John Smith (1770-1816) was a clockmaker born in Pittenweem, Fife, Scotland.
His most famous clock is in the possession of the Duke of Buccleuch. It is reported to have four dials and shows days of the week and days of the month. The clock can play eight old Scots tunes and every three hours initiates a procession where the Macer of the Lords of Council and Session appears, doffs his cap, and then leads fifteen Lords in ceremonial robes across an opening, before re-appearing and replacing his cap.
At midnight on Saturday, a plaque appears bearing the legend “Remember Sunday”. On Sunday the clock neither strikes nor processes, resuming at midnight.
John Smith of Pitenweem was a superb ingenious craftsman and his clocks generally were of the highest quality. For such a talented clockmaker to come from a small secluded fishing village in Scotland this is no mean achievement.
An advertisement is issued by himself in the year 1775, which he informs us, ” he was bred in the trade and had never been out of the country.”
JOHN SMITH OF PITTENWEEM
(ACTIVE 1770-DIED 1814)
Pedestal clock 1780 – 1800
This magnificent large-scale automaton and musical clock with three painted dials were made by John Smith, who came from the small fishing village of Pittenweem, in the East Neuk of Fife. By the late eighteenth century there was a strong tradition of clockmaking in Scotland, particularly in the larger towns and cities such as Edinburgh, Dundee, and Aberdeen, but there were few clockmakers working in Fife.
Little is known of Smith’s life; in 1775 he stated in an advertisement that ‘he was bred in the trade and had never been out of the country’.Despite the fact that Pittenweem was tucked away in a remote corner of Fife, Smith established a successful business specialising in the manufacture of clocks with highly complicated mechanisms and distinctive dials. The tradition of clockmaking in this area of Scotland continued after his death.
The main dial, on the front of the clock, shows the time and has subsidiary dials for the month, date, and day of the week, with control for music, chiming, and silence. In addition, there is a lunar phases display and a tidal dial.
The musical dial on the left side shows 16 tune titles arranged in two concentric rings, set against a background of landscape scenes. The automaton dial, on the left-hand side, shows two processions of figures, the upper one of 15 members of the royal family, the lower one a similar number of members of the household, who march every three hours across the exterior of a mansion, possibly intended to be a palace. The painting of the landscapes and other scenes has been attributed to the Edinburgh artist Alexander Nasmyth, who began his career apprenticed to a coach painter.
source: The Royal Collection Trust… Read More Here…