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Horizontal Dial
Signed by Ulrich Schniep
Dated 1568; Munich
Gilt and silvered brass; 75 x 63 x 11 mm

The instrument consists of a hinged lid with a clasp and a main box.

The outer face of the lid depicts a goddess on a sea serpent with a ship in the background of the oval engraving. The image is surrounded by foliage engraving.

The inside face of the cover carries a wind rose in which the cardinal directions are named in Latin ('SEPTENT:', 'ORTVS', 'AVSTER' and 'OCCASVS') and the eight principal directions also named in German. Around the ring of directions is a scale of hours 1 to 12, 1 to 12 divided to quarters and then a ring indicating in German the weather traditionally associated with each of the eight classical winds. The corners of the face each carry a wind-blowing putto and the centre of the wind rose has a rotating index.

The main box carries a horizontal string-gnomon dial with a decorated sprung gnomon support housing a plummet. The silvered dial plate has a scale of hours from 4 to 12 to 8, with the half hours marked. The plate carries the signature 'VS' and the date '[star]1568[star]', as well as the latitude for which it was intended, 'ELEVATCIO POLI 48 GR:'. The inset compass is 30 mm in diameter with a cross of direction marked 'S', 'OR', 'M' and 'OC'; it is also marked for variation.

The sides of the instrument are decorated and the underside has strapwork and foliage engraving.

The instrument has a leather-covered pasteboard case.

Provenance: Billmeir Collection (57-84/196).

Stephen Johnston

Museum of the History of Science, Oxford
Inventory number 39935

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