Saturday, 12 August 2017

Aqua Horological Tintinnabulator

The Victoria Centre clock is a Nottingham landmark, and has been since its installation in 1973. A kinetic sculpture as much as a timepiece, its central bronze sunflower opens every fifteen minutes to reveal an animal orchestra.

The clock was created by Rowland Emett. A cartoonist for Punch, he also brought his ideas to three-dimensional life in a series of sculptures (or as he called them, 'Things'). Among his most celebrated work was the Far Tottering and Oyster Creek Branch Railway at the 1951 Festival of Britain.

There are few surviving examples of Emett's work on public display in Britain. That makes the Victoria Centre clock all the more important, but at some point it ceased to work. Thanks to the efforts of Pete Dexter, a local engineer, and the Rowland Emett Society, refurbishment was carried out and completed in 2015. The clock, or aqua horological tintinnabulator, is now delighting shoppers once more.


Ralph Hancock said...

Pleasing that the Emett clock has been repaired. Tim Hunkin also built a water-powered clock which was installed on the wall above the gatewat to Neal's Yard in Covent Garden, and included ingenious animated figures all powered by water. But this stopped working and has not been repaired.

I travelled on Emett's railway at the Festival of Britain when I was little, and was fascinated by its picturesque wonkiness.

HughB said...

TIM Hunkin's water clock has been repaired and installed on Southwold pier, and was in fine fettle when we visited a couple of years ago, though the clock mechanism is now apparently electrically driven. Various other of his ingenious and imaginative devices are also in evidence, including a dog-walking machine with a lovable protagonist.

HughB said...

Aha! Found the dog!

CarolineLD said...

Ralph, I'm envious - the railway looked great fun!

It's such a shame when these clocks aren't repaired. There's one near the Pompidou Centre in Paris which is permanently en panne, disappointing every time I go past.

Hugh, I don't know that clock (or Southwold) but it sounds worth a visit. The dog also looks fab!

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