Walker Artwork of the Month – March , 2006
‘Astronomical Clock’, by Thomas Barry and James Moorcroft
Free gallery talks Tuesday 7 and Thursday 30 March, 1pm, Room 7
About the artwork
The clock has three dials on different faces. The first gives the time and the phases of the moon, and has shutters in the arch above showing the varying length of day and night. The second face gives the date in the form of a perpetual calendar, with automatic adjustments for leap years. Above it is a dial giving the movements of the principal stars. The third face shows the orbits of the moon and the six planets then known.
This extraordinary clock shows the ambition and technological expertise of the South-West Lancashire horological industry in the late 18th century. No other clock of equal merit is known to survive. An Astronomical clock at this period represented the summit of achievement as it was a combination of scientific and artistic challenges