Butterfield dial

Butterfield dial for latitudes 40°-60° North. Standard four scale dial (see related terms) with leaf decoration on the obverse side, gnomon and gnomon brace. The compass has all 32 points marked. Both the cardinal and quadrantal points are indicated by French initials and the intermediate points are designated by arrowheads. North is offset 20° West of North to allow for magnetic variation (the compass is therefore incorrectly orientated). The compass base is marked 'Premier Cadran' (First dial) and carries a table of latitudes that continues on the rest of the dial-plate back. Major European cities are listed and most of the latitude table is devoted to French cities.

This instrument has a rather different engraving style to the one that was common on Butterfield dials produced by later makers, including less well pronounced Roman numerals and simple leaf designs rather than the more common acanthus leaves. It is signed 'Butterfield AParis' on the obverse side.

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

Object Details

ID: AST0342
Collection: Astronomical and navigational instruments
Type: Butterfield dial
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Butterfield, Michael
Date made: 1675-1715
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Caird Collection
Measurements: Overall: 8 x 57 x 67 mm
Parts: Butterfield dial

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