Augsburg dial

Augsburg dial for latitudes 0°-85° North. Standard dial (see related terms) except for the following details:-

The compass has a degree scale divided 0°-[90°]-0°-[90°]-0°. There are 32 marked points, 16 by French initials, and North is further indicated by fleur-de-lys. It has a brass rod to indicate the magnetic variation and the compass needle, with an open circle to indicate North, is surmounted by a brass pyramidal pivot.

Engraved around the compass are six towns with their latitudes: 'Calais 50-57', 'Lyon 45-46', 'Venise 45-35', 'Londres 51-31', 'Paris 48-51' and 'Liuourne (Livorno) 43-18'. The latitude arc is divided 0°-85° and has floral decoration at its end. The obverse side of the hour ring is numbered clockwise I-XII, I-XII, while its inner rim is numbered 1-12, 1-12. Its hinge is decorated with foliate design. A table of latitudes on the reverse side of the compass primarily lists places in Europe, but also has some unusual inclusions such as Alexandria, Babylon, Jerusalem, Agra and the Cape of Good Hope.

This is a very fine example of Butterfield's workmanship. The engraving is clear and precise and there is an elegant simplicity of design. The style of gnomon, with a central arc in the supporting strut, is peculiar to French designs. There is not only a degree scale in the compass bowl but also a brass arm that can be set to indicate the magnetic variation. On the dial's obverse side, it is signed 'Butterfield AParis'.

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

Object Details

ID: AST0524
Collection: Astronomical and navigational instruments
Type: Augsburg dial
Display location: Not on display
Creator: Butterfield, Michael
Date made: 1675-1715
Credit: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London, Caird Collection
Measurements: Overall: 17 x 63.5 x 66.5 mm

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