Astrolabe Catalogue


Date late 14th or early 15th century
Place Paris (?)
Material Brass
Acquisition Presented by J.A. Billmeir in 1957
Accession 1957-84/17


Billmeir acquired it with the collection of Henri Michel, of Brussels, which he purchased about 1950. The monogram or symbol on the throne, appearing to contain the gothic figure 4, might be expected to be a maker's or owner's mark, but has not been explained. The lettering on the plate for latitude 49° ('PIS', of which the P carries a horizontal bar, either a monogram or an contraction indicator) was interpreted by Michel as Thomas de Pisan and an imaginative provenance relating it to the French king Charles V extrapolated from that; almost certainly it simply means Paris (the latitude of the plate). The specific latitude plate for 51° 40' however would suggest an original owner in the Netherlands or Germany, or of course Oxford.
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