Horizontal dial

Portable horizontal dial for latitude 51° North. The dial-plate is shaped as an octagon, and the edge of the obverse side is engraved with a decorative trim. There is an octagonal hour scale, inside which is a circular hour scale depicted on a scroll. A central crescent moon surrounds the sunface. Around the rim of the compass there is engraved decoration. Either side, flowers (two metamorphosing into animal heads) are engraved. The gnomon is hinged, folds flat when not in use and is embellished with openwork decoration of a bird's head, flowers and leaves.

The reverse side boasts highly embellished engraving round the edge, an engraved band around the compass rim and floral decorations that transform into animal heads at the root. The compass has no markings. The needle, with a blued arrowhead for North and a crescent for South, is surmounted by a brass cylindrical pivot. There is convex glass over all. The dial-plate is supported by the compass and two turned brass legs. On the reverse, it is signed 'Charles Gouchon A Abeuille'. The style of engraving used by Gouchon is more reminiscent of the decoration on Dieppe dials than the Parisian ornamentation. This is perhaps not surprising since Abbeville is only a short distance north-east of Dieppe.

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

Object Details

ID: AST0343
Collection: Astronomical and navigational instruments
Type: Horizontal dial
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Gouchon, Charles
Date made: Late 17th century
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Caird Collection
Measurements: Overall: 11 x 60 x 70 mm

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