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Nocturnal And Quadrant
Signed by Eufrosino della Volpaia
Dated 1520; Florence
Brass; 187 mm in length

Circular disc with notched edge made in one piece with the straight handle ending in a circle. The nocturnal face, marked at the centre 'OROLOGIVM NOCTVRNVM', is entirely filled by five concentric rings. On the edge each of the 24 notches is divided into six equal parts the division lines for each pair of notches being extended to the centre and embracing an entire month on the month scale which occupies the next pair of scales reading inwards. The month scale is divided to two days and within it, the next scale, separated from the calendar by a double circle, consists of 24 divisions reading from January '7 7 7 7 5 5 5 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 5 5 6 6 7 7'. Within this is a further scale reading from January '31 18 57 38 15 53 27 7 46 32 22 20 24 35 54 13 38 0 25 45 9 24 36 19'. At the centre of the instrument is a sighting hole surrounded by a decorative border of diagonal strokes. The arm of the instrument is plain, the disc being filled with a lunar table for the date of MA and AP read against the number of the year in the solar cycle marked at the centre. The free space in the middle of the rings is marked 'PA:IV'.

The second face of the instrument carries at the centre the hour diagram for an Italian hours dial (9 to 23) for latitudes 43 and 44? with meridian line named to the right and a calendar scale marked to the left. Beneath the diagram is a scale of 90? reading to one degree and beneath this the inscription 'QUADRANS AD LATITVDINEM GRAD{UUM} XXXXIII et XXXXIIII'. To the left of the calendar scale is the signature to the right of the meridian line the information 'LINEAE PVNCTORVM POST MERID{IEM}' ('Dotted lines afternoon'). Above the hour diagram is a shadow square of twelve divided in four numbered groups of three. At the top of the instrument two pierced sights are set with, between them, the dedication 'AD. MARCELLVM. M.'. The handle carries a scale of three rings the middle one of which is a scale of months, the outer the initial letters of the zodiac signs (two to each month), and the inner a series of twelve numbers '7 8 6 6 5 5 4 4 4 3 4 5' represented by the letters of the alphabet 'A' to 'H' (1 to 8). At the centre of the diagram is the number 'XIII'.

Provenance: one of a group of twelve instruments which belonged to Professor Pietri Marchi and were presented to the museum by the heirs of his daughter.

Anthony J. Turner

Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza, Firenze
Inventory no. 3264

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