A somewhat curious exhibit, the Peacock Clock is sure to catch the eye, it is designed in the shape of a large peacock perched on a tall oak-tree stump with two spreading branches. This stump stands on a round base. A cage with little bells and an owl of oxidized silver are suspended from one of the branches by a cord; below the cage there is a squirrel nibbling a nut. One the other side, the peacock is flanked by a small stump with a life-size cockerel on it. In the foreground are representations of mushrooms, leaves, acorns, and even a pumpkin; a closer look will disclose snails and lizards and two squirrels in the branches. There is a small aperture with two rows of numerals, Roman and Arabic, in the cap of the largest mushroom, and above it sits a barely discernible grasshopper.
The clock was made in London by the famous English watchmaker and jeweler, James Cox, and was purchased from him as a gift for Empress Catherine the Great by Prince Grigory Potyomkin, her favorite.
When the clock is wound up, all the figure move on the hour; first the owl turns its head, rolls its eyes and stamps its foot. Meanwhile the cage revolves and the little bells in it tinkle melodiously. When the tinkling ceases, the peacock spreads its tail feathers, turns to display its plumage, and gracefully bows its head. Finally the cockerel springs into action, arching its neck, opening its beak, and crowing.
The dial with two rotating disks can be seen in the large mushroom cap. The Roman numerals indicate the hours, the Arabic, the minutes, while the jumping grasshopper ticks off the seconds. When fully wound, the mechanism, which is in good working order, keeps the clock running for a fortnight.