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Horizontal Dial
Attributed to Nicholas Oursian
Dated 1542; English
Brass; 224 mm in diameter (maximum)

The octagonal plate has four rectangular holes through which the dial would have been fixed to a garden pedestal.

In a central roundel the dial is signed 'N O 1542'.

The hour scale runs IIII to [XII] to VIII and is surrounded by foliate decoration. In the otherwise vacant night-time space there is a crowned Tudor rose flanked by the letters H and R, and surrounded by foliage. In the hour ring below this engraving there is the inscription 'VIVE [star] LE [star] ROY [star] H [star] 8'.

The gnomon for a latitude of 541/2? is a modern replacement, and may have been added in the 1890s when the dial was found in Chester. Prior to its acquisition by the museum, it was fixed to the wall of a house in Wiltshire.

Stephen Johnston

Museum of the History of Science, Oxford
Inventory number 39619

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