San Marco clock tower model to make $1m?

A model of the clock tower in Venice’s Piazza San Marco will star in Sotheby’s July 5 Treasures auction in London.

The piece is constructed from gilt and painted copper, and is a faithful rendition of the original, which still stands today.

San Marco clock

This clock is a faithful rendition of the original 

The original clock tower was commissioned by a wealthy Italian family and constructed in the late 15th century.

It features a pair of automata at the top (known as ‘the Moors’) that strike the hours.

So complex were the clock’s workings, that its designers (father and son Zuan Paolo and Zuan Carlo Ranieri) were required to live next door in order to ensure it remained in full working order.

After both men died, the clock fell into disrepair until its restoration in the 1750s.

This model was built in the late 18th or early 19th century.  

While the maker is unknown, they were clearly an extraordinary talent with a deep knowledge of the clock tower’s fiendishly complex mechanism.

Sotheby’s comments: “Of monumental proportions and, to our knowledge, a unique model of this most famous Venetian landmark, this exceptional, functioning model is a tribute to the architectural and horological innovation of early Renaissance Italy.”

It’s estimated at £600,000-800,000 ($778,740-1m).

There’s also a 17th century suit of north Italian gilt armour, offered with a valuation of £300,000-500,000 ($383,706-639,510).

It looks to have been designed for use in combat rather than in a tournament setting.

Gunpowder was a real threat on the battlefield in the early 1600s and the chest plate has clearly been tested against both pistols and muskets.

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