Horizontal dial

Portable horizontal dial for latitude 48° North. Silver octagonal dial-plate with a gilt-brass compass, gnomon and gnomon brace. On the obverse side is an hour scale with a small central circular acanthus motif. The gnomon is hinged, pierced and decorated with foliage designs, and folds flat when not in use. The reverse side is plain apart from a decorated gnomon brace. The compass is silvered on the inside. The cardinal points are marked by crossed lines and named in Latin. The needle is blued, with an open circle for South, and is surmounted by a brass pyramidal pivot. It is offset 3° West of North to allow for magnetic variation. The dial-plate is supported by the compass bowl and one turned silver leg.

The dial has an octagonal shaped black fishskin case, with green velvet lining and a metal push-button clasp. The appearance of a gilt-brass lattice-work gnomon is more unusual on these French dials than a silver one, but it does appear also on the Chesnon horizontal dial (see AST0479).

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

Object Details

ID: AST0480
Collection: Astronomical and navigational instruments
Type: Horizontal dial
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Unknown
Date made: Mid to late 17th century
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Caird Collection
Measurements: Overall: 6.5 x 34.5 x 45 mm
Parts: Horizontal dial

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