Thursday, November 1, 2018

Memento-Mori Watch

The watch of Mary Queen of Scots, c. 16th Century. This Memento-Mori watch presented to Mary Queen of Scots by her attendant Mary Seaton, is from the 16th century. The forehead of the skull is engraved with a figure of death between a palace and a cottage, and a quotation in Latin, “pale death visits with impartial foot the cottages of the poor and castles of the rich”. The skull is held upside down and the jaw lifted to read the silver dial. The hour is struck on a bell. Made by Moyant A. Blois (1570-90). The skull is silver gilt and engraved with figures of death with his scythe and hourglass, Adam and Eve and the crucifixion. The lower part of the skull is pierced to emit the sound when it strikes. The works occupy the brain’s position in the skull fitting into a silver bell which fills the entire hollow of the skull. The hours are struck on this bell by a small hammer.

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