The Great Clock Maker: Pierre Jacquet-Droz

Pierre Jacquet-Droz was one of the most famous craftsmen of the 18th century, specialized in the field of clockmaking, highlighting its ability to create animated figures in his creations, called automata. Among his masterpieces are a writer, a musician and an artist, currently preserved at the Museum of the history of Neuchâtel (Switzerland).

Although his family was originally from Le Locle, moved to La Chaux-de-Fonds, where it started to work. In 1758 he visited Spain, where fascinated everyone with their amazing automatons. Your clockes appeared authentic theatrical performances. One clockes most famous and admired during his stay in Spain was the famous “Pastor” a great clock that can still be admired in the Salón Gasparini of the Royal Palace of Madrid. Pierre himself, in the company of Abraham Louis Sandoz and Jacques Gevril, went to Spain to deliver the “shepherd” and other clocks to the King Fernando VI.

According to Homethodology, this astronomical clock, Louis XV style, with striking, repetition and equation of time, more than a good example in terms of their mechanical is notable for the diversity of automatons that adorn it. Your box is made of wood and sheets of gold metal embellished with inlays of carey, Pearl and asta tinged, and enriched with bronze gilt and chiseled to router applications. The upper part shows a seated Shepherd playing flute, along with a dog and a sheep. Below are two cherubs swinging.

At the bottom, below the sphere, you can see the beauty of an idyllic balcony where, a seated Lady right mark the beat with one hand and fastened with the other a score, on the left, a boy plays with a bird.

When the clock gives hours operates through ten levers automata mechanism. That’s when Showtime: the Lady moves the arms, bird began her singing, child turns towards him, and the cherubs are swinging and rotating the head. While all this happens, the Shepherd plays the flute by moving your fingers and the sound comes naturally to pass air through his throat by a system of bellows and valves. The Barking Dog moves the head and tail and sheep bullet.

In this work of art the stations are represented with allegorical signs: spring a basket of flowers, summer a sheaf of wheat, fall a bunch of grapes and winter a Brazier. All them are indicated on the inside of the sphere, over the figure VI, together with the calendar, the months, the signs of the Zodiac and the time for sunrise and sunset.

At the bottom of the sphere a concave hemisphere which simulates the skyis observed, and is enameled blue with small white clouds. At dawn the Sun appears on the left, rises over the horizon when noon comes and is hidden by the right when just the day, then, appears the moon with its translation movements and the stars.

In 1950 the Royal Palace of Madrid began the plan of restoration of this legendary clock along with others. The restoration took place in three phases and was very deep, because works like this, they represent as well historical moments in the history of this sector, have to be treated with care.