The J. Paul Getty Museum

Planisphere Clock (Pendule à planisphère)

Object Details


Planisphere Clock (Pendule à planisphère)


Movement by Alexandre Fortier (French, about 1700 - 1770)

and case attributed to Jean-Pierre Latz (French, about 1691 - 1754)




Paris, France (Place Created)


about 1745–1749


Oak veneered with kingwood; silvered brass; gilt-bronze mounts, glass; gilt paper

Object Number:



281.9 × 94 × 38.1 cm (111 × 37 × 15 in.)

See more

See less

Object Description

This elaborate timepiece demonstrates the level of astronomical knowledge of eighteenth-century French scientists. The large main dial is composed of overlapping circular plates and three hands that indicate the time with a twenty-four hour chapter ring, the months of the year and their zodiacal signs, the days of the lunar month, and the local time in various cities and parts of the world, including La Californie. The four smaller dials grouped above show the phases of the moon, a tidal calendar for the ports of Northern France, the days of the week, and the times of the eclipses of Jupiter's first moon, Io. On the top of the case, a gilt-wood orrery shows the relative positions and motions of bodies in the solar system.

Very few such elaborate clocks have survived to the present. Unfortunately this clock is no longer in working condition as the movement is entirely missing.

The Grand Gallery: An Important International Exhibition presented by C.I.N.O.A. (October 19, 1974 to January 5, 1975)
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), October 19, 1974 to January 5, 1975
Paris: Life & Luxury (April 26, 2011 to January 2, 2012)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), April 26 to August 7, 2011
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, September 18, 2011 to January 2, 2012

"The Grand Gallery." Connoisseur (October 1974), p. 122.

Wilson, Gillian. "The J. Paul Getty Museum: 6ème partie: Les Meubles Baroques." Connaissance des Arts 279 (May 1975), p. 110.

Hunter, Penelope, and Gerald G. Stiebel, eds. The Grand Gallery at the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Sixth International Exhibition (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, with Hennage Creative Printers, 1975), p. 50, no. 44.

Frel, Jiri, Burton B. Fredericksen, and Gillian Wilson. The J. Paul Getty Museum Guidebook. 3rd ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1975), pp. 76-77.

Frel, Jiri, Burton Fredericksen, and Gillian Wilson. The J. Paul Getty Museum Guidebook. Rev. ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1976), p. 82.

Wilson, Gillian. Decorative Arts in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1977), p. 40, no. 51.

Fredericksen, Burton B., Jiří Frel, and Gillian Wilson. Guidebook: The J. Paul Getty Museum. 4th ed. Sandra Morgan, ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1978), p. 107.

Miller, Carole Ann Lyons. "Clockwise Special Report: The J. Paul Getty Museum." Clockwise (August 1979), pp. 15-21, fig. 7.

Wilson, Gillian. Selections from the Decorative Arts in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1983), pp. 36-37, no. 18.

Sassoon, Adrian, and Gillian Wilson. Decorative Arts: A Handbook of the Collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1986), p. 40, no. 86.

Verlet, Pierre. Les Bronzes dorés français du XVIIIe siècle (Paris: Picard Éditeur, 1987), p. 115, fig. 144.

Bremer-David, Charissa, et al. Decorative Arts: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue of the Collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1993), pp. 88-89, no. 138.

Wilson, Gillian, et al. European Clocks in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1996), pp. 92-101, no. 13.

Augarde, Jean-Dominique. Les Ouvriers du Temps, La Pendule à Paris de Louis XIV à Napoléon Ier (Geneva: Antiquorum Editions, 1996), pp. 228-29, pl. 182.

Bremer-David, Charissa, ed. Paris: Life & Luxury in the Eighteenth Century, exh. cat. (Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2011), pp. 20-21, fig. 10, p. 33 (detail), p. 119, no. 19.