Martinus Hyllius, Dresda, Height 310 mm, circa 1655
A Dresden figure clock with hour strike of museum quality, "Virgin Mary with Mandorla" Case: bronze, firegilt, chased, moulded ebony base, rear bell. Dial: silvered crown with revolving circlet and engraved hours. Movm.: rectangular brass full-plate movement, brass train, signed, chain/fusee for going train, barrel for strike, locking plate, 1 hammer, ratchet wheel set up with blued steel spring, verge escapement.
The cover plate of the polygonal, moulded ebony base on bun feet is engraved with a checkered pattern. The plate supports the exquisitely engraved firegilt bronze figure of the Madonna with child. She carries baby Jesus in her left arm and is surrounded by a mandorla of flames. The Madonna wears a crown with a revolving circlet with the hours engraved. Time is indicated through a scepter in her right hand.
Martin Hillius (or Hillig / Hyllius) Hillius was a watchmaker journeyman from Nieder-Finow in the Markgraviate of Brandenburg who probably came to Dresden in 1653 and found employment with the widow of master watchmaker Andreas Müller, Margarethe Müller; Andreas Müller, who was buried on the day of Candlemas in the year 1653, had been watchmaker and chamberlain to the court.
When journeyman Paul Drechsler from Dörrendorf near Preßnitz wanted to settle in Dresden after his time on the road, he got into a dispute with the united guild of metalworkers, spurs makers, wire makers, gunsmiths and clockmakers because they demanded that he - according to the laws of the guild - presented a masterpiece before he could set up his own workshop. The town council was not able to settle this disagreement and the matter was taken to the Elector Johann Georg I. Paul Drechsler insisted that the watchmakers should have their own guild; for that he needed at least two fellow watchmakers to support him. Martin Hillius signed this petition March 2, 1655.
Early in 1657 the Electort Johann Geog II ratified the constitution of the new watchmakers‘ guild, which consisted on 35 individual paragraphs. On March 9, 1668 this new guild for watchmakers was established - the first of its kind in Germany.
From the guild book on February 11, 1668, dep. 3, p. 1: In the name of the Holy Trinity In June of the year 1668 Mr. Martin Hillius has presented his masterpieces which were inspected by the guild and was made a master.
Martin Hillius trained nine apprentices, of which seven had already completed an apprenticeship in a related trade. Most of them would become masters themselves and be known as fine makers whose work is today exhibited in the most important museums of the workd. Martin Hillius died late in 1694; he had held the position of maker and chamberlain of the arts to the court and had been the first master of the newly founded guild, which existed in this form until 1899.
Our sincere thanks to the municipal archive in Dresden and Mr. Bernd Schaarschmidt for this scientific research.
Estimate 22,000 - 35,000 €
Price Realised 33,800 €
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