Grand orrery


George Adams

London, between 1752 and 1757

Wood, partly polychromed, brass, bronze, gilded, iron

H. 92 cm

Assigned from the Royal Collections of the House of Wittelsbach

Inv. No. R 3815.1

Gallery 46

Clocks and Scientific Instruments

Baroque and Rococo


This is the largest orrery to enter into serial production in the 18th century and is the only one of its kind in a German museum. It illustrates the course of the then known planets Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn around the Sun. Earth, Jupiter and Saturn are also accompanied by their moons. The planets move on individual rotating discs on which the orbital periods are also indicated. The orrery was driven by clockwork, but could also be sped up with a crank. The Elector Palatine Karl Theodor acquired the precious instrument for the court library of his the newly built Mannheim Palace.

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