Diptych dial

Diptych dial for latitudes 0°-80° North for the equinoctial dial (53° North for the horizontal dial). This dial consists of two leaves that fold flat when not in use. Leaf Ia is that of a standard equinoctial dial (see related terms) and carries a table of latitudes for places in Europe. At the top of Leaf Ib is a dial showing Italian and Babylonian hours, below which is a vertical dial and the rest of the equinoctial dial. On the right hand side is a degree scale for use with the equinoctial dial. Leaf IIa is as standard except for an hour scale laid out for latitude 53° North. The compass is marked with eight winds named in Italian and is offset 10° East of North to allow for magnetic variation.

There is a single dial for Italian and Babylonian hours with a brass gnomon. A string gnomon for use with the main horizontal and vertical dials is attached between the inner surfaces of the two leaves. The leaf is signed 'ANNO 1556 HIERONIMVS REINMAN NORENBERGE FACIEBAT'. Leaf IIb is bare apart from the crown stamp that is Reinmann's maker's mark and a 'N' mark for Nuremberg for approved quality.

This dial is in very good condition with some remaining gold gilt in the decorative features. It is typical of Hieronymus Reinmann's work - see AST460. The inclusion of a large number of Italian towns in the latitude table is fairly common; this combined with the dials for Italian hours would render the instrument as useful in Italy as in Germany.

For more information regarding this dial please refer to the OUP & NMM catalogue, 'Sundials at Greenwich'.

Object Details

ID: AST0156
Collection: Astronomical and navigational instruments
Type: Diptych dial
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Reinman, Hieronymus
Date made: 1556
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London. Caird Fund.
Measurements: Overall: 13 x 56 x 91.5 mm

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