Precision and Splendor: Clocks and Watches at The Frick Collection

mantel clock in gilt bronze, flanked by with figures bronze figures with books representing Study and Philosophy

Today the question "What time is it?" is quickly answered by looking at any number of devices around us, from watches to phones to computers. For millennia, however, determining the correct time was not so simple. In fact, it was not until the late thirteenth century that the first mechanical clocks were made, slowly replacing sundials and water clocks. It would take several hundred years before mechanical timekeepers became reliable and accurate. This exhibition explores the discoveries and innovations made in the field of horology from the early sixteenth to the nineteenth century. The exhibition, to be shown in the new Portico Gallery, features eleven clocks and fourteen watches from the Winthrop Kellogg Edey bequest, along with five clocks lent by the collector Horace Wood Brock that have never before been seen in New York City. Together, these objects chronicle the evolution over the centuries of more accurate and complex timekeepers and illustrate the aesthetic developments that reflected Europe's latest styles. Precision and Splendor: Clocks and Watches at The Frick Collection was organized by Charlotte Vignon, Associate Curator of Decorative Arts, The Frick Collection. Support for the exhibition is generously provided by The Selz Foundation, Peter and Gail Goltra, and the David Berg Foundation.


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