The Victoria & Albert Museum shop has some remarkably funky offerings, for a museum, and this colourful clock kit caught my eye some time ago. I’ve been semi-obsessed with it ever since.
Originally inspired by imagery on an earthenware tile by A.W.N. Pugin (Britain 1850), the kit comes with full assembly instructions and everything you need to create your very own eye-catching clock. The colourful pieces are made from recyclable polypropylene and simply slot together.
Augustus Pugin was an interesting character, and quite a brilliant architect. You’d never know it from this clock inspired by his work, but he was the interior designer for the British Houses of Parliament and heavy into gothic church architecture. You’d know his work – he designed the clock face and hands for “Big Ben” at the Palace of Westminster, London, UK.
The “Master of Gothic Revival” as he is sometimes known, suffered what biographers seem to want to call “periodic bouts of insanity” as well as failing eyesight. He died at the age of 40 after a total mental breakdown. (Isn’t it odd, how often a brilliant artistic vision goes hand in hand with mental illness? There’s a lot about the workings of the brain that we just don’t understand, clearly.)
Fortunately, Pugin’s genius lives on in his ceramics, furniture, textiles, and other interior ornamentations — and in the entire Gothic movement that was his legacy to design and décor.
Sadly, this fantasy clock kit that was inspired by Pugin’s designs is no longer in production. I haven’t even been able to find one on eBay.