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Diptych Dial
Signed by Georg Hartmann
Dated 1562; Nuremberg
Ivory and brass; 61 x 48 x 11 mm

The stamped inscriptions in the ivory are filled with red, green and brown colours. The dial is decorated with geometrical patterns, stars and flowers. Two brass clasps allowed the dial to be closed, another clasp attached to the opposite side holds the dial in the open position while being used.

The outer surface of the upper leaf is inscribed with a circle with the directions of several countries (in red) and cities (in green) as seen from Nuremberg in the centre (not indicated) given as radial lines. These are (clockwise starting at the top: 'LUMBARTIA', 'GENUA', 'FRANCKREICH', 'PARIS', 'NIEDERLAND', 'ANDORP', 'ENGELAND', 'LUNDA', 'DIE SEE', 'BREMEN', 'DENMARCK', 'FLENBURG', 'PREISEN', 'K?NSPERG', 'POLEN', 'CROCA', 'UNGERN', 'OFEN', 'ITALIA', 'ROM'. Two holes in the centre may have been used to attach a missing index.

Outside of this circle are the directions of the rising and setting of the sun and midnight and midday inscribed 'mittag, nidergang, mittenacht, auffgang'.

The inner surface of the upper leaf has a vertical string gnomon dial for latitude 49?, the hours are numbered anticlockwise VI to XII to VI. The string is broken. The centre contains a small, now broken, mirror. At the top is the signature of the maker and the date: '1562 Georgius Hartman'.

The inner surface of the lower leaf consists of a horizontal string gnomon dial with the hours numbered clockwise from 4 to 8. In the centre is a compass with the cardinal points in abbreviated Latin and a deviation of 5? E. The compass box is bridged by a pivotted brass bar with a movable index arm in the centre.

The outer surface of the lower leaf is void of markings except for a maker's mark, a crown, the mark of Hieronymus Reinmann, another Nuremberg maker whose dials bear so close a resemblance to Hartmann's technical designs that it is likely that the latter commissioned instruments which were then signed with his name.

The instrument still has its original fitted case covered in stamped brown leather and lined with green silk.

The instrument was presented by Max Rosenheim in 1900 and is described and illustrated in F. A. B. Ward, A Catalogue of European Scientific Instruments in the Department of Medieval and Later Antiquities of the British Museum (London, 1981), p. 35, no. 77 (with plate X). For the connection between Reinmann and Hartmann see P. Gouk, The Ivory Sundials of Nuremberg,1500- 1700 (Cambridge, 1988), pp. 92 ff.

Silke Ackermann

British Museum, London
Registration no. MLA 1900,10-17.1

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