About the authors
ELIZABETH KING is a sculptor whose work reflects her interests in early clockwork automata, the history of the mannequin and the puppet, and literature’s legends of artificial figures that come to life. A 2002-03 Guggenheim Fellow, she is represented by Danese/Corey in New York. Her work is in permanent collections in the Hirshhorn Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Images can be seen on the web at thesizesofthings.com. A recent show of her work, “Radical Small,” was on view at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) from February 2017 through January 2018. She taught in the Department of Sculpture and Extended Media at Virginia Commonwealth University from 1985 to 2015. Her first book Attention’s Loop (A Sculptor’s Reverie on the Coexistence of Substance and Spirit) was published by Harry N. Abrams in 1999. Her prior essays on the monk include “Perpetual Devotion: A Sixteenth-Century Machine That Prays” in Genesis Redux: Essays on the History and Philosophy of Artificial Life, (2007) and “Clockwork Prayer: A Sixteenth-Century Mechanical Monk” in Blackbird: An Online Journal of Literature and the Arts (2002).
W. DAVID TODD has been a practicing clockmaker since the late 1960s. Trained in his native England, he is an expert on sixteenth- to eighteenth-century English, European and American clockwork. From 1978 to 2006 he was Conservator of Timekeeping at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of History and Technology (now the National Museum of American History). One of his first tasks at the Smithsonian was to examine the newly acquired automaton friar, which he cared for and kept running for the next thirty years. He has conserved and restored some of the world's finest early clocks and automata and has contributed essays on clockwork to exhibition catalogues and professional journals. He holds the rank of Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers (London), a craft guild chartered by King Charles I in 1631.
ROSAMOND PURCELL is a photographer known for her work in natural history collections and for her recreation of the seventeenth-century Danish museum of Ole Worm. Her books include Egg & Nest, Bookworm, and (with Ricky Jay) Dice: Deception, Fate and Rotten Luck. She is the author of Owls Head: On the Nature of Lost Things, a biography of a junkyard. A documentary film by Molly Bernstein, “An Art that Nature Makes: The Work of Rosamond Purcell,” premiered in the U.S. in 2016.