. France, Paris, Gille Pierre I François, known as Gille l`Aîné (c.1690-1765), 1746-1749. Gilt bronze, china, spindle mechanism and a pendulum. With the signature of the creator of the clock spring (Buzot 1749) and the hallmark of luxury gilt bronze products. Gille l`Aîné, who signed the clock, was a member of a well-known Parisian clock-making family; his clients included August II of Saxony and count Henry Brühl, minister to August III of Saxony.
Zoom in - Carriage clock.
Carriage clock.
CARRIAGE CLOCK. Germany, Friedberg, Sebastian Bauman (1729-1805), the case decorated by Friedrich Christian Langpaur (signed FCL), 1760-1790. Silver case, spindle mechanism, an alarm and a repeater. On the back of the case there are three-dimensional representations of Fortune, Mercury, and Athena with Medusa’s head. According to oral tradition it was a gift from king Stanisław August Poniatowski to general Arnold Byszewski, a royal adjutant.
Stanisława Link-Lenczowska