George Pyke’s Musical Clock
Made in 1765 by royal clockmaker George Pyke, the clock’s stunningly crafted face is framed with gilt depictions of classical gods and muses.
1 min read

Clocks talk will turn back time at Temple Newsam

For Eighteenth Century aristocrats, having an impressive ornamental timepiece to help you while away the hours was the ultimate status symbol.

Now centuries later those magnificent decorative clocks give visitors to Temple Newsam House an insight into how lords and ladies passed the time in an historic country mansion.

And on September 30, the beautiful house will host a special talk exploring the history of timekeeping against the lavish backdrop of the Tudor Jacobean stately home and its spectacular collection.

Rachel Rich, senior lecturer at Leeds Beckett University will deliver the talk entitled Telling Time in Eighteenth-Century England, and will look at how clocks have reflected changing attitudes towards time and time management inside the home.

Among the clocks on display at Temple Newsam is the imposing, eight foot tall Pyke Clock, which legend has it once belonged to Queen Marie Antoinette of France and later the Duke of Buckingham.

Made in 1765 by royal clockmaker George Pyke, the clock’s stunningly crafted face is framed with gilt depictions of classical gods and muses.

Whenever the clock chimes, it plays one of eight melodies and figurines and characters on the face come to life.

Rachel Conroy, curator at Temple Newsam House said:

“The artistry and craftsmanship evident in our beautiful collection of clocks is testament to the important role that timekeeping played in the pre-digital age.

“Having an attractive and accurate timepiece was both a status symbol and important part of managing your day, so a clock like The Pyke Clock would be both a beautiful conversation piece and a practical cornerstone of the house’s busy routine.”

Next week’s talk is part of a series at the house and will be followed on October 14 at 2pm by Charlotte Johnson and Hanne Faurby of London’s Victoria and Albert Museum.

Their talk entitled An Eye for Design will introduce Rosalinde Gilbert, a fashion designer working in wartime London.

Councillor Brian Selby, Leeds City Council’s lead member for museums and galleries said:

“Walking around Temple Newsam House, looking at the beautiful collection of antiques and hearing the incredible Pyke Clock strike, it’s easy to imagine what life was like for the people who lived here and for whom these clocks were such an important part of their everyday lives.

“We’re extremely fortunate to have such a stunning attraction in Leeds with such strong links to our local heritage and with so many amazing stories to tell.”

Talks are free with normal admission to the house which is valid all day and is priced at £6 for adults and £4.80 for Leeds Card holders.

Book via eventbrite or by calling 0113 3367461 or email

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