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Scaphe Dial
16th century; Italian
Brass; 175 mm in diameter

Hemispherical bowl mounted on a turned foot with a single, short conical column. The interior of the bowl is engraved with a series of undivided hour lines for Italian hours reading from 9 to 23 and traversed by the meridian and the equinoctial line. The pointed gnomon is rigidly set at the foot of the meridian and on the outside of the bowl on the side opposite the gnomon is the base for a compass with fleur-de-lis bracket. Of this only the pivot and what seems to be a declination line for 18? east now survive. The turned and stepped cover has a central, independently applied relief oakleaf cluster design composed of three separate elements on both sides.

This instrument appears to correspond with that mentioned in the following entries in the Medici inventories: 'Scodella d'ottone con un coperchio dentrovi un oriuolo da Sole in sua busta di cuoio nera' (Guard. Med. N. 87 Inv. Delle robe del Granduca Cosimo I, 1574: car. 337); 'Oriuolo a Sole dentro una scodella d'ottone' (Guard. Med. N 190 Inv. Delle robe del Granduca Ferdinand I, 1595 car 363); 'Orologio da Sole d'ottone fatto a mezza palla con coperchi e piede simile e sua bussola da una parte numerata 24' (Guard. Lorenese n. 94, 1578-61).

Anthony J. Turner

Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza, Firenze
Inventory no. 241

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