Horizontal dial

Portable horizontal dial for latitude 48° 36' North. The dial-plate, which is supported by four turned brass feet, is engraved on the obverse side only and enamelled in black. It carries hour and minute scales, both depicted on a scroll. Helical decoration runs along the South edge and a circular flower decoration is displayed at the base of the gnomon. This is shaped and has a string plummet attached to the tip carrying an inverted conical brass bob. 'Pour. 48. degrez 36 Minutes' (for 48 degrees, 36 minutes) is engraved around its base.

All 32 points are marked on the compass, 16 of them in French, and a fleur-de-lys acts as a further marker for North. It has an adjustable brass magnetic variation indicator. The needle (currently detached) is blued, has an open circle for North and is surmounted by a brass pyramidal pivot. There is a glass plate over all.

The choice of latitude for this dial is unusual, since it does not correspond to any major French city. It is perhaps meant for Corbeil, a small town just south of Paris. On the obverse side, the dial is signed 'Butterfield AParis'.

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

Object Details

ID: AST0511
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: 117 x 154 x 167 mm

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