Floor standing Vienna regulator or Biedermeier clock

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Project by madburg posted 02-29-2016 09:24 AM 1801 views 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Biedermeier Floor Clock

This was the first longcase clock I made, and was a commission from my sister in law. Its design is influenced by the Biedermeier period. It is made from solid cherry with cross-banding and maple stringing applied to the frames to accentuate them. The base and back panel are marine ply veneered in cherry with maple stringing.

Its a very simple yet elegant clock with a top of the range Keininger Westminster chime movement that has a second beating pendulum – absolutely gorgeous. Surprisingly easy to make except for the curved hood.

If you want to know more about Biedermeier then read the following article that I did for my sister-in-law to go with her clock.

Thanks for looking.

Biedermeier, was applied at first in a joking way to a period of European culture. It was applied to a style of furniture, decoration, and art originating in Germany early in the 19th cent. It was especially popular there and also in Austria. It is believed to have been named for the worthy, bourgeois-minded “Papa Biedermeier,” a humorous character featured in a series of verses by Ludwig Eichrodt, published in Fliegende Blätter. The Biedermeier period found expression in comfortable, homelike furnishings, simple in design and inexpensive in material, fitting the requirements of the German people in a time of little wealth following the Napoleonic Wars. Although the best Biedermeier furniture was produced between 1820 and 1830, the period is regarded as extending from 1815 to 1848.

Biedermeier designs were simplified forms of the French Empire and Directoire styles and of some 18th-century English styles, and were often elegant in their utilitarian simplicity. Later pieces, however, were frequently clumsy and tasteless. Waltraud Heindl tells us in Schubert’s Vienna, “Biedermeier furniture was characterized by simple, graceful, curving lines as opposed to, on the one hand, the straight-line neoclassicism and antique motifs of Empire furniture and, on the other, the baroque or gothic elements found in the historicist style.” In time, Biedermeier developed into a description of art, architecture, and eventually, a social phenomenon centered on the family and private life (as Gerbert Frodl maintained it was, “an attitude toward life – a lifestyle rather than an artistic style like classicism or baroque.”). It is interesting to note the term Biedermeier originally carried with it negative connotations. At their best, cabinets and other large pieces are handsome and severe in line and surface. Chairs and sofas show curved lines, frequently graceful, but sometimes exaggerated into swellings and contortions. Light-colored native fruitwoods were typically used, with contrasting bands of black lacquer often effectively substituted for the costly ebony of Empire pieces. Painted decorations reminiscent of peasant types were common. The furniture style regained popularity in the latter part of the 20th cent. and, in its stylized simplicity, has been cited as a forerunner of art deco, Bauhaus , and other modern styles of design. In painting, the preference during the Biedermeier period was for cheerful and detailed landscapes, historical subjects, and genre scenes. Artists of the era include Moritz von Schwind , Karl Spitzweg , Franz Krüger, and Ferdinand Waldmüller.

Have a look at: for other furniture.

The Cause of the Biedermeier Period
The onset of the Biedermeier period in Vienna was almost exclusively determined by external circumstances. In an effort to avoid a repeat of the French revolution, the now re-established monarchies of Europe reigned with steel-fisted precision and secret intelligence agencies. The counterrevolutionary practices of Emperor Francis and his minister of state, Matternich, reached legendary proportions. Lodges, clubs, and societies were shut down; members were imprisoned. This effectively forced people from the coffee houses and meeting halls into the privacy of their homes. Heindl tells us, “The world outside was politically dangerous, so private life, home, and social contacts were restricted to a circle of true and reliable friends.”

It was this distinction of focus that separated Biedermeier from High Romanticism. In the Romantic, individuals were concerned with themselves and their own experience. The Biedermeier brought a shift of focus to relationships. Deep and meaningful friendships took on a significant importance that had hitherto been neglected. It is these satisfying friendships we see Schubert engage in over the course of his short lifetime.

Biedermeier Style
The defensive roots of Biedermeier were also visible in architecture; houses were drawn back from the street, signifying a far more private existence than had existed decades before. Art was severely affected as Metternich acted as the president of the Vienna Academy of Fine Art. Only works that were positive to the Viennese culture and society were allowed, causing an abundance of family portraits, landscapes, and still-life’s to come about by default [they were the only things permitted!]. Among artists, men such as Peter Fendi, a master of watercolors, rose to prominence.

The Social Class of the Biedermeier Period
The Biedermeier culture was primarily a middle-class phenomenon. Unlike the French, the German aristocracy and administrative / middle classes did not mix. This goes a great deal in explaining how Beethoven and Schubert managed to live and work in Vienna at the same time without ever running into one another.
Much of the Biedermeier was the middle class attempting to emulate the nobility. The emphasis on family life was an emulation of the royal family of Austria. The newly designed furniture style previously mentioned, allowed an up and coming administrator or professional to feel as if they were really “making it”. Salons were opened by the middle class women, who demonstrated their education and social talents. Friends, family and other middle-class music lovers were invited into intimate social gatherings where lieder and art songs were performed by amateurs in the home.

The Biederemeier Culture Die schöne Müllerin (The Beautiful Miller)
These factors make it easy to understand why Schubert became a central figure in the Biedermeier lifestyle. Schubert’s setting of Müller’s Die schöne Müllerin is particularly representative of this Biedermeier culture. In the cycle, the miller sets out on a journey of self-discovery that ends with him ending his life after failing to attain domestic happiness with the woman he loves.

Throughout the cycle, nature is constantly invoked as a source of wisdom and power. Is domestic bliss with the Müllerin to be the miller’s? Only the brook knows! The flowers take on importance throughout the work in addition to being an entire school in the Biedermeier art world.

In the third song, Halt!, we see the miller’s “conflicting desires… [to] both roam beyond one’s limits and to put down roots”. These two choices were at the heart of the Romantic and Biedermeier movements. We quickly find out that the miller opts to put down his domestic roots. In Danksagung an den Bach, we discover the miller is not a true romantic, in that he dares to claim he has “found” what he is looking for in the miller maid.
One of the most striking examples of the Biedermeier influence on the Müller text is found in Der Jäger (The Hunter). The miller sees the hunter as a source of domestic ruin; “Then stay in the woods, you arrogant hunter, and leave me alone with my three mill-wheels”. The main character sees the hunter as the destruction of his dreams of his potential domestic bliss. This feeling of hostility and is carried further in Eifersucht und Stolz(Jealousy and Pride) when the miller tells the brook, “he is on my banks, carving a reed whistle and playing lovely songs and dances for the children.”musical culture, but was largely composing music for the concert hall. Schubert was composing songs to be performed in the home, which could be enjoyed by amateurs and professionals alike.
The Müller text was something with which the Austrian people could understand and empathize. Even today, the listener personally connects with the miller’s desire for tranquility and family life, which may help explain why the song cycle continues to be a staple of performance repertoire nearly two hundred years after it was written.

Thought you’d like to know all this!!

-- Madburg WA

7 comments so far

View shipwright's profile


8573 posts in 3608 days

#1 posted 02-29-2016 02:05 PM

Nice work.
Great expalnation of the period.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View BurlyBob's profile


7725 posts in 3075 days

#2 posted 02-29-2016 02:10 PM

Another wonderful display of your workmanship. Simply beautiful.

View jaguar1201's profile


22 posts in 1678 days

#3 posted 03-01-2016 03:52 AM

This is simply marvelous. I am in awe everytime I view another clock of your creation. Top grade all the way. Thank you also for adding to my history knowledge of the Biedermeier period.
Enrico Caruso

-- Enrico, Stow OHIO

View Jim Sellers's profile

Jim Sellers

489 posts in 3144 days

#4 posted 03-01-2016 02:35 PM

Excellent craftsmanship and interesting history lesson. Thanks for sharing.

-- J.C.Sellers, Norcross, Ga. Just cut it right the first time. The best carpenters make the fewest chips.

View Mean_Dean's profile


7048 posts in 3957 days

#5 posted 03-01-2016 05:14 PM

Absolutely beautiful clock! I’m just going to sit here and admire it for awhile!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View RogerBean's profile


1605 posts in 3763 days

#6 posted 03-02-2016 10:33 PM

Late to the party here, as I’ve been out of town without my LJ password for my iPad. So better late than never. Another spectacular clock. And great background information as well. Much appreciated from someone who is just learning about period clocks. Your work is superb.

-- "Everybody makes mistakes. A craftsman always fixes them." (Monty Kennedy, "The Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks", 1952)

View Druid's profile


2205 posts in 3605 days

#7 posted 03-06-2016 11:11 PM

Beautiful timepiece Martin, and the added information is like having a mini-course. Thanks.

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

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