History of Science Museum: Collection Database Search

Narratives

Inventory no. 51738 - Former Display Label

English ASTRONOMICAL COMPENDIUM
c.1554
Gilt brass. Signed, "V C [? = Vmfredus Cole]"; undated, but the tables begin with the year 1554. Inscribed, on the back cover, "+ Aske + me + not + for + ye + Gett + me + not + + R + P +"; on the front cover is the coat of arms of an esquire.

Includes:
1. A nocturnal (shown here detached, but originally hinged to the compendium), and a table of the latitudes of 16 British towns. Behind the nocturnal is a plate illustrating the Pole Star, the Great Bear and the Little Bear, and indicating the stars of the Great Bear with which the nocturnal is to be used.

2. A universal equinoctial dial, with two lunar volvelles; and a clinometer. The dial is adjustable, for use in various latitudes, by means of the clinometer. On the back of the clinometer is a disc engraved with a circular scale of degrees surrounding an illustration of an armillary sphere.

3. A combined quadratum nauticum and horizontal string-gnomon dial.

4. A table giving the times of day-break, sunrise, sunset and twilight, together with the length of day and night, throughout the year.

5. A solar and lunar almanac in the form of a volvelle; and a compass.

6. An almanac which includes, a table of lunations from 1554-1579, tide tables for several British and French ports, and a table of golden numbers, Sunday letters, etc.

Several of the tables in this compendium correspond exactly with tables in Leonard Digges' Prognostication, London, 1555. Digges' book was printed by Thomas Gemini, an engraver and instrument-maker, with whom Humfray Cole is supposed to have worked.

The decoration on the compendium includes illustrations of the back of an astrolabe, an armillary sphere (see no. 2 above), a terrestrial globe and quadrants.

Lent by the Curators of the Bodleian Library.

Other narratives:

Related Objects: