Facsimile compass dial

Facsimile compass dial for latitude 50° North. Circular horizontal dial with a fake lathe-turned plastic box, with lid. It has an hour scale numbered in black paint and a shaped and engraved brass gnomon that folds flat when not in use. It is also marked with an 'M'. The compass has a steel needle in the form of an arrow and is surmounted by a shallow conical brass pivot. A glass plate covers all. The case is coloured bottle-green, rectangular in shape and in the form of a book with gold-coloured 'page' edges. It is lined with white satin and black velvet.

This dial is a facsimile of the original instrument rather than a copy, since it is made of plastic, not wood. The original is thought to have been made in Portsmouth. The hour-lines are not drawn accurately in this facsimile, which was made for Mary Rose Trading Ltd.

The 'Mary Rose' was built in Portsmouth in 1510 and reconstructed in 1536 to become the Navy's first purpose-built warship capable of firing broadside from within the hull. The ship sank in the Solent during an action against the French in 1545. Her wreck was discovered in 1966 and was eventually raised from the seabed in 1982. Many artefacts were discovered from the wreck including several pocket sundials, three of which were used as the patterns for making imitations. The NMM collection contains two of these copies (see also AST0241 and AST0249) as well as this facsimile.

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

Object Details

ID: AST0249
Collection: Astronomical and navigational instruments
Type: Facsimile compass dial
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Mary Rose Trading Ltd
Vessels: Mary Rose (1509)
Date made: 1983
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Parts: Facsimile compass dial

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