Tabernacle Night Clock



  • Rome, late 17th c.
  • 68 cm x 20 cm x 45 cm

This clock belongs to a group of night clocks invented in 1656 by the Campani brothers from the Spoleto region during their work in Rome. These notturni were commissioned by the Pope Alexander VII (1655-1667), and were shaped like tabernacles from which they also got their name. Their mechanisms were very silent, and inside the casing at the back they had a small space for an oil lamp enclosed with sheet metal and provided with an opening for letting out smoke at the top. When lit at night the lamp illuminates the perforated Roman digits at the front decorative copper plate. These clock faces were frequently decorated with allegorical paintings made by renowned late-baroque painters. Among the well-known artists who painted dials is also Carlo Maratta. Our exhibit features a fine picture of Adonis' death painted in imitation of Maratta's style. The dial at the top of the clock has the shape of a lunette marked with numbers designating hours. It features a moving sun; the place at which it stops also indicates minutes (marked at the top edge of the arch). The casing is made of ebonized walnut wood and the clockwork mechanisms is provided with a silent lever.


Copyright MDC & Carnet
design NOVENA, Zagreb