Horizontal dial

Horizontal dial for latitude 46° 24' North. The octagonal dial-plate has on it an hour scale depicted on a scroll and is marked '46 deg. 24 mi'. In the centre is a hinged, shaped gnomon that folds flat when not in use. Set into the dial-plate, the compass has 32 points, 16 named by French initials, and is offset 7° West of North to allow for magnetic variation. On the reverse are leaf and acanthus designs. The dial is supported by the compass bowl and one turned silver leg. It is signed 'Butterfield AParis' around the gnomon.

This single-latitude dial closely resembles Butterfield's multiple-latitude instruments (see AST0342 and AST0226). The latitude of 46° 24' does not correspond with any major town in France, suggesting that the dial may well have been a commissioned piece. It has a black fishskin case with green velvet lining.

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

Object Details

ID: AST0321
Collection: Astronomical and navigational instruments
Type: Horizontal dial
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Butterfield, Michael
Date made: 1675-1715
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Caird Collection
Measurements: Overall: 58 x 65 mm
Parts: Horizontal dial

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