Lantern clock by William Bowyer


British Museum

British Museum
London, United Kingdom

In the sixteenth century, the wall-mounted, weight-driven chamber clock became common in the Low Countries (Holland and Flanders). The design was taken up in England and popularised in the form of clock now known as the 'lantern clock'. The style lasted almost unchanged for more than 150 years. This type of clock is designed to hang on a hook high up on the wall and strike the hours on a large bell, mounted at the top of the clock. The bell could be heard all over the house. The dial on this clock has a prominent chapter ring with large numerals and a single hand to show the hours and quarters. Mounted on the outside of the back plate is a small weight-driven alarm mechanism, which is set by turning a small dial in the middle of the main dial. William Bowyer lived in Leadenhall Street in the City of London and is thought to have been a member of the Joiners' Company. In 1632, however, he was a founder member of the Clockmakers' Company. He became Assistant in 1651 and Warden in 1653. Bowyer died in about 1653.


  • Title: Lantern clock by William Bowyer
  • Date Created: 1625/1635
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 43.90cm; Width: 14.80cm; Depth: 14.70cm
  • External Link: British Museum collection online
  • Registration number: 1958,1006.2094
  • Production place: Made in London
  • Producer: Made by Bowyer, William
  • Material: brass
  • Copyright: Photo: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • Acquisition: Donated by Edgar, Gilbert. Previous owner/ex-collection Ilbert, Courtenay Adrian. Previous owner/ex-collection Iden, W J. Previous owner/ex-collection Robertson, J Drummond

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